Theme: Human Capital
Organization Level: Classroom
Critical elements: Classroom teachers in higher-performing schools strive for continuous improvement in their own teaching practice and contribute to the professional growth of teachers as a whole. Through reflection, collaboration, and hard work, teachers raise the school’s human capital and support college- and career-readiness for all students.
Practice: Actively pursue personal and staff professional growth opportunities aligned to fostering college- and career-readiness. Collaborate with colleagues and school leaders to create an environment of transparency and continuous improvement.

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CriteriaLess Effective PracticesSuccess Factors for Meeting State StandardsSuccess Factors for College and Career Readiness
Professional Development

Teachers participate in required training activities, but do not perceive them as particularly worthwhile. Training is isolated, short-term, and has little connection to instructional practice or to over-arching goals. Teachers see professional development as something done to them rather than for them.

Educators recognize its relevance to their practice and are engaged participants in the schools professional development activities. Teachers actively apply what theyve learned to their classroom practice and collaborate with peers around related practices.

Educators value and feel empowered by professional development. Professional learning opportunities develop teachers growth mindsets and target practices to improve college and career readiness. As drivers of their own growth, teachers take advantage of optional learning activities and seek out opportunities to lead as well as participate in professional development events.

Collaboration for College & Career Readiness

Teachers do not feel responsible for all students learning and are not expected to collaborate with colleagues or contribute to the collective expertise of the teachers. Consequently, teachers expectations, methods, expertise, and effectiveness vary widely.

Teachers recognize that student achievement and mastery of standards requires the coordinated efforts of all staff. Educators make use of collaboration time to share materials and best practices, support the curriculum in subjects other than their own, and vertically align their curriculum for maximum student growth from year to year.

Teachers share ownership for preparing all students for college and are eager to collaborate with colleagues to create a coherent, effective program in which all grade levels and subjects are aligned to college and career readiness. Supported by specialists, teams of teachers work together to plan lessons, solve problems, analyze student data, and discuss practice.

Collaboration for Specialized Academic Instruction

The relationship between specialized academic instruction personnel and classroom teachers is one of enforcement and compliance. General education teachers may attempt to meet requirements set forth in IEPs or other individualized plans, but little collaboration occurs between them and the special education staff.

General education and special education teachers share responsibility for the achievement of students with specialized academic needs. Special education personnel meet with teachers and provide support for implementing classroom interventions and modifications to meet students learning goals.

Special education and classroom teachers work as a team to prepare students with specialized academic needs for college and careers. Co-teaching, co-planning, regular progress meetings, and shared professional development support classroom teachers to become adept at differentiating instruction to meet the needs of all learners.

Observation of Practice

Classrooms are closed, opaque, and isolated from one another. Other than during infrequent formal observationswhich may not reflect everyday practicethe work of teachers is rarely monitored. Leaders and colleagues have little insight into teachers instructional practices.

Teachers recognize that helping all students achieve mastery requires superior teaching skill. As a result, their classroom methods are transparent, and they willingly share their materials and student achievement data with colleagues and leaders, incorporating feedback to continuously improve their practice.

Teachers adopt a growth mindset and know that college and career readiness requires a seamless program and expert teaching. Classrooms are open, transparent, and aligned to the shared mission and culture. School leaders regularly observe practice, review lesson plans, and discuss achievement data. Teachers effectively provide and receive constructive feedback from school leaders and peers as an essential part of professional growth.

Roles & Responsibilities

Teachers narrowly define their role in the school and in students learning. Lacking a sense of personal responsibility for student achievement, teachers may set their sights on meeting only the minimum requirements of their job description.

Teachers hold themselves accountable for mastery not only of the skills and content for their grade and subject, but also more broadly for student academic success in general. Educators support the work of peers to raise student achievement and engage fully in all aspects of school life.

Teachers exhibit an urgent, do whatever it takes approach to their work. As part of the schools holistic approach to student achievement, educators fulfill many roles outside of the classroom (e.g., mentor, coach, club sponsor, tutor), as well as the confines of the traditional school day.

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