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Hartford CSD-led Consortium (Washington County Consortium)

 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 Washington County Consortium is comprised of five unique school districts in northern upstate New York located in Washington County. Educators across the five districts have created a shared vision of school leadership facilitated by the most effective teachers and principals that spans across 13 schools and collectively serves 426 teachers and 4,870 students.  The consortium is comprised of the Argyle, Fort Ann, Granville, Hartford and Hudson Falls Central School Districts.

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The Washington County Consortium pursued STLE 3 grant funds to implement career ladder pathways in the 2013-14 school year across the five school districts.   Each district faced challenges that needed to be addressed through enhanced leadership.   The STLE grant would result in cross-district career ladder pathways and Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) that provide high-level peer coaching and professional development, extending the reach of the most effective educators across all districts. Prior to the STLE 3 grant, formal career ladder pathways did not exist within the consortium districts.  As small rural schools, they realize that sharing resources is vitally important to each district’s long-term health. The consortium recognizes that their teacher and principal leaders are some of their greatest resources and they fully support the concept of allowing their leaders to work with, and among, partnering schools. At that time only one district, Fort Ann CSD, had an existing “teacher leader” position (i.e. department head).  However, within individual districts, there was great potential for teacher and principal leaders and all districts agreed that there was a need for additional training and resources to fully prepare these individuals to take on a larger leadership role both within their home district and throughout the county.  

Consequently, the original vision of the consortium was to create collaborative Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) and teacher and principal career ladder pathways that would enhance the effectiveness of all educators across each of the districts.  The goal of the PLCs was to provide training for the identified teacher leaders so that they could then become agents of change by taking on additional responsibilities for leading professional development opportunities, including turn-key training, and helping shape the future goals and vision of the district. A goal for all teachers within the consortium was to strive for National Board Certification in their respective disciplines. This was currently the practice within the Fort Ann CSD and as such would be replicated as part of the STLE grant. Also, through career ladder pathways, all districts hoped to develop and retain the most effective early career teachers and principals, nurturing their instructional practice and leadership ability to prepare them for future leadership roles. 

The consortium proposed teacher career ladder pathways that would have teachers move along the teacher and leader effectiveness continuum in the following stages: emerging teachers (Novice Level); master or mentor teachers (Professional Level); and teacher leaders (Leader Level). Teacher leaders would serve primary (K-2), intermediate (3-5), middle (6-8), and secondary grade levels (9-12). Principals would move along the principal career ladder pathway in the following stages: new principals and assistant principals (Novice Level); mid-career principals (Professional Level); and principal leaders (Leader Level). Due to variation in staff size and composition, the selection of career ladder pathway participants would be made at the district level.  All teacher and principal participants on a career ladder pathway would receive targeted professional development through trainings, workshops and participation in a Professional Learning Community (PLC). On the highest rung of each ladder, teacher and principal leaders would continue professional development and action research, as well as share their expertise, experience and training with other district educators through peer coaching activities. This career ladder pathways model would ensure that participants were supported with appropriate and sufficient training, and that the structure generated the necessary momentum to achieve substantive and sustainable improvement for participants and their larger school communities.

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Promising Practice

  • Hired a Curriculum Coordinator and Instructional Coach that was shared amongst districts to extend the reach of excellent educators to teachers and students that need additional support.  
  • Coordinated with institutes of higher learning to build the capacity of teacher and principal leaders.
  • Implemented cross-district Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) to facilitate collaboration and the sharing of best practices across buildings and the districts. 

Sustainability

The Washington County Consortium has used Strengthening Teacher and Leader Effectiveness (STLE) grants to fund the development and implementation of its career ladder pathways. The consortium is committed to the programmatic sustainability of all grant funded activities, including career ladder pathways, beyond the grant term. The five superintendents are working with the Washington-Saratoga-Warren-Hamilton-Essex (WSWHE) Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) to sustain the full time Curriculum Coordinator/Instructional Coach position as a BOCES service available to all component districts, not just those within the consortium.  Individual districts are working to sustain programs and personnel related to career ladder pathways through the standard budgetary process.

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

  • 28 Teacher Leaders directly impact 422 teachers which impact 4,870 students
  • 10 Principal Leaders directly impact 422 teachers which impact 4,870 students
  • 1 Curriculum Coordinator Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA) directly and indirectly impacts 422 teachers which impact 4,870 students

Areas of Focus

The Washington County Consortium set out to address the common talent management challenges of preparing, 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

Teacher Leaders were given the opportunity to enroll in SUNY Plattsburgh’s Teacher Leader Certificate program with the understanding that the training and education received through the program would allow them to become leaders within their home districts and within the surrounding districts. This program has been designed to address NYSED’s guidelines for educational leaders, Model Teacher Leader Standards, Interstate Standards of the School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC), Teacher Education Accreditation Council Standards (TEAC), and the International Society for Technology in Education Standards (ISTE). After the training, the Teacher Leaders will provide turnkey training within their own districts.

Development

The consortium’s overarching goals are focused on providing high-level training to the participants so that identified teacher and principal leaders are in a position to provide professional development in their own districts and, at times, in other districts within the consortium. Teacher Leaders are enrolled into the Teacher Leader Certification program at SUNY Plattsburgh. The Washington County Consortium believes that on-going professional development is essential to the participating districts’ school improvement efforts. Within the consortium, teacher and school leaders are being trained on how to develop and maintain school cultures that support and sustain instructional improvement, and as a result, help students develop the habits of mind to achieve and succeed. 

The consortium has partnered with the Capital Area School Development Association (CASDA) to train their principal leaders in implementing Professional Learning Communities (PLCs). Cross-district PLCs have been implemented to facilitate collaboration and sharing of best practices across buildings and the districts. Discussions within districts are shifting from isolated classroom and building perspectives toward more broad viewpoints that take into consideration how change impacts the entire district and consortium. Teacher Leaders participate in their own professional development supported through PLCs throughout the year to provide support for one another and problem solve. This opportunity to network provides Teacher Leaders with the support needed to share promising practices across their own district and the county.

Retention

The Washington County Consortium has identified and supported highly effective educators through career ladder pathways as a Teacher Leader and Principal Leader, providing opportunities for teachers to take on leadership roles and still remain in the classroom, which were only available to educators in one of the five districts prior to the grant. In addition, Strengthening Teacher and Leader Effectiveness (STLE) funds support a Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA) who serves as a Curriculum Coordinator, not accessible to some of the districts prior to the grant.  Career ladder pathway participants are also supported monetarily (e.g. Teacher Leader stipend $1,500 and Principal Leader stipend $1,500). Teacher Leaders who are participating in the Teacher Leader certificate program did not receive a stipend, instead their tuition and books costs ($6,000) was covered by the consortium. 

Equitable Access

The teacher and principal leader positions extend the reach of the most effector educators to improve the instructional and leadership practices of other teachers and leaders across districts and, in turn, improve student learning and achievement.  Through career ladder pathways, the consortium has provided critical professional development and expanded learning opportunities for teachers and principals. 

Other Areas of Focus

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

For the career ladder pathways model, the consortium and participating districts identified “Effective” and “Highly Effective” teachers, according to Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) and identified high quality teachers who have a history of successful practice and are respected by their peers and administration. The consortium is using available Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) data to target and identify specific areas of need in regards to professional development.  Curriculum Coordinator is conducting unofficial observations and then meeting with those teachers to provide assistance in areas of observed weakness.

College and Career Readiness Standards in ELA and Math

The Curriculum Coordinator/Instructional Coach works with all teacher and principals leaders to fully implement all aspects of the college and career readiness standards. Only one of the five consortium members had a Curriculum Coordinator prior to the grant. Unofficial observations and targeted support by the Curriculum Coordinator/Instructional Coach in grades 3-8 English Language Arts (ELA) and math has resulted in improved instructional delivery for 100% of the 12 teachers observed.

Areas of Impact

The Washington County Consortium 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
  • Unofficial observations and targeted support by the Curriculum Coordinator/Instructional Coach in grades 3-8 English Language Arts (ELA) and math has resulted in improved instructional delivery for 100% of the 12 teachers observed.
  • Online courses and integrated distance learning offer elective courses to students that had previously been eliminated due to budget cuts.
  • The Curriculum Coordinator / Instructional Coach worked with all educator leaders to fully implement the college and career ready standards. Only one of the five consortium members had a Curriculum Coordinator prior to the grant. This support is extending the reach of the Curriculum Coordinator/Instructional Coach to more students.
Early Impact on Talent Management System
  • The consortium has 30 Teacher Leaders and 10 Principal Leaders across 5 school districts in career ladder pathways for the 2014-15 year. Prior to the grant, there were not any formal career ladder pathways in 4 of the 5 consortium districts.
  • Preparing Teacher Leaders has helped to ease the workloads of principals by an estimated 15%. Principals are better able to focus on improving parent communication, implementing parent/community activities leading to greater understanding of college and career ready standards.
  • For the first time, districts have established peer-coaching modalities using Teacher Leaders and the Curriculum Coordinator/Instructional Coach. The consortium is using available Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) data to target and identify specific areas of need in regards to professional development.  

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
Professional Teacher
  • Actively participate in professional development and PLCs.
  • Share information and promising practices with colleagues.
  • Train in, and implement, action research.
N/A
Teacher Leader
  • Actively participate in professional development and PLCs.
  • Share information and promising practices with colleagues.
  • Train in, and implement, action research.
  • Receive training through the Teacher Leader Certificate Program through the State University of New York (SUNY) Plattsburgh.
  • Provide peer coaching and mentoring to other teachers.
$1,500 stipend

28

Novice Teacher
  • Actively participate in professional development and Professional Learning Communities (PLC).
  • Share information and promising practices with colleagues. 
N/A

Principal Career Ladder Pathway

Principal Title Roles and Reponsibilities Compensation Number Serving in Role in 2014-15
Professional Principal
  • Actively participate in professional development and PLCs.
  • Share information and promising practices with colleagues.
  • Train in, and implement, action research.
N/A
Principal Leader
  • Actively participate in professional development and PLCs.
  • Share information and promising practices with colleagues.
  • Train in, and implement, action research.
  • Provide peer coaching and mentoring
$1,500 stipend 10
Novice Principal
  • Actively participate in professional development and Professional Learning Communities (PLC).
  • Share information and promising practices with colleagues.
N/A

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.