By Emily Ayscue Hassel and Bryan Hassel, first published by The 74, February 13, 2018
In survey after survey, teachers report dissatisfaction with the professional development they receive. Many aren’t satisfied with their professional learning communities or coaching opportunities. Read More…
By Sharon Kebschull Barrett, January 11, 2018
Students in classrooms of team teachers led by “multi-classroom leaders” showed sizeable academic gains, according to a new study from the American Institutes for Research and the Brookings Institution. Read More…
When you’re not sure where to start, ask your students! Well, not always, but when I came to Charlotte, North Carolina’s James Martin Middle School as a multi-classroom leader in 2014, I felt overwhelmed. I started as the MCL for sixth grade, where for the previous three years the students had been experiencing negative learning […]
What does the start of a school turnaround look like? When Mark Johnson left West Charlotte High School as his Teach for America stint ended, he likely could not have imagined a bright future for the school. I arrived a year later, in 2009. The high-poverty, highly segregated school was struggling, and I stayed only […]
When I became a multi-classroom leader for the exceptional children’s (EC’s) team, I expected to be able to use my 15 years of experience as an EC teacher and dean of students to coach teachers, especially special education teachers, and help them grow. But I quickly discovered that the people who needed support the most […]
What makes blended learning different in an Opportunity Culture? As two pioneering high school teachers in North Carolina show in new vignettes, blended learning gives them a tool to reach 40 to 100 percent more students per class period with great teaching. Students alternated days between classroom instruction with their blended-learning teacher and working from […]
Curious about the impact of an Opportunity Culture? We’ve just updated our dashboard, as we will every year, with the latest statistics. Such as: 110+ schools at 17 sites in 7 states—and growing 34,000+ students taught by teachers extending their reach—a 50 percent increase from 2015–16 1,250+ teachers with advanced roles or on-the-job development—a 50 […]
After 26 years of teaching, I was the model of a traditional teacher. Class began with review, then new material and cooperative or independent work, then closure. But two years ago, intrigued by my district’s request that I pioneer an Opportunity Culture biology blended-learning class, extending my reach to more students (and for more pay), […]
Fifty-nine percent of Opportunity Culture schools in North Carolina exceeded student growth expectations in 2015–16, more than double the percentage of N.C. schools overall at just 28 percent, according to school performance data the state released September 2.
“What does ‘teacher voice’ actually mean? Until this year, it sounded like a nice phrase, but it didn’t hold much meaning for me.
“But I have a job I love, one that shakes up traditional teaching and holds the promise of making a huge difference in students’ and teachers lives—as it did for my students. I wanted to spread the word about my job—and now, with positions like mine under threat at my school, I needed to find my voice. I needed to empower others to explore the idea of an Opportunity Culture.”
–Nashville, Tenn., Math Multi-Classroom Leader Karen Wolfson, in Raising My Teacher Voice to Save My Job–and My Students’ Success
Last year, as the multi-classroom leader for fifth- and sixth-grade math at Bailey STEM Magnet Middle School, a high-poverty, historically low-performing school, Karen Wolfson took her teaching team and their students to new heights:
“Our school had the highest level of growth in the entire district in math in grades three through eight. My team’s two teachers overcame the long odds that the previous year’s data predicted they would face. In one grade, we were projected to have just 12 students rank as proficient or advanced. We ended the year with 43. We saw similar results in the other grade. Both teachers ended the year with the highest level of teacher effectiveness and evaluation scores.
“These teachers were new to the district, its protocols, and the Tennessee state standards, and one was a first-year teacher. Their results were practically unheard of—but under the MCL model, they felt supported and successful.”
But a coming merger of her school with a high school threatens to do away with the MCL model that Karen feels passionate about.
“I can’t let MCL positions disappear. I want to see my district provide many, many more opportunities like mine. And that’s why I took the idea of “teacher voice” very seriously—and what I found was just how powerful my voice can be.”