Opportunity Culture Spreads in Arkansas, North Carolina with State Support

by | February 1, 2021

By Public Impact, January 28, 2021

After the continued promising results in Opportunity Culture schools in their states and around the country, Arkansas and North Carolina have awarded grants to seven districts to design their Opportunity Culture plans for implementation in 2021–22.

Opportunity Culture schools use new roles—based on the cornerstone role of Multi-Classroom Leadership—to reach many more students with excellent, personalized instruction. These roles, which have produced outstanding student growth, provide intensive support to all teachers, paid career advancement, and a stronger teacher pipeline.

The national Opportunity Culture initiative, founded by Public Impact, is now in over 45 districts and charter school organizations across 10 states.

State support for the design and implementation of new roles helps rapidly spread excellent teaching to more students and appealing career opportunities for teachers. The grants do not cover the salary supplements for Opportunity Culture roles, which are sustainably funded through budget reallocations.

Learn more about Opportunity Culture here.

Arkansas

The Arkansas Department of Education committed to spreading Opportunity Culture in its Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan, and is supporting its newest cohort of Opportunity Culture districts: Brinkley, Crossett, Earle, and Osceola. Opportunity Culture roles appeal to many of these districts that want to improve teacher recruitment and retention and strengthen student learning.

“We are excited to expand the Opportunity Culture model in Arkansas. We believe that this evidence-based model provides an innovative structure for districts to extend the reach of highly effective teachers to more students,” ADE Deputy Commissioner Ivy Pfeffer said.

“Opportunity Culture serves as a model of innovation for districts around the state and enhances our Teach Arkansas initiative’s goals of recruiting and retaining the best educators in the state,” she said. “It also perfectly aligns with 2017 legislation that created the Arkansas Educator Career Continuum, which provides educators the opportunity to lead from the classroom. By implementing and expanding best practices such as this, we will ensure every student has access to exceptional educators and that learning thrives.”

In the previous round of funding, the school districts of Forrest City, Gentry, and Lincoln Consolidated were selected to implement Opportunity Culture. North Little Rock School District was the first Arkansas district to implement Opportunity Culture.

See full details about each of the new districts here.

Opportunity Culture educators in Arkansas told us how they smoothed the transition to at-home learning in 2020. Read more:

 

North Carolina

The state’s Advanced Teaching Roles pilot, begun in 2016, was intended to improve student learning outcomes by allowing excellent teachers to reach more students by leading a teaching team and taking accountability for all of the team’s students, for more pay, with models that can be replicated statewide.

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools and Wilson County Schools will implement Opportunity Culture in 2021–22 through the funding they were awarded in fall 2020. The school districts of Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Edgecombe County, Guilford County, Halifax County, Hertford County, Lexington City, and Vance County all received funding in previous grant cycles to implement Opportunity Culture.

“We are excited about the opportunities the Advanced Teaching Roles grant will provide for our schools and our district as we work hard to recruit and retain the very best educators to guide and inspire our students,” said Wilson County Schools Superintendent Lane Mills.

“By implementing the Opportunity Culture model, we will be able to improve the quality of newly hired teachers, assist current teachers and add to the instructional knowledge base of our school system to increase student achievement,” Mills said. “This grant will help lead an advancement in teaching and create pathways to encourage educators to grow in their profession while still continuing to teach.”

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools Interim Superintendent Tricia McManus calls Opportunity Culture “a tremendous opportunity for us to attract and retain the most qualified educators.”

“One of the biggest roadblocks to our growth and success is the availability of a qualified work force. This funding is an investment in our future,” McManus said. See more details about Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools and Wilson County Schools here.

Cumberland County Schools, based in Fayetteville, will also implement Opportunity Culture in 2021–22, and received Advanced Teaching Roles status and a small grant this month from the state. All three of the latest North Carolina districts struggle to recruit and retain effective teachers.

“Every day throughout Cumberland County Schools, there are teachers who are making a positive impact and changing students’ lives,” said Superintendent Marvin Connelly, Jr. “Through Opportunity Culture, these impactful teachers will be able to reach even more students while increasing their salary and building our community. It is a win-win for all.” See more details about Cumberland County Schools here.

Opportunity Culture educators in North Carolina told us about the powerful ways they met the challenges of school shutdowns in 2020. Read more:

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