District Administration August 2017 - 48

ProfessionalOpinion
Teach Forward,
move forward
How teacher leaders boost their peers and improve student outcomes
By Andre Spencer, Rupak Gandhi and Laurie Eastup

I

n the 2010-11 school year, the
Harrison School District Two in
Colorado Springs began one of
the most rigorous pay-for-performance
plans in the nation: Called "Effectiveness and Results," this overhaul of the
human capital management system was
a risk worth taking because the status
quo failed to adequately serve students.
We tied the evaluation and compensation system to what the organization values most: effective classroom
instruction tied to student achievement
results. We replaced the traditional
salary schedule with nine effectiveness
levels. Each effectiveness level is earned
by an equal weight of educator performance and their students' academic
achievement. Educators receive the
salary associated with the relevant effectiveness level. Key to the plan is our
Teach Forward program.
Why we need teacher leaders
Teach Forward will target the most
impactful data-driven need: increasing
the amount of effective teachers across
all content areas. We want our effective
teachers to continue providing direct
instruction to students, but we also
know that, through leadership, they
have the potential to increase the effectiveness of their peers.
The Teach Forward program
provides time and opportunity for effective teachers to lead, mentor and
coach peer teachers without leaving the

DAmag.me/move

48 August 2017

The primary goals of
Teach Forward are
improving student
academic achievement
and improving teacher
quality through teacher
efficacy.
classroom. Being formally recognized
as a teacher leader leads to higher job
satisfaction and retention.
The next step to build upon the
Effectiveness and Results system was
to incorporate a program that would
develop school-based teacher leaders.
The Teach Forward program is
based on best practices from Joellen
Killion, who leads Learning Forward
(DAmag.me/lf ). The program increases educator effectiveness by having
teachers take on a role that encompasses the responsibilities of a resource
provider, data coach, curriculum and
instructional specialist, mentor, classroom supporter, school leader, change
catalyst, and learner.
Gauging success
When they apply to Teach Forward,
teachers must provide a principal
recommendation and commit to at
least two years of the program. The
first year, called the Fellowship Year, is
dedicated to training teacher leaders to
effectively lead peers at their campus.
Building the leadership capacity of
teacher leaders builds the capacity of

the entire educator force in the schools
in which they work.
From the beginning, teacher leaders are evaluated on their effectiveness-including their success with peer
teachers and their impact on how those
teachers' students are performing. We
evaluate the program using the following benchmarks:
* Student achievement: Are system
changes increasing performance?
* Teacher impact: Is the program
improving employee retention, leadership and instruction practices?
* Implementation fidelity: Did
the program follow the proposed plan?
* Satisfaction: Gauge the opinions
teachers, teacher leaders, administrators, students, community members
and other stakeholders.
Equity increases
We need effective teachers in every
classroom to provide equitable access
to quality instruction for all students.
Teach Forward develops effective
teachers across all content areas.
When outcomes impact compensation for teacher leaders, it heightens
the importance of the support and
training designed to produce the desired results. Teach Forward boosts student achievement and teacher efficacy
by providing all teachers an opportunity to teach today, lead today and,
ultimately, achieve today. DA
Andre Spencer is the superintendent, Rupak
Gandhi is the research, data and accountability
officer, and Laurie Eastup is the RDA
Coordinator at Harrison School District Two
in Colorado Springs.
District Administration


http://www.DAmag.me/lf http://www.DAmag.me/move

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration August 2017

District Administration August 2017 - Cover1
District Administration August 2017 - Cover2
District Administration August 2017 - 1
District Administration August 2017 - 2
District Administration August 2017 - 3
District Administration August 2017 - 4
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District Administration August 2017 - Cover3
District Administration August 2017 - Cover4
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