A child in public school can expect to have more than 100 teachers over the course of his or her preK-12 experience. We know that a great teacher will advance that student two or more grade levels for every year of instruction; a good teacher one to two grade levels for every year of instruction. We also know that teachers who fall below standard can actually have a negative impact on student growth.
Here’s something you may not know:
• Nearly 20 percent of MCS teachers leave after their first year
• More than 40 percent leave within three years.
• Of those who remain, we estimate a majority are currently performing below the new minimum expectations set by the State of Tennessee.
Improved support and development at all phases of a teacher's career will help address many of our challenges, but we cannot hope to create an exemplary teaching force if we do not make smarter decisions about who teaches our children all along the way.
1. Improve recruitment and hiring of “high potential” teachers
We have bolstered our teacher pipeline by better leveraging existing partnerships that specialize in recruiting and staffing teachers for urban school systems.
2. Raise the bar and improve the process for granting tenure
Working within our current policy and legal frameworks, we are developing a robust tenure process that is aligned to our new Teacher Effectiveness Measure.
3. Increase retention of effective teachers, particularly early in their careers
We will bolster efforts to retain our best teachers through the early years of their teaching careers when they are mostly likely to leave.
4. Increase the turnover of the most ineffective teachers
We will implement a new career management process which brings attention to underperformance, supporting teachers where appropriate and dismissing when necessary.
For more information about staffing for reform:
The Widget Effect describes the tendency of school districts to assume classroom effectiveness is the same from teacher to teacher. An individual teacher is not a “widget” that displays same effectiveness, regardless of context; he or she is likely to thrive in one environment, and wither in another.
Partnering with The New Teacher Project (TNTP), the Memphis City Schools Office of Strategic Teacher Recruitment and Staffing (STARS) has already improved how they recruit and hire new effective teachers. This partnership has enabled the district to take specific action to build a cadre of career-long Memphis teachers, who are happy in our schools and focused on improving academic achievement given the conditions that are specific to Memphis.
TNTP’s Sheila Redick, Memphis Site Manager for Communications & Reporting, says that, although TNTP has extensive experience around the country with groups of 20, 30, or 40 schools, this is the first time they have helped to transform an entire school district of this size.…