Highland Central School District
Total STLE Award
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.
In executing the STLE 2 grant, Highland Central School District designed career ladder pathways to spread leadership intrinsically through broad based programs throughout the district. Their intent was not to create positions that would not be sustained beyond the life of the grant, but rather to create structures that encouraged organic leadership within departments and between buildings.
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Highland worked toward this goal in several areas. First, they leveraged their existing Grade Level and Department Chairpersons (teacher leaders) to coordinate the writing of a vertically and horizontally aligned curriculum. Through their efforts, they created teams of novice teachers who looked closely at the current curricula, compared it to college and career ready standards and rewrote or refined it to fit a common template. Highland focused mainly on math at the elementary school and in specific content areas at the middle and high school. In the process of writing the curriculum, Highland also provided professional development support that created teams of professional teachers confident in their content knowledge and the direction of their work. While this initiative is by no means complete, it has created a strong foundation for future work in English language arts (ELA) and continual refinement in all content areas. Next, they used the strengths of their principals as well as the existing District Data Coordinator position to improve data conversations at each building. Their high school principal was already a leader in the use of data to guide conversations about Regents examination success school wide. He shared his system and process with the middle and elementary school principals, novices in this area, who then created systems to track math achievement and reading levels. All three principals became leaders of Professional Learning Communities (PLCs), combining elements of their tech initiatives with these areas of focus in each of their buildings. The excitement and enthusiasm generated provide a platform for future work though the PLCs are just beginning.
The district’s greatest area of success came in technology integration and blended learning. Through this initiative, they created a strong group of leaders confident in their knowledge and willing to share and lead. The success came from a Blended Learning Academy offered in the district in summer 2014. It was open to effective and highly effective teachers from grades 6-12. The district began with a mix of Novice and Professional teachers, with more Novice than Professionals. During the summer and throughout the year, the group met to discuss, learn, and troubleshoot the blended learning platforms and technology-based tools. Additionally, they sent their entire grades 6-12 math department to flipped learning training through their local Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES). These teachers were added into the blended learning group. They now have over 20 teachers who are using and meaningfully integrating technology into their curriculum. Novice Teachers within this group have risen to the level of Professional Teacher. In addition, at least 5 teachers, from the group of 20, emerged and are now considered leaders. The five teachers share their expertise with colleagues formally during superintendent’s conference days and professional development workshops after school, as well as present at the regional meeting of the state technology organization.
The breadth and depth of these learning opportunities are enabling Highland to develop a common language to discuss effective teaching and leadership practices. PLCs, Curriculum Development Teams, data conversations, and professional development activities are providing structured channels for collaboration and communication, through which a common understanding of the language used to describe effective practice is assured. Highland will continue to use its teacher and principal leaders to propel the district forward with the initiatives that have begun through STLE 2.
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- Developed a Comprehensive District Educational Plan (CDEP) that measures the effectiveness of academic programs and operational systems as well as define opportunities for improvement on a regular basis.
- Involved a multitude of stakeholders to ensure that the strategic direction is aligned with community and district values.
- Developed and implemented professional development to train individuals for potential career ladder pathways positions.
- Extended the reach of the most effective teachers by enabling them to become leaders in their areas of expertise and turn-key trainers for other staff through targeted professional development.
- Encouraged innovation and student engagement by using professional and lead teachers to share and implement new technology platforms and strategies with staff.
Highland’s career ladder pathways were designed to promote sustainability by training teachers as turn-key experts, utilizing the district’s Technology Academy and Professional Learning Communities (PLCs). The professional development supplied to teachers enables them to be well versed in the requirements of the college and career ready standards. In addition, the district’s emphasis on data promotes an environment of inquiry at every level. The district hopes to sustain the meaningful work they have begun by increasing their funds towards professional development as well as additional grant funding.
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.
- 1 Technology Integration Specialist directly impacts 25 teachers which impact 900 students
- 1 Curriculum Team Leader directly impacts 125 teachers which impact 1,800 students
- 1 Data System Trainer directly impacts 2 Data System Trainees which impact 75 teachers and 1,100 students
- 3 Professional Learning Community Leaders directly impact 75 Professional Learning Community Members which impact 1,800 students
Areas of Focus
The Highland Central School District set out to address the common talent management challenges of 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|
The professional development work that the district has engaged in with the grant funds has increased the number of teachers effectively using technology as an instructional tool in each building. With a focus on blended learning, the district sent 10 teachers to attend a series of workshops on flipped classrooms. In addition, 4 teachers and 2 administrators attended a series of “Teaching is the Core” workshops through Ulster BOCES regarding state assessments and how to diversify assessments to meet the needs of all student learners. The Assistant Superintendent designed a full summer of curriculum and technology work for teachers in 2014. The curriculum work focuses on vertical alignment in math K-12, as well as other areas, like LOTE, PE, AIS Reading, ELA 6-12 and literacy in the content areas. The district Technology director created a summer blended learning program that combines with an offering at our local BOCES to help teachers create blended learning experiences for students next school year, grades 6-12. Overall, the district offered 19 different opportunities and had over 50 teachers participating.
Highland has 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., $1,000 stipend for the Blended Learning Leader, $1,000 stipend for the Curriculum Development Team Leader, and $1,000 stipend for the Data System Trainer).
Other Areas of Focus
|Other Areas of Focus||Local Educational Agency (LEA) Efforts|
|College and Career Readiness Standards in ELA and Math||
65 teachers worked during July and August 2014 to develop curriculum maps. These teachers met as grade levels and subject areas to create these maps, using the Common Core Learning Standards for alignment.
The Data System Analysis Leader works with their 16 Data Analysis Trainees to organize and analyze student data on a student by student basis as well as across the school or district. The District Data Coordinator supports teachers with analyzing assessments to develop Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) to support evidence-based instruction. In addition, the Data System Principal Leader works with the 2 Data System Trainees to develop school wide systems to track student learning and engagement.
Areas of Impact
The Highland 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||
|Early Impact on Talent Management System||
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|
Blended Learning Trainee:
Data Analysis Trainee:
|PLC Member: $40/hour; Blended Learning Trainee: $40/hour; Data Analysis Trainee: $40/hour||
PLC Member: 10; Blended Learning Trainee: 5; Data Analysis Trainee: 16
District Data Coordinator:
Blended Learning Specialist:
|District Data Coordinator: Not funded through STLE; PLC Member: $40/hour; Blended Learning Specialist: $40/hour||
District Data Coordinator: 1; PLC Member: 65; Blended Learning Specialist: 15
Curriculum Development Team Leader:
Data Analysis Leader:
Blended Learning Leader:
|Curriculum Development Team Leader: $1,000 stipend; Data Analysis Leader: Not funded through STLE; Blended Learning Leader: $1,000 stipend||
Curriculum Development Team Leader: 1; Data Analysis Leader: 1; Blended Learning Leader: 1
Principal Career Ladder Pathway
|Principal Title||Roles and Reponsibilities||Compensation||Number Serving in Role in 2014-15|
Data Systems Trainee:
Data System Trainer:
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.
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.
We encourage you to continue to contribute to the on-going conversation on Twitter by sharing your work using #STLE.