Staffing shortages have plagued some schools for decades. How can innovative staffing designs help—and boost learning? Innovative staffing means thinking differently about instructional roles and available funding to improve academics, creating new career options for teachers and addressing persistent teaching vacancies. The Opportunity Culture initiative offers schools new tools to address staffing shortages, including high-paying advanced roles, improved support for new teachers, and staffing models that do not require filling every teacher vacancy to ensure that students have access to excellent instruction.
Multi-classroom leaders find unique niche
From OA Online, May 22, 2022
Interested in making a larger impact, Karen Vicory at Wilson & Young Medal of Honor Middle School and Sydney Garcia at Pease Elementary made the leap from classroom teachers to multi-classroom leaders. The position, through Opportunity Culture, gives them a chance to teach in the classroom and mentor their peers.
Ector County ISD Executive Director for Talent Development Ashley Osborne said the district has 49 MCLs at 17 elementary, middle and high school campuses. Campuses perform a redesign of their Opportunity Culture plan every year where they can determine the structure of Opportunity Culture based on campus need, data and context. “Next year, we are looking to add around 20 additional MCLs. Additionally, we will have 20 campuses utilizing the Opportunity Culture model,” Osborne said in an email.
How Opportunity Culture Redesigns Help Address Teacher Shortages
By Public Impact, April 7, 2022
What if you could improve student outcomes even in a time of rising teacher shortages?
Many schools and districts report feeling stuck on the hamster wheel of trying to fill all their open positions. This struggle has been worsening for years. According to one report, the share of schools that tried to fill a vacancy but couldn’t tripled from 2011 to 2016, from 3.1 percent to 9.4 percent, and the share of schools that reported that it was “very difficult” to fill a vacancy nearly doubled, from 19.7 percent to 36.2 percent. Those vacancies directly harm students’ learning.
What could take weary principals out of chronic emergency hiring mode? A chance to rethink staffing to give students excellent instruction using the number of adults a school has. Read More…
Losing our teachers: High turnover, shortages, burnout are a problem for our schools and children
From Northern Kentucky Tribune, February 21, 2022, by Jan Hillard
Every year our schools face the persistent problem of teachers deciding not to return to their schools. Over half a million teachers leave or change schools each year. Schools that serve lower income students often see turnover rates that are 50% greater than other schools. In addition, non-retention rates are 70% greater for math and science teachers.
High turnover rates present significant costs for schools. Nationally, the problem of teacher non-retention costs upwards of $8.5 billion each year. The Learning Policy Institute estimates that teacher turnover costs school districts $20-30,000 for every teacher who leaves the district. Non-retention, coupled with the cost of new recruitment, can total 150% of a departing teacher’s salary.
Quick Take: Two MCLs’ Pandemic Tools to Monitor Student Understanding
By Sharon Kebschull Barrett, February 23, 2021
Although Nikki Glenn, a first-year MCL, and her team of four fifth-grade teachers at Falkener Elementary got to rejoin their students in the classroom for in-person learning in January (with one teaching children who chose to remain virtual), the tools they relied on last semester continue to prove their value.
Glenn’s team worked hard throughout the fall to determine how to effectively monitor students’ understanding and progress from a distance—useful still in socially distanced classrooms. Read more…
Quick Take: Leading Opportunity Culture at the State Level
By Sharon Kebschull Barrett, February 17, 2021
How does it work to lead Opportunity Culture from the state level? I spoke recently with Kelly McLaughlin, who leads the Opportunity Culture state initiative in the Division of Elementary & Secondary Education within the Arkansas Department of Education, to get the scoop on the benefits to districts when the state takes the lead to spread Opportunity Culture (OC) implementation. McLaughlin took this role in August 2020, after more than 20 years as an English teacher and literacy facilitator and five years in other areas of the state department.
“It is our hope, at least from my perspective, to increase teacher retention and recruitment in the state by meeting equitable goals, and we believe we can reach these goals by increasing and growing OC throughout the state so that all students will have equitable access to effective teachers,” McLaughlin said. Read more…
Midland, Texas, Educators Highlight Early Opportunity Culture Impact
By Paola Gilliam, January 21, 2021
Midway through its first year of Opportunity Culture implementation, the Midland, Texas, school district shared Opportunity Culture impacts so far with its school board on Tuesday.
“Opportunity Culture brings our teachers together, and it provides them the courage that is contagious in the classrooms we have,” Chris Hightower, the district’s Opportunity Culture lead, told the board. He introduced an Opportunity Culture principal, multi-classroom leader (MCL), and former teacher resident turned first-year teacher to share brief thoughts. Read more…
Despite Challenges, Educators Gave Us Plenty To Be Thankful For
By Paola Gilliam, November 25, 2020
This year has been unrelentingly difficult in many ways, yet educators have repeatedly risen to the occasion. Faced with events—a pandemic, political uncertainty, protests against racial injustice, and more—that have left many of us feeling overwhelmed, educators have been a beacon of hope in their communities through their continued support for their fellow educators, students, and families. We are thankful for educators who have shown compassion, innovation, and determination throughout an incredibly challenging year. Read more…
Opportunity Culture: Teaching, Leading, Learning
By Public Impact, November 18, 2020
Why and how should you use Opportunity Culture? Watch our two-part video to get the scoop!
What barriers keep teachers and students from experiencing great support and strong learning outcomes? Part 1 highlights barriers that an Opportunity Culture can remove.
Part 2 details how an Opportunity Culture provides on-the-job, consistent support for all teachers to reach many more students with excellence, learn more, and earn more!
Watch the videos here.
In a Texas Opportunity Culture District, MCLs and Reach Associates Build Partnerships
By Sharon Kebschull Barrett, November 11, 2020
After more than two decades in education, including stints teaching kindergarten and English as a second language, Elizabeth Fernandez had settled into a district role as a data specialist for teaching and learning—until the multi-classroom leader (MCL) role offered her the chance to lead while returning to the classroom.
“When you’re in central office, it’s great, and you do lots of great things,” Fernandez said, “but when you’re at a campus, there’s just an energy and a love—it’s just the kids. I love these kids.”
But the appeal of working directly with kids again would not have been enough on its own, she said. Read more…