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North Syracuse 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

The North Syracuse Central School District Strengthening Teacher and Leadership Effectiveness (STLE) program is a comprehensive standards-based career ladder pathway program encompassing both district-wide and building-based components designed to impact student achievement and educator effectiveness.  The STLE initiatives support the integration of college and career readiness standards, professional development, data analysis, and the further development of Teacher and Principal Leaders and curriculum experts that work collaboratively within classrooms across the district to increase student achievement and prepare students for college and careers in a global economy.

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Through STLE 2 and STLE-D, North Syracuse identified six district initiatives, or ‘buckets’, as the focus of the Professional Learning Team (PLT) work: data, Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR), math, ELA, technology, and inclusive education. Within these buckets, each Teacher and Principal Leader worked diligently to focus on goals and strategies to facilitate understanding and to foster change within staff in all buildings, grades, and subject areas. Teacher and Principal Leaders then disseminated their learning to colleagues through professional development sessions, workshops and one-on-one coaching. The district’s STLE work also allowed them to facilitate parent and family engagement to promote participation in the district work on literacy, special education, and data.

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Promising Practice

  • All Principal and Teacher Leaders participated in an introductory program with structured team building activities, and professional development on key initiatives and cognitive coaching strategies. This time helped to build trust, commitment and capacity to complete the work.
  • The district’s primary focus was to cultivate the development and shared learning of highly effective instructional  strategies and techniques to continuously improve student achievement in all content areas.  The focus on inclusive education to address the needs of students with disabilities (SWD) and address the diverse needs of all learners was added to ensure all students reach their fullest potential.
  • The district’s APPR initiative included many sessions, called deep-dives, into the teacher practice rubric to cultivate understanding around strong instructional practice and empower educators to implement solid, best practice strategies into their daily lessons. 

Sustainability

The North Syracuse Central School District Board of Education, Superintendent and Business Official are preparing the district financially to sustain programs and personnel related to Career Ladder Pathways through the general budget while they also continue to search for additional grant 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

  • 57 Teacher Leaders directly impact 656 teachers which impact 8,920 students
  • 7 Principal Leaders directly impact 4 principals, 7 assistant principals and 656 teachers which impact 8,920 students.

Areas of Focus

The North Syracuse Central School District set out to address the common talent management challenges of preparing, developing and ensuring 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

Through STLE-D, 10 Teacher Leaders have embarked on coursework toward a Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS) through LeMoyne College. Principal Leaders from North Syracuse function in the role of adjunct professors for the required courses, creating a cohesive bridge between teacher and principal career ladder pathways. 

Development

Professional development sessions included a variety of learning opportunities focused on group dynamics, adult learning, facilitation and coaching.  Support materials included the following: Groups at Work by Lipton & Wellman, Creating a Culture for Learning by Paula Rutherford, The Elusive Obvious by Michael Grinder, and Lemons to Lemonade: Resolving Problems in Meetings, Workshops and PLCs by Robert Garmston.  Workshops offered by Rick Wormeli and Michael Grinder Academy provided skills on how to differentiate instruction and clear guidance on the differing roles of colleagues, coaches and presenters.  

Equitable Access

North Syracuse was very specific when looking to start its STLE work, balancing the number of participants to ensure representation from each building, grade and department.  The district has focused on elevating the quality of instruction to ensure all students have access to highly effective teachers through one-on-one coaching, targeted professional development on instructional strategies, and addressing the unique academic and social-emotional needs of high need students. 

Other Areas of Focus

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

The APPR committee continually reviews data to determine where improvements are needed at the individual, building, and district level.  Targeted professional development was provided during Superintendent Conference Days and through summer workshops.  Additionally, North Syracuse continued to use information gathered through the APPR process to identify trends in educator performance to further identify professional learning needs.  Targeted, ongoing and job-embedded professional support was offered through mentors and Teacher Leaders serving as a colleague coach.  These ongoing efforts were designed to build capacity across the district to ensure all students have access to highly effective teachers. 

Through STLE-D, the district has implemented monthly two hour support sessions for all evaluators (40-50 Teacher Leaders and principals) focused on inter-rater reliability.  Using videos from NTI, participants work individually and collaboratively to rate indicators on the rubric.  The work involves identifying the critical attributes of each indicator to fully understand what H, E, D, I looks like for each indicator in practice.  The district has a design team in place and is in the process of developing their own video bank of educator practice videos that are annotated.  Their expectation is to launch this resource in spring 2015 with a few videos and will add to this resource throughout the 2015-16 school year and beyond.

College and Career Readiness Standards in ELA and Math

North Syracuse focused their ELA and math work on aligning curriculum and teaching with college and career readiness standards.  This also involved building the capacity of educators across the district to implement instructional practices in the high leverage indicators – student engagement, questioning techniques, differentiation, synthesis/critical thinking/problem solving, formative assessment and feedback and technology.

Evidence-Based Instruction

Teacher and Principal Leaders implemented an assessment initiative to create formative and summative assessments in the four main content areas to allow for comparison across classrooms and grades.  This work allows for the implementation of an effective Response to Intervention (RtI) program to monitor student progress and provided targeted interventions as needed.   Through this work the Teacher and Principal Leaders established a protocol to systematize the process for creating new assessments and ensure they are appropriately relevant and rigorous across the district.  

Through STLE-D, principals participated in the initial phase of Observations for Effective Feedback trainings with Bernie Cleland by completing tandem observations.  During the initial phase Cleland determined the principals already have the skills to capture substantive data. The next step in the one-on-one coaching process was focused on the use of data in the post observation conference to drive improvements in instructional practice.   

High Need Students

The district worked with Syracuse University to review special education services and develop a more inclusive co-teaching model.  Teacher Leaders, parents, administrators and Board of Education members worked together to refine the Response to Intervention (RtI) model to provide a scaffolding of supports to ensure all students succeed. To improve intervention and support for the  district’s English language learner (ELL) population, Teacher and Principal Leaders have focused professional development on literacy and instructional differentiation strategies.  

Dissemination of Promising Practice

North Syracuse Central School District has used its STLE-D grant funds to extend the STLE 2 program – including career ladder pathway positions - into five additional schools where professional learning teams (PLTs) focus on Response to Intervention (RtI), common formative assessments, data, APPR implementation, performance monitoring, math, ELA and technology. In particular, the district has added an additional 16 teachers and 2 principals to its PLTs, which are supported by 3 teacher coordinators and 4 instructional coaches. 

Areas of Impact

The North Syracuse 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
  • Through a focus on continuous improvement the district realized an increase in the percentage of students at or above proficiency on New York State Grades 3-8 Math Assessments by 5% for all students, 13% for English Language Learners, 5% for Economically Disadvantaged students and  4% for minority students from 2012-13 to 2013-14.
  • AIMSweb assessment results show that students are on target to meet academic growth expectations.
Early Impact on Talent Management System
  • 100% of all evaluators (24 building and district administrators, including the Superintendent, Associate Superintendent for Teaching and Learning and the Assistant Superintendent for Instruction) as well as 3 Consultant Teachers, and 4 Administrative Interns attended 8 hours of calibration sessions over the course of 4 months, focused on the district high leverage indicators from the NYSUT rubric.
  • The implementation of Professional Learning Teams (PLTs) has empowered educators across the district to work collaboratively to analyze data and ensure strong instructional practices are implemented in every classroom.
  • STLE work has improved the instructional strategies of educators across the district.  With a focus on greater collaboration, educators were able to share their learning and promote continuous improvement.
  • Instructional practices across the district are more aligned to the high leverage indicators of engaging students, questioning, synthesis/critical thinking/problem solving/collaboration, differentiation and technology.

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
  • Regular classroom duties
  • Non-tenured or tenured teachers with at least 2 years of classroom teaching
  • At least one year with a composite evaluation rating of Effective or Highly Effective in the past two years
N/A

N/A

Professional Teacher

Teacher Coach, Teacher Curriculum and Assessment Expert:

  • At least 3 years of classroom teaching
  • At least two years with a composite evaluation rating of Effective or Highly Effective in the past four years
  • Will function as a Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA) working with all staff in a specified area
FTE

4

Teacher Leader

District-Wide Teacher Leader 

  • STLE District-wide Teacher Leaders work collaboratively as a Professional Learning Team (PLT).  Participants were to develop an action plan for each of the six high leverage areas: Data, Math, APPR, English Language Arts, Technology, and Inclusive Education.
  • Teacher Leaders are learners and active participants in the thinking, process and actions of the Professional Learning Team.  Each Teacher Leader is expected to collaborate with the other members of the team to implement the action plan and meet the goals in each high leverage area.

Building-Wide Teacher Leader

  • STLE building-based team members work collaboratively with their building principals, Building Planning Teams (BPT), departments and /or grade levels to determine the priorities of their work.
  • Teacher Leaders are learners and active participants in the thinking, process and actions of the BPT.  Each Teacher Leaders is expected to collaborate with the building principal, BPTs, departments and /or grade levels to determine the priorities for the work at the building level.  Teacher Leaders are to propose ideas, share thinking, determine actionable steps and implement the work. 
  • Teacher Leaders set goals and action steps in collaboration with the BPT.
$2,500/semester

District-wide Teacher Leader: 52; Building-wide Teacher Leader: 5

Principal Career Ladder Pathway

Principal Title Roles and Reponsibilities Compensation Number Serving in Role in 2014-15
Novice Principal
  • At least one year’s experience as an SBL
  • At least one year with a composite evaluation rating of Effective or Highly Effective in the past three years as a classroom teacher
  • At least one year with a composite evaluation rating of Effective or Highly Effective in the past three years as an SBL
  • Will be mentored by a Principal Leader until tenured
N/A 1
Professional Principal
  • At least three years’ experience as an SBL
  • At least two years with a composite evaluation rating of Effective or Highly Effective in the past three years 
  • Tenured principal
N/A 0
Principal Leader
  • Principal Leaders facilitate and participate as members of district-wide teams in identified focus areas.
  • Principal Leaders serve as mentors to Teacher Leaders who serve as assistant principal at three district school buildings, as well as to non-tenured principals.
  • Teacher and Principal Leaders facilitate Professional Learning Teams (PLTs) in areas of professional development, technology, Response to Intervention, data informed decision-making and Special Education.
  • Principal Leaders create goals and actionable steps to increase staff awareness and plans to increase student achievement.
$2,500/semester 6

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 North Syracuse Central School District has created an STLE landing page, where you can learn about their professional learning community (PLC) grant focus areas of Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR), Data, ELA, math, and technology.
  • North Syracuse’s STLE career ladder pathway Professional Learning Team (PLT)’s work is centered around district “buckets” where teacher and principal leaders focus on goals and strategies to facilitate understanding and to foster change within staff in all buildings, grades, and subject areas.  This work involves further building educator capacity, and disseminating best practices:
    • The Facilitating Adult Learners PowerPoint presentation, from the STLE Leadership Academy, is designed to build educator capacity to effectively lead adult learning opportunities including culture building strategies to support change.
    • The APPR Bucket PowerPoint presentation is designed to build understanding and educator capacity for using the APPR process to improve teaching and learning.
  • The STLE Application Brochure can be used as a guide for districts interesting in crafting a brochure that articulates the process and requirements for educators interested in applying to be teacher leaders.
  • 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 video, watch North Syracuse STLE participants reflect on the impact that the grant has had as they celebrate their work and their accomplishments. 

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