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Cheektowaga-Maryvale Union Free 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

Prior to the STLE 3 grant, there were informal and traditional career ladder pathways with undefined roles and structure in the Cheektowaga-Maryvale Union Free School District. As a part of the STLE 3 grant, a structure was defined and has evolved since the district began implementation. Cheektowaga-Maryvale developed career ladder pathways for teachers and building principals designed to utilize their expertise in career advancement positions to support faculty development and improve student outcomes. The district teacher and school leader effectiveness initiatives focus on three areas for healthy and productive classrooms and schools:  curriculum alignment to college and career ready standards, evidence-based instruction, as well as identifying the needs of students for tiered instruction and positive behavioral interventions.  

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The teacher career ladder pathway progresses from the novice level. At the professional level, Coordinators serve in department chair roles that pre-existed STLE. The positions are utilized for grade level or content area organization and liaison responsibilities. The current job descriptions for coordinator positions are being reviewed to determine the greatest impact for Coordinator roles on student learning and achievement. The addition of a Design Team and a Positive Behavioral Intervention Support (PBIS) team of professional teachers helped to spearhead comprehensive systems development across the district.  At the teacher leader level, the Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA) position for grades K-8 math was added to complement an existing TOSA position for English Language Arts (ELA) for grades K-8. These positions are critical for providing instructional coaching and modeling tiered instruction within the classroom. In addition, a TOSA position for technology integration and Chief Information Officer (CIO) responsibilities focuses on ensuring access to data on student performance as well as facilitating training on digital programs to support teacher instruction and student learning. The addition of a Math Response to Intervention (RtI) teacher for grades K-5 has also expanded and supported the district’s commitment to instructional leadership.

The principal career ladder pathways are designed to build knowledge and capacity through the development and use of comprehensive systems and teacher leaders. The district is currently under a shift in leadership which enhances the urgency to work on the development of effective leaders and grow the leadership team within the district office and its schools. A new middle school and high school principal was hired in 2014 and a Manager of Curriculum and Instruction position was created and filled in August 2013. The principal career ladder pathways progress from the novice level, where the district is building the knowledge and capacity of Assistant Principals. Novice principals receive mentoring from principals on the Professional Principal rung.  In addition, they receive support through collaboration and the sharing of best practices through STLE-D with the Depew and Clarence School Districts. Dissemination opportunities through STLE-D have included trainings on Steven Covey’s Seven Habits, Grant Wiggins – Understanding by Design, LeAnn Nichelsen’s Deeper Learning strategies, and Professional Learning Community (PLC) supports with J. Davies & Associates, Inc.

The professional and principal leaders are members of the Building Leadership Team, a shared decision-making group which guides the strategic action plan for each building. They also evaluate instructional practice and professional development needs of teachers in their building. In addition, they serve as building leaders on the District Design Team which is coordinating efforts to shape the implementation of PLC teams focused on evidence-based instruction across the district. This group will build a foundation for the use of data to understand the needs of students utilizing both academic and behavioral implementation systems to promote student growth and achievement. The principal leader also provides peer guidance for continuous improvement of teacher evaluations in order to provide teachers with constructive feedback.

Cheektowaga-Maryvale’s School and Teacher Leader Effectiveness Continuum includes collaboration with several institutes of higher learning such as the University at Buffalo and Buffalo State College. The district is also partnering with higher education and teacher colleges to create a professional development and coaching program for excellent teaching practice. These partnerships will create a strong cohort of new and developing teachers who know and understand the college and career ready standards, use data to inform instruction, and can meet and exceed the New York State (NYS) Teaching Standards. These teachers will be prepared to teach in high-need areas with tiered approaches to learning. Cheektowaga-Maryvale is also working with Niagara University to offer a transformational leadership course with a lens on poverty. District representatives from administration, student services, community education, and teacher leaders are participants and researchers in this credit-bearing course. As a result, participants will know and understand the district’s changing demographics as well as develop a plan for how to address these shifts to support student success.

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Promising Practice

  • Developed a strategic plan that measures the effectiveness of academic programs and operational systems as well as defined opportunities for improvement on an annual basis.
  • Involved a multitude of stakeholders to ensure that the strategic direction and career ladder pathways are aligned with community and district values.
  • Collaborated with principals and district leaders to review and implement comprehensive systems. 
  • Recruited a cross-section of principal and teacher leaders in a Design Team to ensure the fulfillment of building goals as they relate to the district strategic plan. 
  • Utilized Design Team members to guide the direction of professional development and to act as liaisons in communicating updates and the district’s vision to their peers.
  • Clearly defined and aligned professional development expectations for teacher and principal leaders.
  • Developed and implemented Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) to align curriculum and implement evidence-based instruction.
  • Created a system to disseminate researched best practices as a part of the ongoing professional development in each building.
  • Leveraged the strategic plan and PLCs to ensure teams are implementing and measuring progress towards goals across the district.

Sustainability

Cheektowaga-Maryvale plans to ensure the programmatic sustainability of initiatives supported by the Strengthening Teacher and Leader Effectiveness (STLE) grant through the direct tie to its new, five-year strategic plan.  The plan is focused on building comprehensive systems to support alignment to college and career ready standards, 21st century instructional skills and methods, evidence-based instruction, and Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support Systems (PBIS). The influx of teacher leaders through the STLE 3 grant are an integral part of the success of developing these comprehensive systems, which are critical to improving student achievement and building instructional excellence. 

The district is committed to providing ongoing training and professional development to current and future teacher and principal leaders, an investment in the capacity of their educator workforce. The development of deeper knowledge and skills, a growth mindset, professionalism, and 21st century instructional skills, will allow the district’s educators to continuously improve student achievement and prepare them for college and careers.

Teacher Coordinator positions are being reviewed for impact toward strategic goals and objectives.  These positions will be realigned to sustain teacher leadership positions.  

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

  • 30 Design Team Members and  PBIS Team Members directly impact 34 teachers which impact 2,100 students
  • 4 Teachers on Special Assignment (TOSA) directly impact 34 teachers which impact 2,100 students
  • 3 Professional Principals  directly impact 157 teachers which impact 2,100 students
  • 1 Principal Leader directly impacts 157 teachers which impact 2,100 students

Areas of Focus

The Cheektowaga-Maryvale Union Free School District set out to address the common talent management challenges of preparing, developing, and retaining the most effective educators through their career ladder pathway model

Common Talent Management Challenges

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

Cheektowaga-Maryvale’s School and Teacher Leader Effectiveness Continuum include collaboration with several institutes of higher learning such as the University at Buffalo and Buffalo State College. The district is also partnering with higher education and teacher colleges to create a professional development and coaching program for excellent teaching practice. These partnerships will create a strong cohort of new and developing teachers who know and understand the college and career ready standards, use data to inform instruction, and can meet and exceed the New York State (NYS) Teaching Standards. These teachers will be prepared to teach in high-need areas with tiered approaches to learning.

Development

The STLE grants have provided focused professional development at all levels to build capacity and expertise in Professional Learning Communities (PLC) and evidence-based instruction models. The district is working with Juanita Davies of J. Davies & Associates, Inc. to prepare principal and teacher leaders to successfully implement a Professional Learning Community (PLC) framework as part of the district’s new strategic plan. Combined with Positive Behavioral Intervention Support (PBIS) program development, the district is poised to use these systems to improve and impact both Response to Intervention (RtI) and Academic Intervention Support (AIS) programs through more effective use of data to identify student needs and improve instructional strategies. In addition, the partnership with Niagara University for the course on transformational leadership with a lens on poverty will provide direction and focus on the district’s changing demographics, with clear action plans to address and respond to the needs of students well into the future.  

Retention

The STLE 3 grant has aided Cheektowaga-Maryvale in empowering principals and teachers to work collaboratively in pursuit of their strategic plan. A Design Team of Teacher Leaders and principals was created and it was through their collective and shared work that systemic initiatives were researched, designed and implemented which will support the goals of each building and the overarching goals of the district strategic plan. Cheektowaga-Maryvale 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., $1,040 stipend for Professional Teachers and Teacher Leaders, $1,000 stipend for Professional Principals, and $1,500 stipend for Principal Leaders).   

Other Areas of Focus

Other Areas of Focus Local Educational Agency (LEA) Efforts
College and Career Readiness Standards in ELA and Math

Cheektowaga-Maryvale has sent teams of teacher leaders to the Teachers College of Columbia University for Teacher and Coaching Institutes, which have focused on reading, writing, and literacy development for all students. The district has also had a team of teachers attend the New York State Network Team Institutes in Albany. This training supports curriculum alignment and student achievement.  

Evidence-Based Instruction

The STLE 3 grant has provided training and resources to assist in aligning the curriculum to the college and career readiness standards and implementing a more structured and consistent evidence based instruction process throughout the entire district. A 5 step evidence based instruction process has been researched and implemented. All teachers have been trained on usage of the process and professional learning communities have been developed as the framework to support the evidence based instruction process. The initial impact has been a faculty that is now more consistently focused on regular review of student data and the use of SMART goals to enhance student learning. The STLE 3 grant has also supported SIM (Strategic Instructional Model) training and guided reading material with training to support their students with disabilities (SWD) and English language learners (ELL) population. Small group instruction has increased the proficiency levels as all indicators show growth. Technology has been integrated into their math department which has allowed their teachers to add needed support to struggling students and offered an expanded opportunity to engage and support students.

Areas of Impact

The Cheektowaga-Maryvale Union Free 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
  • 13 Positive Behavioral Intervention Support (PBIS) team members helped to initiate a new PBIS system in the middle and high schools, through which over 1,000 students are receiving support.
  • Teacher leaders worked with district staff to create a 5 step process for analyzing and interpreting data that 100% of staff K-12 will use to inform instruction beginning in the 2015-16 school year. There was no uniform system in place previously.
  • 90% of K-5 students have shown an increase in ELA and Math
  • 14 staff members enrolled in the regions first Principal and District Leadership Academy focused on transformational leadership with a lens on poverty, in partnership with Niagara University. Participants are developing a district action plan to better support the increase of students in poverty from 19% in 2009-2010 to 50% in 2013-14. 
Early Impact on Talent Management System
  • Four Teachers on Special Assignment (TOSA) worked with building principals and teachers to align building goals with the districts strategic plan.
  • 100% of all educators will participate in weekly Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) or Data Teams to inform instruction and student success by leveraging the expertise of their peers. In the prior year, only 20% of staff participated in Data Teams that met on a monthly basis.
  • Key content area subjects are completing curriculum mapping and alignment to the college and career ready standards using the Tri-State Rubric and Literacy Standards. Prior the grant, there was no curriculum map with a common language in place.

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
  • Receives mentoring and professional development on the Maryvale Strategic Plan 2014-19 and comprehensive systems.
  • Member of a grade level or content area Professional Learning Community (PLC).
N/A

0

Professional Teacher

Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) Team Member:

  • Provides ongoing PBIS training and support to faculty and staff.
  • Works collaboratively with team members in a PLC to analyze data and provide feedback as well as plan for continuous implementation of the PBIS systems' progress.

Design Team Member:

  • Serves within a Design Team PLC with district and building level leaders to focus on key initiatives within the Cheektowaga-Maryvale Strategic Plan 2014-19.
  • Provides support to align all content areas to college and career ready standards.

Coordinator:

  • Coordinate and collaborate with principal on building goals.
  • Serves in a grade level or content area PLC, review student data, and oversee the processes for evidence-based instruction. 
  • Research and model best practices.
$1,040 stipend

Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) Team Member: 13; Design Team Members: 17; Coordinator: 21

Teacher Leader

TOSA/Instructional Coach:

  • Models use of evidence-based instruction in order to coordinate peer-to-peer learning as well as inform classroom instruction and impact on student performance.
  • Coordinates with teachers and consultant s to develop and present professional development for evidence-based instruction and implementation of best instructional practices.
  • Manages and oversee key data from assigned school as a member of the Design Team.
  • Collaborates with principal on building goals.
$1,040 stipend

4

Principal Career Ladder Pathway

Principal Title Roles and Reponsibilities Compensation Number Serving in Role in 2014-15
Novice Principal
  • Receives mentoring and professional development on the Maryvale Strategic Plan 2014-19 and comprehensive systems.
  • Serves within a Design Team Professional Learning Community (PLC) with district and building level leaders to focus on key initiatives within the Maryvale Strategic Plan 2014-19.
N/A 0
Professional Principal

Design Team and Building Leadership Team Member:

  • Assists with developing building goals as a member of the Building Leadership Team.
  • Serves within a Design Team PLC with district and building level leaders to focus on key initiatives within the Cheektowaga-Maryvale Strategic Plan 2014-19.
  • Mentors Novice Principals.
  • Serves as a member of the Administrative Council with other district administrators and building leaders.
  • Analyzes data and instructional practice to determine professional development needs for their respective building.
  • Collaborates with districts across the region to learn and disseminate best practices.
  • Oversees selected content area for grades K-12.
  • Coordinates with teachers on special assignment to ensure evidence-based instruction is implemented.
  • Oversees analysis of building data.
$1,000 stipend 3
Principal Leader

Design Team and District Leadership Team Member:

  • Serves within a Design Team PLC with district and building level leaders to focus on key initiatives in the Cheektowaga-Maryvale Strategic Plan 2014-19.
  • Designs district goals as a member of the District Leadership Team.
  • Develops partnerships with faculty at institutes of higher education.
  • Oversees all curriculum areas and ensures evidence-based instruction processes are utilized.
  • Coordinates with district leadership to implement major strategic initiatives.
  • Reviews district data to determine professional development needs of teachers and principals.
  • Provides peer leadership for continuous improvement on teacher evaluations and inter-rater reliability
$1,500 stipend 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

  • This Student Growth and Sustainability slide deck provides an overview of Cheektowaga-Maryvale’s process to build capacity and implement systemic initiatives through the design of their STLE initiative that frame and support the goals of their district Strategic Plan. LEAs in the process of designing and implementing career ladder pathways may find this helpful in establishing design principles for their work, including ideas for how to message the vision to stakeholder groups.
  • The Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) Initiation presentation materials were designed by Cheektowaga-Maryvale, in conjunction with outside partners, to build a culture to support the implementation of PLCs. Included in the materials are focus group questions as well as a letter to the faculty to use as examples for how the district communicated their career ladder pathway information to their stakeholders.  
  • The Data Driven Instruction toolkit provides an overview of Cheektowaga-Maryvale’s process for developing SMAART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Action, Relevant, and Timeframe) goals by using data. Included in this deck is a “Data Deconstruction” template that delineates the five phases for evidence-based instruction.  
  • The Cheektowaga-Maryvale Teacher Leader Metrics form provides Techer Leaders with a specific set of expectations and requirements for their career ladder pathway role.  LEAs may find this tool useful in developing career ladder pathway position applications or evaluation materials.
  • 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. 

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