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Ballston Spa Central School District

 STLE | Program Summary Local Education Agencies (LEAs) and local unions collaborated to develop programs that focus on various elements of a strategically planned Teacher and Leader Effectiveness (TLE) Continuum, including preparation, recruitment and placement, induction and mentoring, evaluation, ongoing professional development/professional growth, performance management and career ladder pathways. | Focus & ImpactEach Local Education Agency (LEA) has identified measurable goals and outcomes aligned with their grant programs. Quantitative and qualitative data is meant to communicate the value and impact of this work by highlighting the reach of teacher and principal leaders, cost and time savings, as well as indicate the progress made towards the specific student achievement and talent management needs identified by each LEA. Program evaluation is ongoing; LEAs will continue to monitor impact through and beyond the grant period to better understand correlations between various district and building initiatives, the work of teacher and principal leaders, and the impact on student access and achievement.> | Career Ladder PathwaysEach LEA participating in STLE 2 or 3 was required to develop and implement or enhance career ladder pathways rooted in sound implementation of their evaluation systems. Career ladder pathways were based on a minimum of three “rungs” including: novice, professional, and leader levels that were associated with specific roles, responsibilities, and optional district-defined compensation incentives. | Sharing the WorkThe Strengthening Teacher and Leader Effectiveness (STLE) grant has resulted in the development and sharing of a wide variety of tools, tips, and resources. Local Education Agencies (LEAs) have been highlighted for their work through various media outlets and NYSED videos, and have also created tools and resources that are available to the field.

STLE Program Summary   Local Education Agencies(LEAs) and local unions collaborated to develop programs that focus on various elements of a strategically planned Teacher and Leader Effectiveness (TLE) Continuum, including preparation, recruitment and placement, induction and mentoring, evaluation, ongoing professional development/professional growth, performance management and career ladder pathways.

Continuum Graphic

This graphic represents the Teacher and Leader Effectiveness (TLE) continuum recommended by the New York State Education Department.

Program Summary

Before the STLE 3 grant, Ballston Spa Central School District had existing career progressions for both teachers and principals. Through STLE 3, Ballston Spa added a “top” or “third” rung (“Master Teacher Leader” and “Principal Leader”) to their teacher and principal career ladder pathways in order to maximize their top talent and leverage their expertise to impact instructional practice district-wide.  These teachers and principals were invited to apply to participate in a yearlong Master Teacher Leader Fellowship or a Principal Leader Fellowship that provided opportunities to enrich the district’s existing professional development opportunities, including targeted instruction in content area knowledge, best practices, instructional coaching and to pursue professional growth. 

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In addition to career ladder pathways, Ballston Spa has enriched its professional development opportunities to include targeted instruction in content area knowledge, instructional coaching and dissemination of best practices. The district also enhanced their already existing relationships with organizations such as Literacy Design Collaborative and Inquiry by Design, while also creating new relationships to support district initiatives.  Ballston Spa has maintained a focus on creating a common language and vision for best practice, clearly defined expectations through their “Frameworks for Teaching” work and the district’s commitment to implementing a consistent and meaningful Annual Performance Plan (APPR) process.

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Promising Practice

  • Teacher and Principal Leaders leverage their expertise by offering targeted and job-embedded professional development opportunities for their colleagues on a variety of topics. 
  • A district-wide focus on technology has enabled Ballston Spa to create an interactive, differentiated approach to professional development by offering the same in-person professional development online, utilizing an instructional coach to follow up with teachers individually. 

Sustainability

The Ballston Spa Central School District 's Board of Education, Superintendent and Business Official are preparing the district financially to be able to sustain programs and personnel related to career ladder pathways through the search for additional grant funds, providing professional development/in-service credits and also with a merit-based pay system.

STLE Areas of Focus and Impact   Each Local Educational Agency (LEA) has identified measurable goals and outcomes aligned with their grant programs. Quantitative and qualitative data is meant to communicate the value and impact of this work by highlighting the reach of teacher and principal leaders, cost and time savings, as well as indicate the progress made towards the specific student achievement and talent management needs identified by each LEA. Program evaluation is ongoing; LEAs will continue to monitor impact through and beyond the grant period to better understand correlations between various district and building initiatives, the work of teacher and principal leaders, and the impact on student access and achievement.

This graphic represents the five common talent management challenges. LEAs may address one or more of the five common talent management challenges of preparing, recruiting, developing, retaining and providing equitable access to the most effective educators using career ladder pathways.

Reach

  • 6 Master Teacher Leaders directly impact 340 teachers which impact 4,203 students.
  • 1 Principal Leader directly impacts 5 principals, 7 assistant principals and 340 teachers which impact 4,203 students.

Areas of Focus

The Ballston Spa Central School District set out to address the common talent management challenges of developing, retaining, and providing equitable access to the most effective educators through their career ladder pathway model.

Common Talent Management Challenges

Common Talent Management Challenge Local Educational Agency (LEA) Efforts
Development

Through a year-long fellowship, the Master Teacher Leaders participate in intensive professional development targeted at enriching their content area knowledge and enabling them to effectively coach other teachers. The Master Teacher Leaders are involved in providing professional development opportunities which are tailored to meet the needs of the teachers, co-teaching with colleagues, offering instructional coaching, providing data analysis, and assisting teachers in analyzing student data and using that data to drive instruction. In addition, Master Teacher Leaders integrate technology into their professional development sessions, as well as offering these sessions on-line, in order to uphold the district’s interactive, differentiated approach to professional development. 

Retention

Ballston Spa has worked to ensure that Master Teacher Leaders are contributing to curriculum development, assessment design, and educational policy on school-wide, district-wide, and NYS level teams, and to sustain the long term involvement of Master Teacher Leaders and Principal Leaders through ongoing inclusion in district decision making. Ballston Spa has also created a structure involving intrinsic and extrinsic rewards, as well as formal and informal recognition to help in the retention of effective educators across the district, including providing monetary recognition for work outside of the school day (e.g., paid “in-service” credit for professional development hours completed beyond the regular work day, $5,000 stipend for Principal Leader, etc.). 

Equitable Access

To ensure that all students are being taught by the most effective teachers and principals, Ballston Spa continues to annually review composite evaluation scores to ensure that their high need students are served by the highest quality educators. At the time of the STLE 3 application, 98% of teachers receiving a composite rating of Highly Effective or Effective were equally distributed among the district’s Title I buildings.  In addition, Ballston Spa has worked to extend the reach of Highly Effective and Effective educators to more students through the Teacher Leader Fellowship program and the contributions of Master Teacher Leaders. 

Other Areas of Focus

Other Areas of Focus Local Educational Agency (LEA) Efforts
Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR)

The Principal Leader has shadowed all building principals during observations to determine inter-rater reliability.  Quarterly, the Principal Leader creates and leads in-service training for teachers and administrators on the evaluation system, as well as participates in regional APPR sessions as led by WSWHE BOCES. Additionally, the Principal Leader has turn-keyed evaluation-based professional development at grade 6-12 and K-8 administrative meetings.

Evidence-Based Instruction

The work of teacher leaders (Teacher Leaders and Professional Teachers), from curriculum work to daily co-teaching and demonstration lessons with teachers, involves the college and career readiness standards. When coaching, teacher leaders specifically target these standards and rely upon them to determine the district’s areas of need during ongoing evidence-based instruction meetings. The district analyzes multiple measures and isolates specific standards and skills that are trends across particular classrooms or grade levels. These trends are then used to drive instruction and coaches participate in creating individual, team, school, and district-wide professional development to address needs discovered through evidence-based instruction.  

Areas of Impact

The Ballston Spa Central School District has identified quantitative and qualitative impact data that it has seen and hopes to realize since implementing career ladder pathways and related STLE grant activities. 

Areas of Impact

Initial Student Impact
  • The percentage of students who moved from “below grade level” to “on grade level” or “above grade level” from the beginning of the year to the middle of the year according to iReady measures whose teachers worked with instructional coaches as compared to district-wide growth:
    • Kindergarten ELA: Average of 64%, compared to 49% district-wide
    • 1st grade math: Average of 54% with instructional coaches, compared to 34% district-wide
    • 2nd grade ELA: Average of 56%, compared to 29% district-wide
    • 2nd grade math: Average of 56%, compared to 31% district-wide
    • 3rd grade math: Average of 48% compared to 32% district-wide. 
Early Impact on Talent Management System
  • Professional Development provided by Teacher Leaders/Instructional Coaches: 61 sessions, 156 hours, 1,060 participants
  • As a result of the professional development delivered by the Teacher Leaders/Instructional Coaches, 97% of participants reported that they will modify instructional after attending a session and 100% of participants reported that student learning can be improved through the application of what was learned during the professional development session. 

Career Ladder Pathways   Each LEA participating in STLE 2 or 3 was required to develop and implement or enhance career ladder pathways rooted in sound implementation of their evaluation systems.  Career ladder pathways were based on a minimum of three “rungs” including: novice, professional, and leader levels that were associated with specific roles, responsibilities, and optional district-defined compensation incentives.

Career ladder pathways are a systematic, coordinated approach to provide new and sustained leadership opportunities with additional compensation, recognition, and/or job embedded professional development for teachers and principals in order to advance excellent teaching and learning.

Teacher Career Ladder Pathway

Teacher Title Roles and Reponsibilities Compensation Number Serving in Role in 2014-15
Novice Teacher
  • Attend professional development sessions and observe highly effective teachers within the district.
  • Expected to fully participate in the district's teacher mentor program, whereby novice teachers are paired with professional teachers
  • Provided time to observe demonstration lessons, and attend ongoing meetings with both their mentor and the mentor program coordinator.  
Compensation for novice teachers includes professional development credit as well as paid “in-service” credit for professional development hours completed beyond the regular work day.

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Professional Teacher
  • Serve as a mentor to new teachers
  • Provide demonstration lessons for colleagues
  • Attend demonstration lessons
  • Take advantage of professional development opportunities
  • Offer professional development workshops in their areas of expertise. 
  • They are invited to participate in the mentor program training, which targets their needs as growing professionals and prepares them to support novice teachers.    
Compensation for professional teachers includes professional development credits as well as “in-service” credit for professional development hours completed beyond the regular school day. In addition, professional teachers receive such credit for plannin

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Teacher Leader

Master Teacher/Instructional Coach

  • Through a one year rigorous fellowship program, the Master Teachers participate in intensive professional development targeted at enriching their content-area knowledge and enabling them to effectively coach other teachers.
  • The Master Teachers provide professional development opportunities tailored to teacher needs, co-teach with colleagues, offer instructional coaching, provide data analysis, and assist teachers in analyzing student data and using that data to drive instruction. 
  • Master Teachers participate in district-level shared decision making teams, including district-wide DDI teams, the Professional Development Committee, the Comprehensive District Educational Planning Committee (CDEP), the Common Core ELA Committee, and the Common Core Math Committee. 
  • Master Teachers’ contributions are sustained beyond their fellowship experience, especially through continued professional development offerings and their ongoing inclusion in district-wide decision making groups.
Regular salary plus 8 additional summer days

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Principal Career Ladder Pathway

Principal Title Roles and Reponsibilities Compensation Number Serving in Role in 2014-15
Novice Principal
  • These principals engage in creating and monitoring their own personal goals with more experienced, mentor administrators.  The principal is observed and provided with feedback through the approved APPR plan for principals. 
  • They attend administrative meetings to collaborate with all district leaders on such topics as data, teacher observations, and best practice. 
  • They engage in professional development for administrators and offer professional development for teachers.
Merit based pay system 2
Professional Principal
  • These principals receive the same supports and are observed in the same manner as novice principals.
  • They also perform similar building-level duties as novice principals, such as offering professional development for teachers. 
  • However, they also participate in or facilitate district-level committees which focus on instruction, assessment, and curriculum.
Merit based pay system 3
Principal Leader
  • During this fellowship, Principal Leaders will immerse themselves in intensive professional development, coach other principals, and contribute district-wide to target and support the goals and objectives of the district.
$5,000 stipend & Merit based pay system 1

Sharing the Work   The Strengthening Teacher and Leader Effectiveness (STLE) grant has resulted in the development and sharing of a wide variety of tools, tips, and resources. Local Education Agencies (LEAs) have been highlighted for their work through various media outlets and NYSED videos, and have also created tools and resources that are available to the field.

Resources

  • Ballston Spa created a one year rigorous fellowship program for Master Teachers (Teacher Leaders) where individuals participate in intensive professional development targeted at enriching their content-area knowledge and enabling them to effectively coach other teachers as well as provide professional development opportunities tailored to teacher needs, co-teach with colleagues, offer instructional coaching, provide data analysis, and assist teachers in analyzing student data and using that data to drive instruction.  Resources for this position include:
  • Ballston Spa School District serves as a regional “platform school” for STEM development through the support of school-community partnerships with local businesses. With support from the STLE grant, Teacher Leaders are strengthening STEM curriculum and promoting sustainable efforts to ensure students are prepared for college and careers. Video: STEM Education: Expanding Teacher Leader Capacity.
  • The New York State Career Ladder Pathways Toolkit, a new, interactive, web-based toolkit that includes profiles of adaptable career ladder pathways models, resources, and best practices to help address the five common talent management challenges that contribute significantly to equitable access , resources that will help LEAs implement the Department’s recommended framework and steps to design and implement robust career ladder pathways.
  • To learn more about the Strengthening Teacher and Leader Effectiveness (STLE)  grant program and to access additional resources for career ladder pathways visit: EngageNY: Improving Practice Landing Page

The Office of Teacher/Principal Quality & Professional Development invites you to submit tools and resources to STLE@nysed.gov that will further help the field, including but not limited to: gap analysis templates, career ladder pathway design principles, communication plans, description of sample roles and responsibilities, tools that help gauge the return on investment and strategies for program evaluation. 

Local Media

We encourage you to continue to contribute to the on-going conversation on Twitter by sharing your work using #STLE.