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Greater Amsterdam 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

The Greater Amsterdam School District is committed to continued development and support of effective teachers and leaders.  Through STLE 2, the district envisioned and set out to work towards a teacher and principal career ladder pathway focused on targeted supports for instructional leaders. To this end, Amsterdam has identified and supported the most effective educators, distributing their talent across content areas and grade levels. Emphasis has been placed on supporting students through the use of data, mentoring, professional development, and consistent, district-wide utilization of evidence-based strategies to support success and achievement.      

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Through STLE-D, the Greater Amsterdam School District served as a lead applicant, disseminating best practices through a comprehensive, enhanced Professional Learning Community (PLC). Administrators from within the district and throughout the region have been able to form PLCs called “Instructional Learner Partners” which allowed for focused, targeted mentoring opportunities for principals, in small groups, to meet and work collaboratively on an identified need. The goal through STLE-D was to create advanced leadership opportunities leveraging the talents of the highest performing building leaders and teacher leaders and to extend the reach of three existing STLE programs (Amsterdam, Broadalbin-Perth and Mayfield) by modeling specific approaches to the development, implementation, and support of a region-wide Teacher and Leader Effectiveness (TLE) system, expanding access for non-STLE building leaders and teacher leaders.

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Promising Practice

  • The district has built a collaborative culture that involves teachers and administrators at all levels focusing on student learning, and has revised their master schedule to allow for PLC and intervention teams to re-teach and provide enrichment activities for students.
  • Teacher Leaders serve as part of the building leadership team and are responsible for the disaggregation and analysis of a variety of school-wide data to improve and meet the unique academic and social needs of all students. 

Sustainability

The Greater Amsterdam School District is planning to use multiple sources of revenue in order to sustain the great work begun under STLE 2 and STLE-D.  The districts anticipates funding certain Teacher Leader positions through inclusion in the General Fund of the 2015-16 budget, through the use of Title II funds, and by exploring further grant opportunities.

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

  • 5 Instructional Technology Leaders directly impact 291 teachers which impact 3,669 students
  • 3 Data Coaches directly impact 291 teachers which impact 3,669 students
  • 4 Principal Leaders directly impact 6 principals which impact 291 teachers which impact 3,669 Students.

Areas of Focus

The Greater Amsterdam 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

An administrative mentoring support program was established utilizing School Administrators Association of New York State (SAANYS) mentors and Capital Area School Development Association (CASDA) supports for first year administrators district-wide. Monthly administrative council meetings focusing on various professional development supports for all administrators, including inter-rater reliability trainings, college and career readiness standards strategies and effectively utilizing data to inform instruction. An administrative retreat was held focusing on Professional Learning Community (PLC) implementation and goal development, and SMART goals have been set district and building wide.

Amsterdam further partnered with CASDA to implement professional development opportunities tailored to the specific needs of teachers, as well as support on ISLLC standards and Danielson practices for all educators.  Throughout the year, Teacher Leaders take on rolls as Curriculum Leaders and Technology Integrationists to offer embedded professional development opportunities for teachers, and to support the PLCs and data team processes within the building.

Retention

The Greater Amsterdam 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. Amsterdam 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., $2,250 stipend for Teacher Leaders, $5,000 stipend for Principal Leaders). 

Equitable Access

Teacher Leader positions provide opportunities for the most effective teachers to share their expertise and turnkey training with their colleagues to ensure that the lowest performing students have access to the most effective educators. In addition, Amsterdam uses the data provided from the APPR evaluation system to customize professional development opportunities for staff and offer embedded support and mentoring for individuals.

Other Areas of Focus

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

Monthly administrative council meetings have focused on various professional development supports for all administrators on both ISLLC standards and Danielson’s Frameworks. These include inter-rater reliability trainings, college and career ready alignment strategies, and effectively utilizing data to inform instruction.  Additionally, tailored professional development opportunities are created based on the data provided from the various components of the evaluation system. 

Evidence-Based Instruction

In this area, the Data Coaches have proven to be invaluable within each of the buildings since September 2014. Data Coaches have served as part of the building leadership team working directly with principals and teachers supporting them with the analysis of a variety of school-wide data to improve and meet the academic and social needs of students and help implement student centered learning practices aligned with curriculum.   The data coaches have also trained teachers in the use of data to make decisions about curriculum, assessments, instruction and attendance needs to support the goals of the building and the district. Professional Learning Communities have also received the support of data coaches through data team processes within the building and sharing out this information at the district level. The Data Coaches also monitor the results of both state and local testing and assist schools with the analysis of the results providing a starting point to guide teachers and administrators to continue the process. 

High Need Students

Amsterdam has included on their career ladder the position of Special Education (SpEd) Curriculum Leader. The SpEd Curriculum Leader supports departments with college and career ready standards and evidence based instruction, along with being a liaison for professional learning communities and all departmental needs. It is a goal of the district to enhance the proficiency of ELA and math by 5% for the subgroup of students with disabilities. Master schedule adjustments have occurred at all six school buildings and time has been added for collaborative educator meetings and student interventions.  

Dissemination of Promising Practice

Through STLE-D, Amsterdam is extending the reach of three existing STLE programs (Amsterdam, Broadalbin-Perth, and Mayfield) by modeling specific approaches to the development, implementation, and support of a region-wide TLE system, expanding access for non-STLE building leaders and teacher leaders.  The three existing components made available to additional teachers and principals at Amsterdam and the consortium members include the HFM Leadership Academy, Instructional Learning Partners, and Teacher Leader Certificate of Advanced Study.

The HFM Leadership Academy includes a professional development series for school building leaders from across the consortium related to effective school leadership.  Principals also received principal mentorship through the School Administrators Association of New York State (SAANYS). Participants in the Instructional Learning Partners engage in peer to peer learning and professional development.  Teachers participating in the Teacher Leader Certificate of Advanced Study are taking course work at SUNY Plattsburgh that leads to a teacher leader certificate.

Areas of Impact

The Greater Amsterdam 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
  • Early Literacy Profile test (STAR) has reflected growth, in October only 19 students were at or above grade level and in March it went up to 44 students.
  • For Kindergarten growth from November 2014 to March 2015 in Fountas & Pinnell levels there has been an overall 15.1 increase in fluency.
  • PLCs have been the driving force for teachers to utilize their classroom level data to drive future instruction. For example, in 3rd grade, teachers have utilized their PLC time to implement an ELA 2 [ELA = Enrich, Learn, Achieve, 2 (urgently low)] intervention time. The ELA 2 groups were formed by looking at classroom assessment data by specific skill. Each week a new skill was taught or reteaching occurred if needed.
  • Starting in September 2014, there were 11 students in the “L” group which is the low achieving group (intervention). Over the course of 15 intervention times, 5 of those 11 students consistently moved from the “L” group to the “A” (achieving) group and sometimes “E” (enrichment) group. A 46% increase in performance over time.
  • Looking at the “2” group which is the urgent intervention group; there were a total of 8 students in September 2014. Over the course of 15 intervention times 3 of those 8 students successfully moved from the “2” group (urgent intervention) to the “L” group (intervention). A 38% increase in performance.
Early Impact on Talent Management System
  • Increased percent of teachers scoring Effective or Highly Effective on the State Provided Growth Ratings from 59% to 96% from the 2012-13 to 2013-14 results.
  • Preliminary data is indicating a 10% - 25% decrease in the number of developing ratings in the Domains 2 & 3 of the Danielson Teacher Observation Rubric. These are targeted areas for professional development with the support of the STLE grants.
  • 54 teachers from Amsterdam and 250 teachers from STLE-D consortium districts are directly supported from the collaboration across Hamilton, Fulton and Montgomery counties in Professional Learning Communities. 
  • 10 Teacher Leaders from Amsterdam and 36 Teacher Leaders from STLE-D consortium districts are being instructed through the Teacher Leadership Academy through SUNY Plattsburgh.
  • 22 Teachers from Amsterdam and 75 teachers from STLE-D consortium districts are working in the Instructional Learning Partners Program sponsored by CASDA.

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
  • Serve on building or district level teams or committee
  • Offer support to parent or community stakeholders by offering workshops in specific areas (common core, student engagement, parental supports from home, etc)
  • Offer professional development to staff in technology supports, PD tools, student management systems, etc. 
As per ATA contract

0

Professional Teacher

Instructional Technology Leader

  • Support includes workshops, embedded instructional technology PD and peer technology mentoring.                        

Committee Member

  • Serve in various leadership capacities including district wide curriculum committees, SCEP teams, Teaching is the Core Grant DART team, Building Level teams
Instructional Technology Leader: $2,250 annual stipend; Committee Member: $31.25/hr.

Instructional Technology Leader: 2; Committee Member: 40

Teacher Leader

Instructional Technology Leader

  • Support includes workshops, embedded instructional technology PD and peer technology mentoring.

Data Coach

  • Serve as part of the building leadership team and be responsible for the disaggregation and analysis of a variety of school-wide data to improve and meet the unique academic and social needs of all students. 

Curriculum Leaders

  • Support departments with CCLS and DDI. Act as liaison for PLC and all departmental needs  

Peer Mentors  

  • Support new teachers in their first and second years of employment  

Coordinators (Mentor, ESL, ELA, Math)

  • Leadership roles supporting curriculum alignment and instructional practices
Instructional Technology Leader: $2,250 annual stipend; Data Coach: $2,250 annual stipend; Curriculum Leaders: $2,250 annual stipend; Peer Mentor: $1,030 annual stipend; Coordinator: $3,250 annual stipend

Instructional Technology Leader: 5; Data Coach: 3; Curriculum Leaders: 10; Peer Mentor: 35; Coordinator: 4

Principal Career Ladder Pathway

Principal Title Roles and Reponsibilities Compensation Number Serving in Role in 2014-15
Novice Principal
  • Early career educators are required to participate in model induction program until they are tenured
  • Novice principals will receive continued professional development from SAANYS mentor program and CASDA support aligned to the ISLLC standards and adopted MPPR rubric
N/A 4
Professional Principal
  • Supports and facilitates district-wide Professional learning Communities
  • Offer support to parent or community stakeholders by offering workshops in specific areas (college and career ready standards, student engagement, parental supports from home, etc)
  • Serve on building or district level teams or committee
  • Facilitate the formation of cohorts of teachers interested in pursuing National Board Certification
  • Lead or manage district wide curriculum and/or assessment development
  • Expanded educational and certificate options available
NA 0
Principal Leader

In addition to Professional Principal Duties:

  • Conduct formal mentoring of administrative interns, first year administrators, etc,
  • Conduct formal mentoring of Principals for PD, feedback & coaching
  • Conduct lead evaluator and/or evaluator certification training
  • Offer training and support to Assistant Principals to build capacity in their roles as instructional leaders
  • Coordinate data/assessment efforts districtwide for elementary and secondary
$5,000 annual 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

  • Through STLE-D, the Amsterdam CSD-led consortium created a program called “Instructional Learning Partners” which provided opportunities for cross-district educators to explore specific areas of interest and improvement.  The Instructional Learning Partners FAQ is a resource that informed component district educators on the framework and activities to be completed by program participants, which may be useful for LEAs in developing a communication and engagement strategy. 
  • The Data Coach at Amsterdam is a Teacher Leader career ladder pathway position. In this presentation to the Board of Education, the role of the Data Coach is detailed. This may be a helpful resource for LEAs looking to define a similar role as well as for LEAs looking to share their career ladder pathway positions with stakeholders.    
  • In order to support Professional Learning Community (PLC) implementation, as well as intervention blocks for re-teaching and enrichment activities, Amsterdam adjusted its master schedule to accommodate for WIN (“What I Need”) time.  Reviewable resources include an elementary school schedule example, as well as a description of WIN time which includes elementary school outcome data.

 

  • 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

  • In this presentation to stakeholders, the Amsterdam CSD-led consortium details its work from its STLE-D Professional Learning Community, including participant reflections.  
  • In this STLE 2 presentation, Amsterdam presents its grant progress to their Board of Education, which details its major grant initiatives, the work that is being done, and what strides are being made towards its overall grant measurable goals and objectives. 

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