Category: Press Release

New Teaching Matters report, case studies show promise of competency-based micro-credentials for educators and schools systems

Fri, 14 Oct 2016:

October 19, 2016

Contacts: Mary Strain, mstrain@teachingmatters.org, cell 267-400-1259mstrain@teachingmatters.org

New Teaching Matters report, case studies show promise of competency-based micro-credentials for educators and schools systems

New York, NY – October 14, 2016

A new report from Teaching Matters details the promise of competency-based professional development, coupled with ‘micro-credentials,” by examining three recent experiences with this growing way to meet school systems’ needs. It also shows ways to spur greater expansion of this important approach.

Two years ago, while some professional development was being assailed as ineffective or superficial, Teaching Matters made an investment in teacher leadership and competency-based education. Micro-credentialing, or awarding “digital badges”, became the strategy to incentivize and recognize competency attainment.  This structure was paired with supports that included job-embedded coaching and feedback designed to develop teachers for leadership roles. 

“We’ve changed our practices to support teachers and teacher leaders differently,” said Lynette Guastaferro, Teaching Matters’ Executive Director. “Competency-based professional development is all about engaging learners and having them demonstrate their knowledge – it’s not passive, and it’s not about seat time. It’s about outcomes, not inputs.”

The new report – Competency-based Learning and Micro-Credentials: Powerful Lessons from Two Years in the Field – reflects upon three major Teaching Matters implementations.   

Teaching Matters initiatives were with the New York CIty school system (NYC DOE), the largest in the country, and a suburban district.  Preliminary findings show micro-credentials and competency-based professional learning are valuable for both educators and systems. Evidence of teachercompetency is important for systems seeking to create career ladders and strategically staff schools.  Micro-credentials allow teachers to select the particular competencies they wish to develop in a way that fits their own needs. Said New York City teacher Vicky Dedaj, “(This process) really empowers the teacher to drive the learning.”

Teaching Matters found there were important ways to promote micro-credentials. 

Teachers need sufficient time to complete a rigorous micro-credentialing process, and they are most willing to invest in micro-credentials when there are inducements in the form of pay or newly available roles. 

One of the implementations examined in the report, the Emerging Teacher Leaders Programshowsthe benefits of clear incentives, or “currency.”  Developed in collaboration with the NYC DOE the project provided an alternative pathway to teacher leader roles.  Candidates had to demonstrate competencies related to the role before being accepted into the pool. Sixty percent of all who began the project successfully completed the program, and 95% of those who completed the program were accepted into the teacher leader pool and given the opportunity for additional salary.  

Dr. Michael Nagler, superintendent of the Mineola Public Schools in suburban New York, finds the customizable and very specific knowledge that is imparted and assessed an attractive element: “Teachers need to be constantly updating their pedagogical practices and skills. Often this is smaller snippets of learning – not a whole course.  Micro-credentials really focus on the right “bite size” of skills that people need.  They are very efficient.”

There is another benefit to this new way of proceeding, said Guastaferro. “Micro-credentialing provides the teacher more agency because it makes the expectations very transparent. It puts the onus on the teacher to apply what he or she has learned, and demonstrate impact.This results in deeper, context-based learning and the greater likelihood the practice will stick.”

Anne Williams, Director of NYC DOE’s office of Teacher Recruitment and Quality, observed: “We did see strong potential for this  as an alternative process – one that requires evidence that educators have demonstrated competencies in critical skills and as an important strategy for supporting qualified candidates into new roles and re-qualification for existing roles.” During the 2016-17 school year, the Emerging Teacher Leaders Program that Teaching Matters conducts with the NYC DOE will grow from 191 to 300 participants.

The full report about Teaching Matters’ competency-based professional development and micro-credentialing can be downloaded here

Teaching Matters will be releasing the report at The Council of Great City Schools in Miami, where we will be discussing its findings on October 20th.

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Teaching Matters is dedicated to increasing teacher effectiveness, one of the most critical factors in student success. TeachingMatters’ services transform how educators work together at urban public schools, helping the most effective teachers develop the skills they need to lead their peers and drive school-wide improvement. They also partner with school leadership to create a work environment that equips teachers to succeed in the classroom. www.teachingmatters.org

 



National, state officials at Teaching Matters’ 8th annual Champions for Education event

Wed, 05 Oct 2016:

For immediate release

Contact: Lynette Guastaferro, 212-870-3505 ext. 5

National and state officials at Teaching Matters’ eighth annual Champions for Education luncheon urge elevating and modernizing the teaching profession

New York, NY – October 5, 2016

U.S. Department of Education official Ruthanne Buck believes that society has to “dramatically redefine opportunities for educators – particularly teachers.” She spoke today before a group of about 200 at Teaching Matters’ 8th Annual Champions of Education Luncheon, “Great Teachers, Bright Futures: Launching Tomorrow’s Leaders.”

Buck was joined by New York State Board of Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa, teacher leader Torrey Maldonado, and Lynette Guastaferro, Teaching Matters’ Executive Director. CNN’s Kelly Wallace moderated the panel.

Teaching Matters board Chair Olga Votis opened the event with an explanation of the pressing need to supply excellent teachers to U.S. public schools – and the steep road. “Too often we are fielding inadequately prepared and supported teachers,” she said. That’s in the context of an escalating shortage, with teacher preparation programs having seen a drop of about 30% in enrollments over the last eight years, and teacher-student ratios leaving many fewer adults to children. Since 2008, there are about 1 million more students, but about 200,000 fewer teachers.  

Teaching Matters is steeped in these issues. Working in schools with nearly 90% student poverty, exceeding New York City’s 80% rate, Teaching Matters schools have nevertheless been able to exceed proficiency gains for the system as a whole. Four schools were singled out as “bright lights” during the event, with gains that reached as high as 15% in English Language Arts.

The luncheon’s panelists focused on the particular challenges of recruiting and retaining teachers when they typically face flat career paths, are paid substantially less than their counterparts in other fields with similar levels of education, and when the demand for teachers is growing.

“We need to think about how to attract millenials,” said Guastaferro. Low status, low pay, few advancement opportunities, and difficult working conditions often deter them from entering or staying in teaching, she said.

Chancellor Betty A. Rosa praised the recent trend toward teacher leadership that allows teachers to maintain their classroom roles while expanding their opportunities, influence, and pay: “I’m proud of changes being made every day as a result of teachers owning changes.”

Torrey Moldanado offered a teacher leader’s perspective. A veteran sixth-grade teacher with more than sixteen years in the profession, he was counseled against going into teaching by some. But, he said, others told him “We need someone like you.”

Teaching Matters gave this year’s Champion of Education award to Buck, who is Senior Advisor to U.S. Secretary of Education John King. Buck spearheaded the nationalTeach to Lead initiative which works toward expanding teacher roles and opportunities for leadership.

Teaching Matters is part of the Teach to Lead movement, and last year partnered with the New York City Department of Education and a host of supporters to launch the first ever New York Teacher Leadership Summit. Teaching Matters is also a member of the nationalTeachStrong campaign. TeachStrong’s members have agreed to a set of nine principles that are all aimed at redressing the stature and working conditions of teachers across the country.

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Teaching Matters is a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing teacher effectiveness, one of the most critical factors in student success. Our services transform how educators work together at urban public schools, helping the most effective teachers develop the skills they need to lead their peers and drive school-wide improvement. We also partner with school leadership to create a work environment that equips teachers to succeed in the classroom. Visit www.teachingmatters.org to learn more about how we’re making a difference for students and teachers at public schools.

 


Manhattan elementary school wins $25,000 Elizabeth Rohatyn Prize

Wed, 27 Jul 2016:

For immediate release


Contacts: Naomi Cooperman, (212) 870-3505 ext. 2 

Manhattan elementary school wins $25,000 Elizabeth Rohatyn Prize to support teacher-generated collaboration initiative

New York, NY – July 21, 2016


The sixth annual $25,000 Elizabeth Rohatyn Prize for Schools Where Teaching Matters was awarded on July 20th to P.S. 9, the Sarah Anderson School, serving K-5 students. Their “Peer Collaboration Initiative,” teacher generated and led, has swept the school in just one year with nearly all P.S. 9 teachers participating.


Ilene Altschul, Superintendent of District 3 where the school is located, said the award would help P.S. 9 “enhance professional development, creating teacher leaders, building capacity, and then sharing it with schools across the district. P.S. 9 is an exemplary school and we’re really excited for them to continue to grow.”


Assistant Principal Joanna Freeman from P.S. 9 is enthusiastic. “One thing that I think is amazing about it is that it did come out of the teachers wanting to work together, and look at each other as point people and grow from each other.”


Teaching Matters’ Executive Director Lynette Guastaferro, praising the excellent field of contenders for this year’s prize, echoed the theme of teacher led collaborative work. “Each of the five finalists for this year’s award nurture teacher led work and teacher leadership,” she said. Superintendent Michael Nagler of the Mineola School District used sports as a telling analogy, stressing the importance of not only teamwork, but peer coaching, to bring out the best in all players, or teachers, in the field.


Initially, applicants for the 2016 Rohatyn Prize were drawn from New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Connecticut. P.S. 9 was one of five finalists in this year’s highly competitive field. The five finalists included: Abraham Lincoln High School, Brooklyn, NY, Principal Ari A. Hoogenboom; IS 5 – Walter H. Crowley School of Leadership, Queens, NY, Principal Kelly Nepogoda; MS 137 – America’s School of Heroes, Ozone Park, NY, Principal Laura Mastrogiovanni; PS 9 – Manhattan, NY. Principal Katherine Witzke; and Urban Assembly School for Applied Math and Science, Bronx, NY. Principal David Krulwich.


The selection process for the Elizabeth Rohatyn Prize relies upon a panel of judges for the initial choice of ten semifinalists, a public vote for the finalists, and the panel naming the winner. The impartial selection committee included: Antonio Freitas, Deputy Director, Early Childhood Division, Children’s Aid Society; Karen DeMoss, ‎Director, Sustainable Funding Project at Bank Street College of Education; Paul Kehoe, teacher, MS 250/West Side Collaborative, the first school to win the Rohatyn Prize; Regina Tottenham, Principal, The Brooklyn Transition Center, P373K, 2015 Rohatyn Prize winner.


The Elizabeth Rohatyn Prize honors a school within 100 miles of New York City that has made significant efforts to advance teacher capacity and effectiveness, and help teacher lead, learn, and thrive. The prize recipient receives a one-time award that may be used to support expansion and replication of the initiative described in its submission.


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Teaching Matters is dedicated to increasing teacher effectiveness, one of the most critical factors in student success. Teaching Matters’ services transform how educators work together at urban public schools, helping the most effective teachers develop the skills they need to lead their peers and drive school-wide improvement. They also partner with school leadership to create a work environment that equips teachers to succeed in the classroom.

 

 

 



Teachers from across New York will kick off state’s first-ever summit to elevate the teaching profession; Chancellor Carmen Fariña and UFT head Michael Mulgrew to speak

Fri, 03 Jun 2016:

As a result of a rapidly growing teacher leadership movement, Teaching Matters, the New York City Department of Education, the United Federation of Teachers, ASCD, and a broad array of partners have joined together to launch the inaugural New York Teacher Leadership Summit: Powered by Teach to Lead® this month. Teach to Lead is an initiative jointly convened by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, ASCD, and the U.S. Department of Education, with the mission to advance student outcomes by expanding opportunities for teacher leadership.

The summit will empower teachers from across the state to use their expertise and experience to elevate the teaching profession and drive change in New York schools. Elevating the teaching profession is a core aim of the summit. New York City has already made an unprecedented investment in new teacher leadership roles – the current teacher contract between the New York City Department of Education and the United Federation of Teachers provides structure and support for more than 1,000 teacher leaders in public schools across the city.


Lynette Guastaferro, Executive Director of Teaching Matters, says "I am thrilled at the big tent of organizations that have come together to support teachers to lead in their profession.” 

Amy Way, Executive Director of Teacher Recruitment and Quality at the New York City Department of Education, adds, “Teachers receiving the support and professional development to strengthen their craft must be at the center of any efforts to improve instruction and achievement in the classroom. Teacher leadership is an important and innovative tool in this critical work, and New York City is excited to be participating in this work.”  

The two-day summit is drawing teams of teachers from all over the state. These teams will spend the bulk of their time at the summit refining initiatives they have designed, and then take them back to their schools with developed action plans. Partner organizations will mentor and give feedback to teams as they incubate their ideas. Teacher reviewers have selected 20 participating teams based on proposals submitted.


New York City schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña and UFT President Michael Mulgrew will share remarks. In addition to offering a broad perspective about teacher leadership and its growth, speakers at the event – many of whom are current teachers – will address New York City’s reforms to achieve equity and excellence across all public schools.

Teaching Matters is hosting and organizing the summit and financial support for the summit was provided to ASCD by The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. The roster of partners backing the event also includes, among others, the UFT; America Achieves; Arizona K-12 Center, Discovery Education, Educators4Excellence;  Eskolta; the Literacy Design Collaborative; and the New Teacher Center.

The summit will be held at 475 Riverside Drive in New York City, Friday, June 17, 8:30am – 5:30pm, and Saturday, June 18, 9:00am – 3:00pm. There will be a press availability Friday evening at 5:30 during the event’s reception.

“The U.S. has learned the hard way that until we respect and position teachers to be change agents in this profession, we won’t make the kind of progress for education we need,” said Guastaferro.

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Teaching Matters is dedicated to increasing teacher effectiveness, one of the most critical factors in student success. Teaching Matters’ services transform how educators work together at urban public schools, helping the most effective teachers develop the skills they need to lead their peers and drive school-wide improvement. They also partner with school leadership to create a work environment that equips teachers to succeed in the classroom.



Teaching Matters talks about micro-credentials and teacher leadership at Learning Forward conference, 12/7

Fri, 04 Dec 2015:

Media Advisory

Contact: Sharon Rubinstein, srubinstein@teachingmatters.org, 212-870-3505 ext. 8, 703-901-7947

TEACHING MATTERS TO TALK ABOUT MICRO-CREDENTIALS AND TEACHER LEADERSHIP AT LEARNING FORWARD CONFERENCE, 12-7

What: Teaching Matters will discuss its competency –based learning approach, micro-credentialing, and building effective teacher leadership in urban schools. The session is part of the national Learning Forward Conference which brings together thousands of educators, thought leaders, and policy makers.

Who:     Naomi Cooperman,  Director of Program Design,Teaching Matters

Jen Gleason, Senior Educational Consultant, Teaching Matters

George Esposito, social studies teacher, IS 228 David A. Boody, Brooklyn, NY

When:  Monday, December 7, morning session, 9:30-11:30 AM

Where: Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, 201 Waterfront Street, National Harbor, MD 20745; session room is Chesapeake K

Why: Micro-credentials are a strategic tool for helping to build and sustain teacher leadership initiatives. This approach grounds the development of teacher leaders in critical competencies based on the Teacher Leader Model Standards.  Coupled with strategic mentoring, the content and methodology helps schools and districts in their path toward distributed leadership, promotes transparency for planning, and aids in retaining talent. 

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Teaching Matters is a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing teacher effectiveness, one of the most critical factors in student success. Our services transform how educators work together at urban public schools, helping the most effective teachers develop the skills they need to lead their peers and drive school-wide improvement. We also partner with school leadership to create a work environment that equips teachers to succeed in the classroom. From nearly 20 years of working in New York City’s public schools, we’ve developed an understanding of realistic and lasting ways to improve student outcomes, and we’re committed to real, measurable results. Visit www.teachingmatters.org to learn more about how we’re making a difference for students and teachers at public schools.



Panelists urge multi-front solutions to combat effects of poverty on school children

Thu, 22 Oct 2015:

New York, NY – October 21, 2015

New York Deputy Mayor Richard Buery rues the polarization and “toxic” politics that often mark discussions about how to help children living in poverty get the education they deserve. But today, he was part of a solution-oriented session – at Teaching Matters’ 7th Annual Champions of Innovation and Education Luncheon – that yielded much agreement about the depth of the problem, and available remedies.  

The deputy mayor was joined by former principal Kamar Samuels, Senior Director for Special Initiatives and Partnerships in the NYCDOE Office of School Design and Charter Partnerships, and Lynette Guastaferro, Teaching Matters’ Executive Director, who for two years led Teaching Matters’ NYCDOE network of 27 schools. CNN’s Kelly Wallace moderated the panel.

A common theme was the holistic nature of the challenge poverty presents, affecting everything from health, to safety, to the vocabulary children have when they first arrive at school. Universal Pre-K, beefed up support to teachers engaged in early education, after-school opportunities, and community schools are all part of the solution mix.

Kamar Samuels called the need to meet students’ educational needs “the civil rights issue of our time.” During his years as a principal of a Bronx middle school, he saw a 4-fold increase in the number of homeless students, from about 25 in temporary housing when he began his tenure, to 105 this past year. To address the burgeoning needs, he says teachers need to have time to work as teams, looking at the precise adjustments necessary to help their students learn.

Guastaferro also stressed the importance of teaching excellence in closing the overall opportunity gap, and she noted that the challenge for high poverty schools is intense, because they have more turnover and less experienced staff than their wealthier counterparts. She warned against a “blame the teacher” approach, saying instead that “There are systems for supporting kids, and there are systems for supporting teachers.” She mentioned the importance of developing teacher leadership within buildings, so that teachers with the most expertise can spread their knowledge, and have career ladders that boost teacher retention.

Teaching Matters gave this year’s Champion of Innovation and Education award to Buery, who is Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives. Buery spearheaded New York City’s Universal Pre-K initiative, and as former leader of the Children’s Aid Society, was instrumental in developing community schools around New York.

Nationally, the percentage of children in public schools from low-income homes is now over 50%. In New York City public schools, about 80% of students are economically disadvantaged. The schools in which Teaching Matters works have even greater numbers of impoverished students. The percentage of homeless students has skyrocketed, up over 60% in the last four years, now reaching 84,000.

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Teaching Matters is a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing teacher effectiveness, one of the most critical factors in student success. Our services transform how educators work together at urban public schools, helping the most effective teachers develop the skills they need to lead their peers and drive school-wide improvement. We also partner with school leadership to create a work environment that equips teachers to succeed in the classroom. From nearly 20 years of working in New York City’s public schools, we’ve developed an understanding of realistic and lasting ways to improve student outcomes, and we’re committed to real, measurable results. Visit www.teachingmatters.org to learn more about how we’re making a difference for students and teachers at public schools.



Teaching Matters Uses Positive Results from Independent Pilot Study of its Flagship Program, Teaching for Impact, to Chart Path Ahead

Mon, 03 Feb 2014:

For immediate release
Contact: Sharon Rubinstein, 212-870-3505, ext. 8, cell 703-901-7947, srubinstein@teachingmatters.org

Teaching Matters Uses Positive Results from Independent Pilot Study of its Flagship Program, Teaching for Impact, to Chart Path Ahead

(New York, NY) – February 3, 2014

Teaching Matters is learning as it goes along – and bringing the benefits to schools around the city. An independent evaluation of its Teaching for Impact (TFI) program pilot produced positive results newly documented in a report, and Teaching Matters has already implemented changes suggested by the study’s findings.

TFI rests upon the premise that content-specific teacher teams analyzing and acting upon student assessments, when supported by coaches or learning team leaders, will improve teacher effectiveness and student outcomes.

One key to success: closely adhering to the program, which provides a blueprint for team composition and operations. Where the model was most faithfully followed, results on student performance and teacher satisfaction were best.

“It’s notoriously difficult to make sweeping conclusions from small samples,” said Barbara Storandt, the study’s author and principal of ALTA Solutions Group. “Nevertheless, the evaluation points the way to practices that really matter, and that Teaching Matters is implementing.”

Two-thirds of teachers participating in year-end focus groups specifically connected the Teaching for Impact program to sudden and profound increases in student understanding, citing informal classroom assessments or in-class observations as evidence. Moreover, although all New York City schools had sharp declines on the 2013 Common Core-aligned New York State math and ELA tests, many students at schools with the highest functioning Teaching for Impact inquiry teams overtook the scores or increased an existing lead in the scores over students in the same grades at their peer schools, in 2013 as compared to 2012.

“These results are very promising in a pilot study,” said Storandt.

The Teaching for Impact program aims to increase teacher effectiveness and student performance with an approach that is both flexible and comprehensive. It gives schools and teachers a systematic support structure that includes: curriculum and assessment support, building teacher teams, and leadership development.

Teaching Matters works shoulder-to-shoulder in schools, most urban and high need, helping ease
the demanding transition to Common Core alignment. “We want teachers in tough circumstances
to get what they need, so they can deliver what students need,” said Lynette Guastaferro, Teaching
Matters’ Executive Director.

Here’s what teachers have said about Teaching for Impact:

“Using data to guide student instruction has been amazing. I love being able to look at the pre and
post assessments to help re-teach students topics that were not mastered. It seems to be working
because student scores increased from about 30% in solving equations with fractional coefficients
to about 60%” – 8th grade math teacher

“I like the way we operate: the procedures, the protocols; I feel that everyone has a chance to
speak and be heard. I feel that every idea is considered, and this is how we learn and grow as
teachers.” – 7th grade ELA teacher

“We’ve been refining our approach for nearly 20 years, and have made changes over the years to
accommodate what we’ve learned,” said Guastaferro. “We are delighted that this new research
validates how we’ve been proceeding, and points the way forward.”



Statement of Lynette Guastaferro, Executive Director of Teaching Matters, Re: The State of the State

Wed, 08 Jan 2014:

We applaud the education priorities outlined by Governor Cuomo in his State of the State address. We are particularly heartened by the Teacher Excellence Fund, which would offer up to $20,000 additional money per year to eligible highly effective teachers. Teachers are the single most important school-related factor in the quality of a student’s education, and this reward is a positive step toward retaining the best educators. We are also in full support of the Governor’s early education initiatives.