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.
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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- 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.
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.
- 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 Challenge||Local Educational Agency (LEA) Efforts|
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.
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.
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||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.
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.
|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 Title||Roles and Reponsibilities||Compensation||Number Serving in Role in 2014-15|
Teacher Coach, Teacher Curriculum and Assessment Expert:
District-Wide Teacher Leader
Building-Wide Teacher Leader
District-wide Teacher Leader: 52; Building-wide Teacher Leader: 5
|Principal Title||Roles and Reponsibilities||Compensation||Number Serving in Role in 2014-15|