reach associate

How Innovative Staffing Can Address Teacher Shortages, Permanently—and Boost Learning

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.

Sneak Peek: Opportunity Culture® Educators Speak

By Sharon Kebschull Barrett, May 26, 2022

The communications team at Public Impact had the pleasure of visiting several districts this spring, for the first time since Covid hit, to interview Opportunity Culture educators and document their great work! We heard about their challenges and successes—what we learn in these interviews informs the guidance and support Public Impact provides to districts—and their opinions of Opportunity Culture roles and implementation.

Watch for stories and video clips highlighting specifics of their implementation and leadership and instructional practices in future months, but for now, here are a few of their thoughts to send us into summer:

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…

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…

How one educator used a paraprofessional role to become a stronger teacher

By Sharon Kebschull Barrett; first published by EducationNC, August 18, 2020

Delmonika Vick always wanted to be a teacher, and she got an education degree. But other opportunities kept coming along, and she found herself in corporate banking for four years — only to realize, several years in, what a struggle it was to go to work each day.

“I didn’t have any sense of fulfillment — I didn’t feel like I was making a difference,” Vick said. “I knew that I was supposed to teach, then — I knew that I had to pursue education.”

An Edgecombe County, North Carolina native, Vick intended to go straight into a classroom teaching role, until a chance meeting with Principal Donnell Cannon led to an offer to be a reach associate (RA) at North Edgecombe High. Read more…

From Reach Associate to Classroom Teacher

Delmonika Vick, a math teacher at North Edgecombe High School in Tarboro, NC, says being a reach associate for two years—a role she loved—prepared her to be a stronger teacher.