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Central Square 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

At the onset of Race to the Top and the Regents Reform Agenda in 2010, it was apparent that a great deal of what and how Central Square Central School District had been operating would need to change.  At the time the district applied for the STLE 1 grant in 2012, the district hoped to accelerate student growth, particularly in English Language Arts (ELA) where only 53.9% of students demonstrated proficiency on State assessments in 2011, as well as close achievement gaps in for all students. The district recognized the importance of building the capacity for teachers to become leaders of both content and pedagogy. They believed that this symbiotic relationship between teachers and the district would ultimately benefit students for years to come. Through empowerment and motivation, both intrinsic and extrinsic, teachers would garner the success necessary to truly live up to the district’s mission to “empower all students to excel as citizens in a changing world.” 

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The district’s long term vision for career ladder pathways was the construction of formal, sustainable opportunities for the most effective educators to implement teacher-led professional development that would positively impact the nature of teaching and learning in Central Square in alignment with the changes taking place across the State. However, other than State assessment data or observations, there was no district-wide system in place to identify the most effective teachers. The district, through data inquiry teams, Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR), and STLE grant activities, would be able to better monitor teacher effectiveness and the impact teachers rated Effective or better have on student achievement.  This would enable administrators and teacher leaders to provide targeted professional development to teachers most in need or those who teach the highest need students, particularly those students in poverty. 

The current career ladder pathways structure, supported through STLE 3 builds on existing strengths of long-existing informal career ladder pathway processes within the district, formalizes a number of experiences into career ladder pathway positions developed through STLE 1, and embraces the mapping of a career ladder pathway framework informed by data, national models, and district priorities focused squarely on the needs of the district’s students. Central Square added the positions of a Special Project Facilitator and a Lead Implementation Team to its principal career ladder pathway.  Changes to the career ladder pathway model through Strengthening Teacher and Leader Effectiveness (STLE) 3 were based on: (1) anticipated challenges in the years ahead to effectively address high need, high poverty student populations; (2) the existing infrastructure of innovative and successful programmatic interventions; and (3) the connection between career ladder pathways opportunities and district needs through the work of STLE 1.

In the three years that Central Square has received STLE grants, the district has transformed its informal teacher career ladder pathway from 1 Teacher on Special Assignment and 5 Instructional Coaches to a robust, formal career ladder pathway with an Instructional Coach team of 5 full-time teachers and several stipended positions that are more specialized in their focus to better support teachers, students, and families.  Central Square has also established a principal career ladder pathway. Overall, the process of applying for the grants has provided focused discussion and analysis on many of the district’s current practices and the re-evaluation of decision making.  The district has seen great benefits from the targeted professional development provided by teacher and principal leaders offered at the district, building, and classroom levels.  There has been a tremendous impact on teaching and learning, including but not limited to the number of students reading at or above grade level, the smooth transition into the college and career ready standards, and Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) implementation and evaluations.  In addition, many Instructional Coaches have taken administrative positions, opening up new opportunities for others to become teacher leaders and allowing the district to smoothly adjust to the ever-changing needs of its faculty and students. 

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Promising Practice

  • Considered how fiscal resources are allocated to determine how resources can be shifted to support and retain the talent already in the district.
  • Informed and involved a multitude of stakeholders to ensure that the strategic direction is aligned with community and district values.
  • Developed and implemented a refined recruitment and selection process in collaboration with local institutions of higher learning to ensure the district attracts high quality teacher and principal leaders.
  • Clearly defined and aligned professional development expectations so that teacher and principal leaders can meet those expectations.

Sustainability

Focus groups comprised of Central Square Central School District stakeholders are looking at the long term vision for career ladder pathways and ways to reallocate existing funds to sustain leadership positions after the grant period.  Superintendent Menard presented a new district vision, which included the sustainability of initiatives supported through STLE, to the Board of Education in August 2014.  The district and the Board of Education see the value of coaching and are looking for unique ways to retain these positions. The district will fund these initiatives in part through Title II funds. 

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

  • 22 Teacher Leaders directly impact 323 teachers which impact 4,156 students
  • 2 Lead Implementation Team Principals directly impact 56 teachers which impact 1,145 students
  • 1 Special Project Facilitator directly impacts 2,500 community members and administrators which impact 4,156 students

Areas of Focus

The Central Square Central School District set out to address the common talent management challenges of preparing, recruiting, 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
Preparation

Master Teachers on the teacher career ladder pathways worked with practicum students from SUNY Oswego, allowing these students greater access and time in the classroom as part of their Methods class. The Regents Reform Agenda Teacher on Special Assignment provided an orientation to practicum/student teachers prior to their first days in the classroom. All new hires were assigned a mentor, a revamped and retooled mentoring program to better meet the needs of teachers and facilitate a smooth transition from pre-service programs to the classroom provided support to all novice teachers. 

Recruitment

Central Square has developed and implemented a refined recruitment and selection process in collaboration with local institutions of higher learning to ensure the district attracts high quality teacher and principal leaders. Central Square has also worked with SUNY Oswego to identify highly qualified prospective teachers to build the capacity of experienced educators.

Development

Central Square's Teacher and Principal Leaders participated in regional professional development opportunities including Cognitive Coaching sessions, Lead Evaluator training and Network Team Institute training to help them prepare for their roles. These career ladder pathways positions have increased leadership capacity through targeted evidence-based professional development and implementation of curricular modules aligned to the college and career ready standardsThere has been a tremendous impact on teaching and learning, including but not limited to the number of students reading at or above grade level, the smooth transition into the college and career ready standards, and Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) implementation and evaluations.  In addition, many Instructional Coaches have taken administrative positions, opening up new opportunities for others to become teacher leaders and allowing the district to smoothly adjust to the ever-changing needs of its faculty and students. Twenty-two teachers have been involved in action research projects with SUNY Oswego in a graduate course on Engagement and Mindfulness. 

Retention

The Central Square Central School District has identified and supported highly effective educators and distributed their talent across content areas and grade levels in ongoing efforts to retain the absolute best teachers and principals for its students in order to address the 14% turnover rate in 2011-12 of Effective, experienced educators to other districts due to the reduction of career advancement opportunities. Central Square created a structure involving Instructional Coaches, Technology Cadres, Subject Area Specialists, Regents Reform Agenda Teacher on Special Assignment to help in the retention of effective educators across the district, including providing monetary recognition for work outside of the school day (e.g., $1,200 stipend for Mentor Teachers, $1,500 stipend for Principal Support Mentors).  As the district moves forward, career ladder pathways will be seen as a direct support to the district’s vision and strategic plan, since the two are intertwined.  The district seeks to further expand leadership opportunities for those interested in administration as well as Teacher Leaders that do not want to leave the classroom.  The district may utilize stipend positions to offer leadership opportunities rather than full-time positions, benefiting instruction and being fiscally responsible.

Equitable Access

The Central Square Central School District has identified and supported highly effective educators and distributed their talent across content areas and grade levels in order to provide all students with access to the most effective educators. The career ladder pathway positions have also built leadership capacity by including expanded roles for providing professional development, data analysis and mentoring. More teachers participated in official leadership positions in the district than in prior years, which strengthened their leadership abilities and brought expanded resources and expertise to classrooms across the district. 

Other Areas of Focus

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

The Regents Reform Agenda Teacher on Special Assignment (RRA TOSA) supports the area of APPR by providing professional development to all teachers, including new hires and those in need of improvement in meeting the requirements of the Regents Reform Agenda and APPR. The RRA TOSA and Special Project Facilitator collaborated to provide a workshop for administrators and the instructional coaches on APPR and inter-rater reliability.  In addition, administrative support has been provided by the Principal Support Mentor for new or struggling administrators through one-on-one meetings. Central Square has used their APPR evidence to develop differentiated professional development for teachers and principals provided at Superintendent Days, as well as during summer workshops.  

College and Career Readiness Standards in ELA and Math

The Common Core Technology Coordinator has proven to be invaluable within each of the buildings and has overseen the production of Smartboard, PowerPoint and Prezi presentations to support the English Language Arts (ELA) domains modules, as well mathematics units.  The Special Project Facilitator, a newly created position, is assisting the district with educating parents through newsletter articles and workshops on the college and career readiness standards.  

Evidence-Based Instruction

The Regents Reform Agenda Teacher on Special Assignment has trained teachers in the use of data to make decisions about curriculum, assessments, and instruction needs to support the goals of the building and the district. The district has facilitated data teams to analyze formative assessments and increase evidence-based decision making to improve instruction. The shift in grade level and department meetings to Professional Learning Communities has increased time spent in evidence-based analysis and action by 10%.

High Need Students

Through embedded professional development, Instructional Coaches have been invaluable in providing classroom strategies for fluency, guided reading, conversational language practice, and other assistive resources as well as meeting with Integrated Co-Teaching teachers to help target district needs and maximize student success. Professional development workshops for K-12 special education teachers were provided, one focusing on integrated co-teaching as well as another focused on special education teachers. 

Innovative Practice

Central Square utilizes Schoology, an online learning management system, to increase the effectiveness of communication and students access to instructional material.  The career ladder pathway positions of Common Core Technology Cadre and Common Core Technology Coordinator have worked to develop technology lessons aligned to the college and career readiness standards and have planned, provided and presented professional development for teachers and staff. They have overseen the production of Smartboard, PowerPoint and Prezi presentations to support the English Language Arts (ELA) domains modules, as well mathematics units.  The district supported a 3 day workshop on Flipped Classrooms. Central Square continues to explore and utilize technology in the classroom as a tool for instruction and teacher growth.

Dissemination of Promising Practice

Central Square applied for the STLE-D grant in an effort to continue to build the capacity of its existing principal and teacher leaders, offering additional professional growth and development.  The grant provided a unique opportunity to partner with another district, Mexico Academy and Central School District, and together, deeply examine and determine how best to refine and sustain the career ladder pathways within each district. The district had the ability to deeply analyze both school systems, looking for best practices and innovative approaches, that if working alone Central Square might not have considered. 

The design of Central Square’s STLE-D program has five strands, including: (1) invest in principal and teacher leaders to form a team of experts who will disseminate, share best practice and demonstrate models for the partnering district; (2) demonstrate those practices, products and structures that have proven to be highly effective strategies; (3) transform the role of STLE Principal and Teacher Leaders into professional development specialists who are able to share this expertise with a partner district; (4) nurture the development of STLE Principal and Teacher Leader Mentors who can bring positive elements of the STLE program to a partner district; and (5) expand and strengthen STLE structures and career ladder pathways by expanding the depth of experience and the responsibilities of district leadership.

Areas of Impact

The Central Square 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
  • Increased the percent of Black or African American and economically disadvantaged students demonstrating proficiency on New York State Grades 3-8 Math exams by 5% as well as Hispanic or Latino students by 9% from 2013 to 2014.
  • Increased the number of students that graduated with an Advanced Regents Diploma by 12% from 2012-13 to 2013-14.  
  • Reduced the number of measures where the district did not meet AYP from 15 in 2011-12 to 9 in 2012-13.  This has been further reduced to 8 in 2013-2014.
Early Impact on Talent Management System
  • As a result of efforts led by the Principal Mentor to encourage teachers to explore educational leadership opportunities and pursue their Certificate of Advanced Study, 5 candidates were accepted by the district for the 2014-15 year to complete administrative internships.
  • A revamped and retooled mentoring program to better meet the needs teachers and facilitate a smooth transition from pre-service programs to the classroom provided support to 100% of novice teachers in 2015.
  • Through STLE 1 the district funded 34 new positions, which have expanded to 145 through STLE 3 and D grants with differing areas of expertise and leadership functions associated with them.

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
Common Core Technology Cadre:
  • Work to develop technology lessons aligned to the Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS).
  • Plan, provide, and present professional development for staff and teachers.
Teacher Liaisons:
  • Provide support and share information in specific subject areas to colleagues.
Common Core Technology Cadre: $250; Teacher Liaisons: not funded through STLE

Common Core Technology Cadre: 25; Teacher Liaisons:

Professional Teacher
Master Teacher:
  • Host student teacher and practicum student(s).
Common Core Technology Coordinator:
  • Oversee the production of Smartboard, PowerPoint, and Prezi presentations to support the English Language Arts (ELA) domains and modules, as well as the Common Core math units.
Mentor Teacher:
  • Provide support for Novice Teachers or others within their first year of hire.
Master Teacher: $250 stipend; Common Core Technology Coordinator: $2,000 stipend; Mentor Teacher: $1,200 stipend

Master Teacher: 57; Common Core Technology Coordinator: 1; Mentor Teacher: 9

Teacher Leader
Instructional Coaches:
  • Provide professional resources to all teachers to support improved instruction.
  • Provide one-on one professional development or in other settings to improve instruction within the district.
Subject Area Specialists:
  • Run two department meetings, facilitate the implementation of college and career ready standards, complete book inventory, and assist with managing the department budget.
Curriculum Consultants:
  • Support the implementation of school initiatives and assist with testing.
  • Deliver professional development to staff one-on-one and building-wide as needed.
Regents Reform Agenda Teacher on Special Assignment:
  • Support the three areas of the Regents Reform Agenda; Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR), college and career ready standards, and evidence-based decision making.
  • Provide professional development to all teachers, including new hires and those in need of improvement in meeting the requirements of the Regents Reform Agenda and Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR).
Instructional Coaches: FTE; Subject Area Specialists: Not funded through STLE; Curriculum Consultants: N/A; Regents Reform Agenda Teacher on Special Assignment: FTE

Instructional Coaches: 5; Subject Area Specialists: 11; Curriculum Consultants: N/A; Regents Reform Agenda Teacher on Special Assignment:1

Principal Career Ladder Pathway

Principal Title Roles and Reponsibilities Compensation Number Serving in Role in 2014-15
Novice Principal
Principal Mentor:
  • Plan, provide, and present professional development for staff and teachers.
  • Facilitate teachers’ experiences interested in pursuing a career in educational administration; provide an in-district practicum for prospective building leaders.
  • Serve as a resource to teachers interested in exploring administrative and other non-teaching roles. 
$1,200 stipend 1
Professional Principal
Principal Support Mentor:
  • Support and mentor principals new to the district or role.
  • Provide support for new administrators and those rated Developing or Ineffective according to Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR).

Grant Facilitator:

  • Coordinate and implement the goals and objectives for the first part of the Strengthening Teacher and Leader Effectiveness (STLE) 3 grant.
Principal Support Mentor: $1,500 stipend; Grant Facilitator: $2,500 stipend Principal Support Mentor: 1; Grant Facilitator: 2
Principal Leader
Special Project Facilitator:
  • Increase the communication between parents and the district with regards to the Common Core Learning Standards.
  • Facilitate professional development offerings for administrators.
  • Coordinate new and innovative projects such as parent workshops on college and career ready standards and administrative professional development.

Lead Implementation Team:

  • Coordinate the implementation and hiring of the grant positions.
  • Facilitate the information that is shared with stakeholder groups involved with the grant.
Special Project Facilitator: $2,500 stipend; Lead Implementation Team: $7,000 stipend Special Project Facilitator: 1; Lead Implementation Team: 2

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

  • 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.