For those with a finger on the pulse of the state of education reform in U.S., Kaya Henderson is likely a familiar name. Heading what has been perhaps one of the most closely watched districts of the last decade, Kaya Henderson has served as Chancellor of the District of Columbia’s Public Schools for an outstanding six years. And as of Saturday, October, 1st, she has stepped down from her post.
We here at Leading Educators are deeply saddened by the violence that took place over the past week in Baton Rouge, St. Paul, and Dallas. The senseless deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and the 5 police officers in Dallas only underscore the deep racial divide that continues to plague our communities and, ultimately, our democracy.
NEW ORLEANS, July 7, 2016 – Leading Educators has received a $300,000 commitment from Baptist Community Ministries (BCM) to support the instructional leadership development of teacher leaders across Greater New Orleans over the next two years...
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 CorporationThe 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.
In April, Leading Educators took seven Fellows to England in partnership with Teaching Leaders UK and the British Council. The trip followed an earlier visit to New Orleans by several teacher leaders from the United Kingdom.
The exchange is sponsored by the British Council with the intention of teacher leaders sharing best practices, learning from observing each others' schools and classrooms and from discussing their roles. Many of our attending teacher leaders wrote short pieces on their experiences during the trip. We plan to publish all of these perspectives, starting with Bridget Cantrell, Elementary Instructional Coordinator at Ott Elementary in Kansas City. Bridget published a blog of her own to share her trip with her school:
Day #2 Such a big world, yet a common mission!
I can't help but listen to the UK team and learn about their education structure and think we have a common mission; to educate all students to the highest level that they can possible attain in order to improve our society and quality of life for each and every student.
Most of the day was gaining knowledge of the English structure of education and the historical aspect of educational change and reform. I think I was most impressed by the accountability system description by Barry who is a Teaching Leader coach and OLFSTED evaluator. OLFSTED is the accountability function run by the government. I connected this to our MSIP 5 accountability but layered with a site visit. The spirit of accountability was represented by a true spirit of growth for each student.
The thought of Middle Leaders has brought much traction to recent UK thinking. Middle Leaders are vital to the grass roots effort of change within a school. OFSTED even recognizes the impact of these folks in the improvement process and has designated look fors during site visits. I can't feel excited to think about the defined support roles of teacher leaders in the trenches and yet serving as support to colleagues and Principals. I think this is an undefined role in the US, a thankless, unrecognized silent leadership role. I can't help but wonder why we don't recognize these practitioners in a formal leadership role.
You can read the rest of this post and find Bridget's other posts here: http://bcantrellle.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/such-big-world-yet-common-mission-cant.html
by Jeff Fouquet, Leading Educators Fellow in Kansas City, Cohort 2012
As a classroom teacher and aspiring administrator, I love borrowing ideas from great teachers and effective schools. During my two-year teacher-leader fellowship, Leading Educators has offered me countless opportunities to evaluate and improve my educational impact, but one of the most eye-opening experiences in all of my Fellowship has been the School Visits Trip (SVT) to Chicago last winter.
Visiting schools in communities much more diverse and disadvantaged than my own helped me see that everywhere, regardless of how they are portrayed, children are children, and they will respond positively to the efforts and support of tireless, caring adults. Witnessing schools that have instituted strong rituals of “community” or “celebration” helped me think about what my own building and district were doing to associate learning with pride and a shared sense of success. Similarly, having my knock on each classroom door greeted by a young student who stepped into the hallway, shook my hand, told me what class it was and the topic of the lesson before asking if I had any questions was pivotal in my rethinking of who owns the classroom and whose space it is. More than any other investigation of effective educational cultures, the SVT proved to me that in the best schools, even the small decisions reflect a deeply held conviction that every student can experience remarkable academic growth.
As the next SVT approaches, I am excited for all the great learning and growth the new cohort of Leading Educators will experience—so excited, in fact, that I am going with them, to New Orleans this year, to see if I can learn even more from those teachers and schools. Although there are no perfect models, each exposure to new ideas challenges teachers and administrators to revise their own measures of success – and that is the attitude that any enterprise seeking continuous improvement requires.