In the Media

North Carolina academic growth measure shows Coulwood middle school is anything but average

From WFAE, October 4, 2022, by Ann Doss Helms

According to North Carolina’s school performance grades, Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s Coulwood STEM Academy is average. The middle school in northwest Charlotte was graded C for the past school year, based mostly on an overall pass rate of 52% on state reading, math and science exams.

But that grade doesn’t tell the full story.

“I don’t think there’s anything average about us,” says Principal Janet Moss.

You’d expect a principal to say that. But Moss has the proof — specifically, a calculation that shows how much academic growth students made over the course of a school year.

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Noel, Pease earn B accountability ranking

From OA Online, October 2, 2022

Campus culture, social-emotional learning, Blended Learning and keeping an eagle eye on student progress combined to lift Noel and Pease elementary schools from an F to a B in state accountability ratings.

Pease and Noel are sister campuses. Pease has prekindergarten through second-grade students, and Noel has third through fifth. Pease students don’t take the STAAR exam as it starts in third grade, so their success is tied together.

Noel Principal Jennie Chavez said they have three multi-classroom leaders this year. They had two last year. Each MCL has a Reach Associate.

Multi-classroom leaders are teachers with a record of high-growth student learning and leadership competencies. They teach part of the time and lead small, collaborative teams of two to eight teachers, paraprofessionals and teacher residents in the same grade or subject, the Opportunity Culture website said.

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Addressing the Teacher Shortage: Recruiting and Retaining Teachers—Q&A with WestEd’s Gretchen Weber

From WestEd, September 27, 2022

Recruiting and retaining teachers is fundamental to supporting learning recovery. In this Q&A, Gretchen Weber, Senior Managing Director at WestEd, responds to questions many communities are asking about how to address the teacher shortage crisis. …

Opportunity Culture model is another example of differentiated staffing, where the roles of teachers are restructured to extend the reach of excellent, highly effective educators and provide a distributed model of multi-classroom leadership.

Read the full Q&A…

We can rethink training, recruiting, deploying teachers

From Indianapolis Business Journal, August 12, 2022 by Claire Fiddian-Green

Indiana, like the rest of the nation, is grappling with a shortage of teachers. Although shortages are more acute today due to the impact of COVID-19 on labor markets, this challenge has existed for decades. Addressing teacher shortages for the long term will require us to rethink how we train, recruit and deploy teacher talent—and how policymakers can support these efforts. …

One idea is to live-stream lessons so that the same teacher can reach more than one classroom. Another idea is to restructure teacher teams, with some focused on lesson planning and others focused on teaching or tutoring. Public Impact’s Opportunity Culture resources have been used in schools nationwide to help educators revise staffing models. These creative approaches address staffing gaps, while also helping schools retain their highest-performing teachers.

Read the full article…

Muri: Good news on the teacher front

From OA Online, August 11, 2022

Armed with more than 400 new teachers and a pool of 500 substitutes, Ector County ISD is raring to go for this school year.

Superintendent Scott Muri said teachers from 25 countries are represented in classrooms across the district. He added that there is a member of the Human Capital Department who oversees all of the recruiting, retention and support of those individuals. …

He added that the district has made a “significant investment in our human capital strategy over the last three years.”

“We’ve increased teacher compensation. We provide some incentives for teachers to earn more money. We’re developing the professionalism of teachers in our own organization through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, building the quality and caliber of teachers that we have, providing leadership opportunities for teachers through Opportunity Culture.

Big Welcome: Community pulls out the stops for new ECISD teachers

From OA Online, August 2, 2022 by Ruth Campbell

Topping off its best recruiting year in more than a decade, Ector County ISD welcomed about 450 new teachers to the district Monday.

The Teacher Welcome Event, held at the Odessa Marriott Hotel & Conference Center, is organized by the Odessa Chamber of Commerce. Vendors, welcome signs, mascots and cheerleaders marked the occasion, along with prize drawings, food and plenty of swag. Superintendent Scott Muri said there were “450-ish” teachers who were either brand new to the district or teachers who have taught elsewhere.

“We’ve had the best recruiting year in over 10 years, so we’ll have a great start to the school year because of that,” Muri said. He said the recruiting success is a result of a combination of factors such as ECISD’s investment in talent, which is part of its strategic plan, pay raises, the Teacher Incentive Allotment and Opportunity Culture.

It’s Time to Rethink the ‘One Teacher, One Classroom’ Model

From Education Week, July 20, 2022, by Irene Chen & Stephanie Banchero

The last few years have taken a toll on our teachers. The COVID-19 pandemic, ongoing cultural divisions, and the Uvalde, Texas, massacre all weigh heavily. Morale is at an all-time low. Now is the time to rethink the teaching profession.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, some districts are struggling to find teachers. According to federal data collected in January, 44 percent of public schools reported at least one teaching vacancy, and 61 percent identified the pandemic as a cause. Rural and urban districts are having a particularly tough time, especially finding special education and bilingual teachers. Students of color and those from underserved communities are more likely to have uncertified or inexperienced teachers. Read more…

Education Matters: Advanced Teaching Roles

From Education Matters, July 16, 2022

In this episode of Education Matters, a weekly television show about the state of public education in North Carolina, host Mary Ann Wolf, President and Executive Director of the Public School Forum, interviews Public Impact Co-President Bryan Hassel about the Opportunity Culture initiative and Advanced Teaching Roles. Advanced Teaching Roles (ATR) is a state grant structure designed to help retain and expand the reach of highly effective teachers in North Carolina. Most of the North Carolina districts receiving ATR grants use Opportunity Culture roles.

A Closer Look at Advanced Teaching Roles in North Carolina: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

From BEST NC, July 15, 2022

This video from BEST NC examines how the Advanced Teaching Roles program has created new opportunities for teacher leadership and educator collaboration in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, resulting in increased student growth. CMS was the first and largest school district to receive Advanced Teaching Roles (ATR) grants. Like most of the North Carolina districts receiving ATR grants, CMS uses Opportunity Culture roles as its framework. Principal Phillip Steffes, featured in the video, is a 2018-19 Opportunity Culture Fellow. He led Opportunity Culture implementation at his previous school, Albemarle Road Elementary. Read what he wrote about the experience here.

Blackshear chief earns Elementary Principal of the Year

From OA Online, July 11, 2022

When a group of Ector County ISD officials turned up at Blackshear Magnet Elementary School, Principal Valerie Rivera thought the campus had won a grant or someone else was getting an award.

But that person was her. Rivera was recognized with the Elementary Principal of the Year award recently.

In her 28th year with ECISD, she has helmed Blackshear for four years. Rivera started as a bilingual teacher and worked her way up to assistant principal and principal.