- A model in which teacher leaders work with more students or serve as coaches to multiple teachers is gaining attention after a recent evaluation showed that the approach is leading to achievement gains in math.
- Developed by Public Impact, a school improvement organization, Opportunity Culture is now in place in more than 150 schools in eight states. The teacher-coaches earn salary supplements as high as $12,000, which are designed to be an incentive for other teachers to improve their practice.
- The evaluation, conducted by researchers with National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research, focused on the Charlotte-Meckenburg and Cabarrus school districts in North Carolina and the Syracuse district in New York. They found significant improvements even in classrooms that were not directly participating in the program, perhaps because of overall excitement about the program. But they also found that most of the gains came from teachers coaching multiple teachers instead of through those effective educators reaching more students through blended learning and rotation models.
Opportunity Culture is another example of how schools are finding ways for teachers to lead and to have a broader positive impact at their school without leaving the classroom. The paper shows that personalized coaching can be especially helpful when the coach works with a small group of teachers instead of school wide.
The researchers suggest that their findings also show that school officials may not have to remove less effective teachers in order for schools to improve. As master teachers gain more responsibility, however, school leaders also have to plan for ways to provide them with support and professional learning opportunities so they don’t become overwhelmed as they focus on the growth of both their students and the teachers they are coaching.