North Tonawanda City 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.
North Tonawanda’s vision for the STLE grant was to improve English Language Arts (ELA), mathematics, and enhance instruction through technology. At the time the STLE 3 grant application was written in winter 2013, student achievement at the elementary and middle levels indicated that approximately half of all students were meeting grade level standards in key subjects. Student subgroups that include minority, special education, and economically disadvantaged students were less likely to meet grade level standards, placing them at high risk of school failure and dropout. The district envisioned utilizing career ladder pathways to increase the number of teachers rated Effective and Highly Effective within each building by supporting the professional development and improvement of Ineffective and Developing teachers, as well as teachers who score in the low-Effective range. Career ladder pathways at North Tonawanda would create a clearly defined structure for teachers and administrators to attain higher levels of responsibility and reward.
[ Read more... ]
Currently, greater emphasis is being placed on strengthening the skill set of Teacher Leaders, through the Advanced Certificate program at Niagara University (NU). The district is working collaboratively with NU to plan and carry out strands of professional development for both Novice and Professional Teachers on career ladder pathways. In addition, Teacher and Principal Leaders have begun working with the Board of Education and district administration to develop a mission and vision, and lay the framework for professional learning communities. Preliminary results show that the strategies being implemented are having a significant impact on teaching strategies, particularly for grade 3 teachers. As part of the STLE initiatives, classroom teachers were asked to commit to progress monitor all of their students five times per quarter for both ELA and math, utilizing the information gathered from these interim assessments to differentiate instruction with support provided by Teacher Leaders. These scores were used to predict future success on the State assessments, with a high degree of accuracy. More frequent monitoring allows teachers to make adjustments that lead to improved student outcomes. Next year’s student assessments are expected to show gains as a result of this new strategy. The district has designated Teacher Coaches/Collaborators that cover the classes of teachers who attend professional development sessions to receive deliberate support and instruction in targeted areas based on progress monitoring and Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) evaluations.
[ Read less... ]
- Developed a common language to ensure that teachers and administrators are effectively assessing performance and understand one another.
- Partnered with local Institutions of Higher Learning to train teacher and principal leaders.
- Involved a multitude of stakeholders to ensure that the strategic direction is aligned with community and district values.
- Completed initial and ongoing calibration of effective teaching and leadership practices for conducting observations and providing meaningful feedback.
- Articulated clear expectations for effective teaching and leadership practices based on the New York State Teaching Standards and the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC) standards.
The North Tonawanda City School District is committed to sustaining all grant funded activities, including the career ladder pathways, beyond the grant term. The district is currently examining grant opportunities to sustain the model, in particular its Teacher Coach/Collaborator position.
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.
- 5 Teacher Coach/Collaborators directly impact 140 teachers which impact 3,500 students
- 17 Teacher Leaders directly impact 294 teachers which impact 3,661 students
- 2 Principal Leaders directly impact 294 teachers which impact 3,661 students and their parents
Areas of Focus
The North Tonawanda City School District set out to address the common talent management challenges of preparing, recruiting, developing, retaining, and providing equitable access to the most effective educators through their career ladder pathway model.
|Common Talent Management Challenge||Local Educational Agency (LEA) Efforts|
North Tonawanda has a multi-component program with clearly defined strands for the development of current and future principals. A separate, Developing Administrator strand, is offered to Teacher Leaders with administrative promise. These aspiring administrators enter the administrative program at the University at Buffalo; specifically the LIFTS (Leadership Initiative for Tomorrow’s Schools) administrative program. They are part of a cohort and as a result of the partnership with the University at Buffalo; they will be sponsored candidates for the district. They also participate in an internship experience, as the grant has provided the district with the funding to allow them to shadow a Principal Leader once per week. In addition, Teacher Leaders are eligible to participated in an Advanced Certification of Study program through Niagara University’s Teacher Leadership program.
To encourage the highest qualified teachers to work with students in the highest need schools, the district will offer the most effective teachers an economic incentive to transfer to the highest need school for a minimum of three years with the option of transferring back to their previous school after the three-year period ends. A one-time stipend of $5,000 is offered to accept a transfer. To be eligible for the transfer, teachers must have received a composite score of Highly Effective or Effective once in the past two years, and submit an application which will be reviewed by a committee that will include: a board member, a parent from the targeted school, a teacher, the superintendent, and the building principal.
Teacher Leaders receive professional development through Niagara University’s Teacher Leadership Advanced Certification of Study program. Studies prepare teachers to: mentor Novice and new teachers, as well as those teachers receiving a component or composite APPR rating of Ineffective or Developing. Teachers also engage in curriculum development activities and design and deliver robust professional development opportunities for their colleagues.
In addition, Teacher Leaders have provided professional development opportunities through a strand of offerings to teachers in need, parents, as well as administrators these sessions have addressed: Pre-Committee on Special Education (CSE) strategies, the K-6 Health Curriculum, Guided Reading & Literacy, and the ELA Modules. Principal Leaders mentor Teacher Leaders who are: learning to coach adults; manage district-wide curriculum and assessment development teams; and conduct lead evaluator certification training for administrators district-wide. Professional development for the Principal Leader position is provided by the District Superintendent and the Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), as needed.
North Tonawanda 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., $5,000 stipend for Teacher Leaders and Professional Teachers, $5,000 stipend for Principal Leaders, and a Recruitment/Transfer award of $5,000 stipend for Highly Effective/Effective teachers to teach in a high needs school for a minimum of 3 years).
The district has a coach designated once per week who works alongside of teachers and principals to discuss Pre-CSE (Committee on Special Education) strategies. Most specifically, the coach introduces and models (when needed) strategies for successful implementation. The coach works alongside teachers to examine data and with the Student Support Team (SST) to be sure teams are working consistently and equitably across all elementary schools and across the district. In addition, North Tonawanda’s Teacher Leaders mentor new and novice teachers, as well as teachers who have received a composite rating of Developing or Ineffective on their annual evaluation.
|Other Areas of Focus||Local Educational Agency (LEA) Efforts|
|Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR)||
As a result of the work of teacher and principal leaders, there have been strands of quality professional development offered to all 294 teachers in the district. These sessions were deliberately designed to meet the needs addressed in the Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) plan and aligned to district initiatives in English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics.
The district is currently working on the development of a video library which will provide professional development and support to all constituents in the district, including parents and students. Identified segments of planned coaching videos will include identifying college and career ready standards for parents and organizational techniques for students.
|Dissemination of Promising Practice||
Using the STLE 3 grant as a foundation, the district is using the two principal leaders through STLE-D to implement a plan to increase the number of buildings led by the most effective principals, prepare promising district staff to receive a composite rating of Highly Effective on their evaluation in the future and create an administrator development strategy that can be maintained by the district after the grant period ends.
The STLE principals with the assistance of 17 teacher leaders are providing professional development on effective instructional strategies, research-based best practice, and purposeful learning walks to better evaluate current instruction and provide more meaningful feedback to strengthen novice and professional teachers. Purposeful learning walks help principals identify areas of strength and need in teachers, and assist the district in developing more uniform assessments among principals by giving them specific examples of highly effective teaching strategies in key content areas.
Areas of Impact
The North Tonawanda City 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|
5 (One Teacher Coach/Collaborator position is shared between two people who are in the role part-time. Each receives a stipend of $2,500).
|Principal Title||Roles and Reponsibilities||Compensation||Number Serving in Role in 2014-15|