In the Media

Creating a ‘tutoring culture’ — for all, by all

From EdNC, by Emily Ayscue Hassel and Bryan C. Hassel, July 8, 2024

Every year, hundreds of billions of dollars will evaporate from the U.S. economy due to permanent learning shortfalls post-COVID, by McKinsey’s calculation.

Research has shown high-dosage tutoring is crucial to addressing these shortfalls. In effective high-dosage tutoring, tutors provide students with at least 90 minutes of tutoring per week, aligned with the school’s curricula, in small groups based on their learning data, to build relationships and meet students’ instructional needs. Tutors grow their knowledge and skills through professional development and coaching.

But far too few students in North Carolina get this sort of tutoring.

Is there a way to get tutoring to everyone without increasing costs? Yes, by engaging all available adults to create a “tutoring culture”– for all, by all.

Read the full post here….

A Generation at Risk: A Call to Action

From A Generation at Risk: A Call to Action by Building Bridges Initiative, September 2023

In their recent report, A Generation at Risk: A Call to Action, the Building Bridges Initiative proposed five commitments they believe can serve as a foundation for a more responsive and engaging educational system for students. One of these actions is to “rethink how time and staff are used to improve impact with students and to improve quality of life for educators.”

The report states, “Fundamentally reimagining school-based professional roles is critical to better meeting student and family needs and to building more rewarding and sustainable careers for educators. Many have been experimenting with redesigning the one-teacher/one-classroom model. Some districts are reorganizing teachers so that they specialize and work in teams to reduce burnout. Others are experimenting with paying teachers differentially based on different levels and types of jobs, such as master teachers, associate teachers, community mental health providers, parent tutors, and so on. Dozens of school districts across the U.S. are already piloting this approach through participation in the Opportunity Culture and Next Education Workforce Initiatives, as well as in states (see North Carolina’s Advanced Teaching Roles initiative).”

Read the full report here.

Using Innovative Staffing to Boost Student Success, Educator Satisfaction

From The Compass, by Sharon Kebschull Barrett, August 2023

Amid bleak news about student learning and teacher shortages, innovative staffing concepts offer hope. But school systems have limited time and funding—how can they ensure a big impact for their efforts?

Several staffing model design elements can boost both student success and teacher satisfaction. While some staffing design efforts accomplish one or two important goals, the best staffing models get results on several fronts and within regular budgets.

Read the full article here.

Restart redux? Guilford leaders taking patient approach to low-performing schools

From Greensboro News & Record, by Jessie Pounds, May 26, 2023

The biggest thing they are trying to evaluate is how well a strategy called “Opportunity Culture” is working in improving academic performance at the restart schools. By paying extra to recruit effective teachers to lead and coach their peers, or take on additional students, the schools think they can make progress on recruiting and retaining great educators in the face of what they say is a shortage of experienced instructors.

The idea for Opportunity Culture came from Public Impact, a Chapel-Hill based company whose leaders designed and created the strategy in 2009. The cornerstone of that strategy, and the part that Oakley thinks is likely doing the most good, is the multi-classroom leader position.

Read the full article here.

Collaboration breeds success through a culture of opportunity and innovation in Baltimore City Public Schools

The AFRO, by Kyair Butts, May 20, 2023

Imagine a world where the best of the best shared their insights with others without ego, red tape or hoops to jump through. Think of how you feel when you successfully collaborate on a project, idea or task. The results at completion usually far exceed what one can do alone. 

There is power when excellence is coached. Education should be shared among all who are willing to participate in the exchange—and this is where Baltimore City Public Schools gets it right, with the Opportunity Culture initiative. 

Opportunity Culture is truly an innovative and immersive experience for educators to share their excellence and coach others all while moving students in meaningful ways. The program began in 2019 with only three locations. At the end of 2021, City Schools boasted 20 Opportunity Culture sites.

Read the full article here.

The Case for Differentiated Staffing in the Classroom 

From WestEd, May 1, 2023 by Kate Wright and Gretchen Weber

Differentiated staffing involves students in a classroom having multiple educators working with them in a range of capacities based on those educators’ strengths and skills. It has shown promise for reducing the burden on individual teachers, retaining teachers, and supporting new teachers, as well as advancing student learning. In this blog post, the third in the Money Matters: Conversations About Teacher Compensation Series, Kate Wright and Gretchen Weber discuss the model, its benefits, and possible barriers to implementation.

Read the full post, which highlights Opportunity Culture models as one example, here.

Reimagining the teacher role: How some large and urban districts are enhancing appeal, addressing shortages

From CRPE, April 18, 2023, by Lisa Chu, Bree Dusseault, and Lydia Rainey

The exact cause of teacher shortages is still up for debate. Some experts argue that shortages are localized, while others say that the lack of teachers is due to low unemployment and other factors. Regardless, school systems face big challenges with their teacher workforce, including finding enough teacher candidates and retaining the teachers they have, as well as filling specialized positions. These big challenges require school systems to make big changes to the role of the teacher. This brief identifies eight categories of strategies that school systems are using to reimagine their teacher workforce, then assesses the extent to which large and urban districts have adopted these strategies. Read the report…

Teacher Apprenticeships Are Booming in Wake of Shortages. Here’s What You Need to Know

From Education Week, March 17, 2023, by Madeline Will

The number of states with federally registered apprenticeship programs for teachers has doubled in just six months, as policymakers and school district leaders look to the model as a promising solution to teacher pipeline challenges.

An apprenticeship, or residency, program allows prospective teachers to undergo training through a teacher preparation program while they work in schools and earn a paycheck. Registering such a program with the U.S. Department of Labor opens up federal funding to pay for tuition assistance, wages, and other supportive services, such as textbooks and child care assistance. …

The Midland school district has already partnered with the University of Texas of the Permian Basin to run a residency program that is associated with the Opportunity Culture model, which puts strong teachers in charge of more students. Teachers who have demonstrated effectiveness with student learning are named “multi-classroom leaders,” meaning they lead a teaching team, provide on-the-job coaching to their teachers, and still do some teaching themselves.

Read the full article

Opinion: Georgia must figure out how to make teaching attractive again

From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, November 22, 2022, by Maureen Downey

A new report echoes what Georgia educators have long lamented: Teaching has lost its luster.

The working paper from the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University charts the state of the U.S. K-12 teaching profession over the last half century by examining prestige, interest among students, preparation for entry and job satisfaction. The damning conclusion: The current state of the teaching profession is at or near its lowest levels in 50 years.

Read the full article…

7 Ways 5,000 Districts & Charter Networks Are Spending Relief Funds on Teachers

From The 74, October 11, 2022, by Phyllis W. Jordan & Bella DiMarco

The pandemic has left many teachers stressed out and stretched thin. In response, some districts are using federal aid to improve working conditions, particularly allowing more time for planning and collaboration. 

Houston is spending federal funds to move teachers in 18 schools toward a new approach to school management known as Opportunity Culture. Educators will receive $15,000 stipends annually to serve as classroom leaders across a grade level or subject. They’ll teach part time while managing teams of teachers, paraprofessionals and instructors in teacher residency programs to analyze student data, adjust instruction and develop their skills. The stipends are part of Houston’s regular budget, but federal funding is being used to expedite training and implementation.

Read the full article…