Teacher Leader Fellowship

RAND Report Shows Early Signs of Success in Leading Educators Fellowship

Today the RAND Corporation released the first stage of a multi-year study on the Leading Educators Fellowship program. This initial report examines the effects of our Fellowship programs in Kansas City and New Orleans on leadership growth, student achievement, and teacher retention. 

The results of the report suggest that the Leading Educators Fellowship improves leadership skills in teacher leaders, shows promise in positively impacting student achievement, and helps retain teachers in high-poverty schools. Below is the press release from RAND, which can also be found here:

Program to Improve School Outcomes and Student Achievement Shows Early Signs of Success

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

A program intended to boost student achievement by providing teachers two years of professional development, including formal training sessions and meetings with a leadership coach, is showing early signs of success, according to a new RAND Corporation report. The program also includes the mentoring of other teachers by those receiving these more-intensive efforts.

The fellowship program created by Leading Educators, a national nonprofit based in New Orleans, is showing promising results on student achievement, according to a preliminary evaluation of the effort. The program is unique because it focuses on middle-career teachers, while other efforts typically focus on new teachers, and offers leadership development for classroom teachers.

The fellows participate in a two-year training program consisting of a series of professional development sessions, school visits and meetings with a leadership coach. Fellows can be teachers as well as school administrators. In addition, fellows select other teachers to mentor at their own school. The teachers mentored by the fellows participate in meetings and workshops throughout the school year.

The findings are based on the 2011–12 through 2013–14 school years for fellows and the teachers they mentor located in New Orleans and Kansas City, Mo. Over the study period, there were 255 fellows and 916 teachers mentored. The RAND study focused on teachers that researchers were able to match to state databases for student assessment test scores, which included 75 fellows and 438 mentored teachers.

“Since the leader development program may influence students of the fellows or the other teachers they mentor, our team examined achievement outcomes from students across this wider group,” said Kata Mihaly, the report's lead author and an economist at RAND, a nonprofit research organization.

These early findings of the program are mixed, but suggest that the program shows promise in improving student achievement. Fellows who taught mathematics in New Orleans had a statistically significant positive effect on student achievement. However, the analysis did not find statistically significant findings for other subjects taught by fellows in New Orleans or Kansas City. Teachers mentored by fellows had a positive impact on student mathematics and social studies achievement in New Orleans.

The analysis also examined whether teachers are more likely to stay in the same school or stay teaching in high-poverty schools after participating in the program. Program teachers remained in high-poverty schools at rates that were similar to or higher than that of other teachers in the district.

Researchers note the current results are based on few years of data and on a small sample of teachers, and results may change when there are more fellows and mentored teachers included in future studies. Prior to the evaluation being completed, Leading Educators expanded the fellowship program, with opportunities to participate in Memphis, Tenn., and Washington, D.C.

Support for this research was provided by Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, and the Walton Family Foundation.

The report, “Examining the Early Impacts of the Leading Educators Fellowship on Student Achievement and Teacher Retention,” is available at www.rand.org. Other authors of the study are Benjamin Master and Cate Yoon.

This research was conducted by RAND Education, a division of the RAND Corporation. Its mission is to bring accurate data and careful, objective analysis to the national debate on education policy.

 

About the RAND Corporation

The RAND Corporation is a research organization that develops solutions to public policy challenges to help make communities throughout the world safer and more secure, healthier and more prosperous.

Press Release: DUNCAN RECOGNIZES TEACHER LEADER IMPACT ON STUDENT SUCCESS

U.S. Secretary of Education Hosts Roundtable with Members of New Orleans Teacher Leader Program

NEW ORLEANS – December 9, 2014 – U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will meet with Leading Educators Fellows at Arthur Ashe Charter School to hear from teacher leaders about what it takes to be successful and what further support schools, states, and the Department of Education can offer. As part of the Secretary’s Teach to Lead initiative to promote teacher leadership, Duncan will share a roundtable with five Leading Educators Teacher Leader Fellows and their principals, two of whom are alumni of the New Leaders program, in New Orleans Thursday afternoon. A parent from each school will sit in on the discussion.

“Strong school leadership has been crucial to the progress seen in New Orleans schools. I applaud organizations like Leading Educators and New Leaders that prepare teachers and principals to do this incredibly challenging – but critical – work,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “Great school leadership makes great teaching possible and helps ensure that every student graduates prepared for college, careers and life.”

Secretary Duncan will ask the roundtable participants to share stories of success and challenge in working to support and develop both their students and their colleagues. Teacher leaders and their principals, several of whom are alumni of the Leading Educators Fellowship, will join the roundtable from Arthur Ashe Charter School, ReNEW Dolores T. Aaron Academy, Samuel Green Charter School, New Orleans Charter Science and Math High School, and KIPP Believe College Prep.

“Secretary Duncan’s visit signifies the administration’s commitment to understanding experiences of teacher leaders and the impact of a national movement of educators who seek to support and develop their students and their colleagues,” said Chief Executive Officer Jonas Chartock.

Leading Educators is an official partner of the national Teach to Lead initiative, which seeks to expand opportunities for teacher leadership. The organization has been working with teacher leaders in New Orleans since 2008 and remains headquartered in the city.

“It’s only fitting that Secretary Duncan is looking to New Orleans for examples of model teacher leadership – teacher leaders are a significant force in the improvement of the city’s schools,” said Greater New Orleans Executive Director Julie Bourgeois. “Our teacher leaders have led initiatives that have had a real impact on student learning and school culture.”


Leading Educators works to advance teachers’ leadership skills and opportunities, building a national movement to ensure all students have the opportunity to succeed in school and life.

Teach to Lead is an initiative jointly convened by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and the U.S. Department of Education to advance student outcomes by expanding opportunities for teacher leadership, particularly those that allow teachers to stay in the classroom.

Teacher-Leaders in Ireland: Lessons on Adult Culture

Recently two of our Fellowship alumnae and our Executive Director from the Greater New Orleans region visited Ireland, touring schools and meeting with members of the Northern Ireland Department of Education to learn about their system and the avenues for teacher-leadership. The trip was a reciprocal visit after several Irish and British teacher-leaders visited New Orleans last year as part of an exchange program facilitated by the British Council.

Alumna Meghan Mekita wrote some of her key observations about adult leadership in the schools she visited. Later this week, she will have a follow-up post on student leadership.

by Meghan Mekita, Leading Educators Fellow in New Orleans, Cohort 2012


Leading Educators teacher-leaders visiting a school in Ireland.

It has been one week since we returned from Belfast-just enough time to recover from jet lag and allow all that we learned to marinate a bit.

My greatest challenge in looking for best practices in Northern Ireland was reconciling the differences we in New Orleans have in terms of culture, race, and socioeconomic status. A school with 98% of students receiving free or reduced lunch was unheard of amongst the educators we spoke with. Belfast has had struggles aside from poverty, however.

Since “the troubles” ended about ten years ago, Northern Ireland is experiencing a heightened level of political correctness.

People are kind or at least cordial to one another, and discrimination is no longer institutionalized as it was, but no one seems to be talking about their differences either. The solution to the loyalist/nationalist or Protestant/Catholic divide was to separate children based on their religion. As a result, all public schools in Northern Ireland have a religious background. They are either Catholic, Protestant, or from a relatively new category called “integrated”. Students can still choose which school they wish to attend, until they reach age 11, when most students take a test to try to gain acceptance to a selective high school.

Most towns have one selective and one non-selective school.

We were definitely surprised to see prayer happen in almost every school we visited, but we also found many similarities between our system and the Irish system, and many practices to borrow.

Though we are working ourselves to the bone in New Orleans to establish schools that develop new and veteran teachers as much as possible, we are disadvantaged by the newness of our establishments. My most significant take-away was something I learned from Ian Collen at Ballyclare High School. Mr. Collen manages a staff development program that has the benefit of being 20 years in the making. His work is to direct new staff members along a pathway of mentorship, certification, career advancement, and intellectual discovery. All first year teachers spend three years in an adjustment period where they are mentored and monitored. After the three years are up, teachers are required to participate in content-based professional development through outside programs. Mr. Collen searches for teacher exchange programs, grants for teachers to travel abroad, and graduate degree programs that he can share with the staff.

My reflection is that in New Orleans, we need to develop plans within each charter network or school system to promote long-term teacher growth and longevity in the profession. Creating a map graphic of this plan and sharing it with new teachers would send the message that we value teaching as a profession and that our goal is to see teachers move through the system to positions of leadership.