Syracuse 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.
The Syracuse City School District is committed to implementing a comprehensive Teacher and Leader Effectiveness (TLE) continuum to strengthen teacher and leader effectiveness and provide incentivized opportunities for professional growth. As Syracuse began implementation of its career ladder pathways, as outlined for the Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) grant, the district decided that a new STLE grant focused specifically on career ladder pathways would allow thoughtful expansion of the opportunities available to teachers and principals.
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Syracuse was interested in improving their career ladder pathways in three ways. First, as outlined for TIF, career ladder pathway roles included some “roles” that did not change a teacher’s or principal’s responsibilities, other than opening one’s classroom or school for others to observe. While a career ladder pathway role without specific, additional responsibilities could be used to recognize and reward strong teachers and leaders, it would not allow the district to leverage those individuals to support others. Second, the roles outlined in the original career ladder pathways had no built-in sustainability; both financially and in terms of effort, almost all of the roles would always require something on top of standard levels of funding and effort. Third, Syracuse wanted to expand the pathways to include even more specific types of teacher and principal leadership opportunities. Therefore, the district worked with some external partners, including Education First, Public Impact, and the American Federation of Teachers for its teacher career ladder pathways and Cross & Joftus for its principal career ladder pathways. District representatives worked with teacher-led school design teams for more than six months during the 2013-14 school year to develop additional roles, including “Multi-Classroom Leader” roles in a pilot group of schools. These Multi-Classroom Leader roles align with Public Impact’s “Opportunity Culture” models for rethinking how Syracuse staffs schools so that the district can extend the reach of the most effective teachers in financially sustainable ways. Additionally, a principal design committee wholly redesigned how Syracuse supports new principals through a more comprehensive, largely peer-led principal induction program.
As Syracuse’s career ladder pathways for teachers and principals have evolved, the district has stayed true to its original vision and the goals set in the strategic plan. Syracuse has sought ways to integrate the Opportunity Culture principles into other work in the district, such as developing a new turnaround school leader preparation and support program that will create new opportunities for teacher leaders to take a seat at the school leadership table in support of a highly effective principal. In the 2014-15 school year, Syracuse has worked with at least 3-4 additional school design teams to expand the pilot that began in 2013-14. The district is particularly interested in school teams who are interested in incorporating blended learning models (or “time-technology swaps”) into their school design in alignment with one of Public Impact’s other suggested models for extending the reach of the most effective educators. Syracuse believes that, to dramatically increase student achievement, the district needs to reimagine teaching and leadership, and Syracuse’s career ladder pathways are a critically important part of reimagining how the district’s schools work.
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- Developed a comprehensive plan that identifies the needs of the district and provide support for educators to be trained to meet those needs.
- Communicated extensively and in multiple formats to make certain that all stakeholders are aware and in support of district initiatives. The Syracuse Superintendent’s Teacher Advisory Council provides an opportunity to communicate about the broader talent management strategy in Syracuse, as well as allowing direct dialogue about the successes and the struggles taking place across their district.
- Partnered with educational organizations dedicated to building the capacity of teacher and principal leaders.
- Provided for the creation of career ladder pathways that clearly articulate transitions from one rung to the next.
- Multi-Classroom Leader roles will be expanded to four additional buildings and will be sustained through the standard budgetary process.
- The district is working with a strategic partner to examine district and school-level resource allocation and explore cost-saving mechanisms across their system.
- Remaining career ladder pathway roles will continue to be funded in part using other grant funds in 2015-16. At that point, the district will look to use local funds to sustain the work beyond the grant period.
- The district has built upon the work accomplished through the STLE and TIF grants using a Turnaround School Leaders Program grant from the federal government.
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.
- 12 Multi-Classroom Leaders directly impact 300 students
- 12 Multi-Classroom Leaders directly impact 60 teachers which impact 1,560 students
- 36 Mentor Teachers directly impact 72 teachers which impact 5,587 students
- 3 Principal Induction Leaders (1 Lead and 2 Assistants) directly impact 11 principals which impact 6,339 students
Areas of Focus
The Syracuse City School District set out to address the common talent management challenges of 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|
The district offered recruitment/transfer awards of $6,000 to teachers and select ancillary staff who accepted a new position at one of the district's seven Innovation Zone schools. In addition, the district has created more rigorous selection tools to recruit teachers and leaders, including new interview questions and model lessons for interview staff. In addition, Syracuse has designed metrics to monitor and better streamline recruitment activities and hiring process
Syracuse created a new recruitment site in February 2014 titled “We’re All In, Are You?” This new microsite provides a profile of the district and profiles for a diverse group of teachers, principals and district staff. The microsite also provides information on PBCS and career ladder opportunities available to Syracuse teachers and principals. This site utilizes “Teacher Match,” an online assessment tool completed during the district’s application process for employment, which provides information to the district regarding a teacher’s impact on student achievement and a PD report utilized by mentors and principals to better assist teachers during their first year in the district: http://joinsyracusecityschools.com/.
On-line application system has been able to reach many more candidates. Prior-were only using the local newspaper. Teacher Match is the first step- have developed 100 questions to determine the strongest candidates- color coding system moves the most appropriate candidates to the next step in the process.
Syracuse is committed to implementing a comprehensive TLE Continuum to strengthen teacher and leader effectiveness and provide incentivized opportunities for professional growth. The district’s partnerships with the American Federation of Teachers/New York State United Teachers has supported their expansion of career ladder pathway opportunities including preparation for advanced roles for highly effective teachers and provision of district wide and building-level support and training. The principals’ association has been a key partner in implementing the principal pathways and associated professional development.
Syracuse acknowledged their need to build internal capacity and designed the New Principal Induction Program. This induction program allows Principal Leaders to fulfill additional leadership roles including Principal Consultant, Content Developer, Mentor Principal, Model Principal, PLC Lead, Assistant Induction Lead and Induction Lead. These roles and responsibilities include conducting monthly induction activities, mentoring, developing content such as the new principal handbook, and providing specialized supports to new principals.
Syracuse schedules Saturday Academies during the school year, providing educators with learning opportunities outside of the school day. Courses at each Saturday Academy are aligned to the Regents Reform Agenda and specific domains in the district’s Teaching and Learning rubric or Danielson rubric. Syracuse has worked with Insight Education Group to build additional professional development opportunities in three target areas: questioning strategies, measuring and monitoring student growth, and deep conceptual knowledge.
In addition to expanding their PD through Saturday Academies, they continue to train administrators and instructional coaches on providing high quality PD. The district assesses the quality of PD by conducting a comparison of PD attendance against the observation scores received by teachers as part of their evaluation. The analysis and enhancements to PD allow Syracuse to build capacity district-wide as well as continue their work toward sustainability.
Syracuse has worked with Croft and Joftus to implement human capital strategies, including a “teacher vacancy forecast” model that identifies key components for openings in the teacher pipeline, allowing the district to forecast openings in specific grades and subjects. Coupled with a robust program of job-embedded professional development delivered, in part, by the Teacher Leaders in each school, the district is able to bolster its retention strategies.
Improving retention decisions for probationary teachers is part of a broader talent management strategy: 1. To design and implement a rigorous, transparent, and fair evaluation system that accurately differentiates effectiveness and aligns more than historical evaluation data with student outcomes. 2. Provide professional development and coaching for teachers and school leader that is not only appropriate and intensive, but is differentiated based on student achievement data and evaluation data. 3. Implement integrated and aligned performance management structures and supports using evaluation data to inform the development and equitable distribution of effective educators.
In 2012, Syracuse adopted a five-year strategic plan entitled “Great Expectations” that prioritizes evidence-based decision making and results-oriented performance management across all levels of the district. The strategic plan is further articulated through transformational goals, one of which is “providing all students with equitable access to rigorous curriculum with aligned instructional materials and assessments in all subjects and all grade levels”. To this end, Syracuse has redistributed its Effective and Highly Effective teaching staff across its schools.
|Other Areas of Focus||Local Educational Agency (LEA) Efforts|
|Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR)||
Through its partnership with Insight Education Group, Syracuse has worked to develop, refine, and evaluate the implementation of the new college and career ready standards aligned teacher and principal evaluation instruments. Syracuse continues to leverage the expertise of Peer Observers to provide formal and informal observations and opportunities for teachers to grow in a collegial atmosphere.
Since the inception of its five-year strategic plan in 2012, Syracuse has prioritized evidence-based decision making and results-oriented performance management across all levels of the district.
Areas of Impact
The Syracuse 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|
|Mentor Teachers: $5,500 combined STLE/TIF stipend; Multi-Classroom Leaders: $7,500 $12,500 or $17,500 STLE stipend||
Mentor Teachers: 36; Multi-Classroom Leaders: 12
||$2,000 combined STLE/TIF stipend||
||$3,000 combined STLE/TIF stipend||
|Principal Title||Roles and Reponsibilities||Compensation||Number Serving in Role in 2014-15|
|$5,000 combined STLE/TIF stipend||3|
|$8,000 combined STLE/TIF stipend||4|
PLC Lead Principal:
Principal Induction Lead:
Assistant Induction Leads:
|PLC Lead Principal: $12,000 combined STLE/TIF stipend; Principal Induction Lead: $17,500 STLE stipend; Assistant Induction Lead: $12,500 STLE stipend||PLC Lead Principal: 1; Principal Induction Lead: 1; Assistant Induction Lead: 2|