National Charter School Network Forms to Extend Teachers’ Reach

by | May 8, 2013

As Public Impact® continues our Opportunity Culture® quest to reach more students with great teachers, we’re seeing both district and charter schools come on board. In the charter sector, a disproportionate amount of activity is by new charter school organizations.

But these new school providers can’t just ask the school next door—or even the charter school next door—how to make reach models that combine job redesign and technology successful for students and teachers. They need each other. So we formed the national Opportunity Culture® Charter School Network.

The network’s four founding members are Foundations College Prep in Chicago, Ingenuity Prep in Washington, D.C., Touchstone Education in Newark, N.J., and Venture Academy in Minneapolis. Each will start as a single school, with hopes for big growth. After they establish success with students, they collectively plan to scale up to serve tens of thousands of students. They join more established charter networks, such as Rocketship Education, already engaged in extending the reach of teachers, and paying more, without increasing instructional group sizes.

These new-start schools want great student learning, and they want to be free from permanent dependence on philanthropy to close charter funding gaps. School founders are open to financially sustainable school models that extend the reach of excellent teachers, pay teachers more, and turbocharge teacher development.

In 2011, we launched our Opportunity Culture® initiative to help the U.S. close achievement gaps and meet rising global standards by extending the reach of excellent teachers to more students. We published school model summaries and detailed models that use job redesign and technology to reach more students with excellent teachers, for more pay, within available budgets. As school design teams craft and tailor models that meet the five Opportunity Culture® Principles, we’ll document their efforts and continue updating and adding models.

Most models create new teaching roles that take advantage of teachers’ best skills, form collaborative teams, and allow job-embedded teacher development. All teachers and staff have the opportunity to develop to their full potential through collaboration with and leadership from excellent teachers. Advancement allows more pay and greater reach, within budget.

Public Impact® will provide the Opportunity Culture® Charter School Network with advice on design and implementation of these models, create a “learning loop” for the schools to share lessons with one another, and profile each school in a case study of the school’s efforts.

We’re happy to see new charter schools breaking the mold with Opportunity Culture® models. But districts and growing charter networks can do this, too: open their new schools with new staffing models that pay more and expand excellent teachers’ impact to more students and teaching peers.

Why, in fact, would anyone open new schools without focusing on making the most of teachers’ talents to help more students, paying teachers more, and providing more opportunities for development on the job?

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