Our Effective Teaching Campaign is a long-term commitment to supporting effective teaching policies in Oakland.
Research confirms what many educators, parents and students know intuitively -- no other in-school factor has more of an impact on a student's achievement than the effectiveness of their teacher.
Some of the greatest actions we can take as a community are to support our teachers, ensure all students have access to effective teaching, and our highest needs students have equitable access to our most highly effective teachers.
In this campaign GO works to develop our network of parent and teacher leaders to advance five core policy goals to support effective teaching in Oakland public schools:
- Assignment: Ensuring that teacher assignment policies increase student access to effective teaching and allow school communities a voice in determining the composition of their staff
- Compensation: Prioritize increasing teacher compensation to ensure that OUSD attracts and retains highly-skilled educators
- Evaluation System: Creating a fair evaluation system that includes multiple measures of good teaching and student growth while emphasizing professional growth and support for teachers
- Leadership and Career Pathways: Creating teacher career and leadership pathways that ensure that Oakland's best teachers deeply influence policy and decision-making, and lead to greater responsibility, compensation, and mentoring of other teachers
- Principal Development: Ensuring that principals are given the training and support necessary to provide strong instructional leadership and fair, meaningful evaluations of staff that increase the capacity of teachers to meet the needs of students
We are organizing campaign activities to focus on three strategy areas:
- Increasing teacher leadership
- Increasing community leadership
- Organizational research and advocacy
Increasing teacher leadership
GO's Teacher Policy Fellowship is a yearlong, stipended opportunity for a small cohort of current Oakland teachers to Learn, Think, and Lead about the future of education.
We are committed to the principle that students will be better served if teachers are deeply involved with decision making. The goal of this fellowship is to develop and facilitate a community of policy fellows who are fully engaged with current leadership opportunities and brokering additional opportunities where none currently exist.
Increasing community leadership
Parent Leadership Workshops
GO Leadership Center hosts Parent Leadership Workshops by the invitation of parent or community groups to help parents learn more about the importance of effective teaching, and how to support teachers within their schools and across our public school system in order to provide the best possible education for students.
To learn more about Parent Leadership Workshops or request one for your school or group, please contact Mirella Rangel, Director of Community Engagement, by email at email@example.com
Organizational research and advocacy
What is the one authority OUSD principals say they need more than anything else? How well are Oakland's 2,640 teachers paid compared to neighboring districts? Does tenure matter? How diverse is Oakland's teaching workforce? What supports are Oakland teachers asking for to improve the classroom experience for students?
You can now find answers to these questions, and many more, in an in-depth 2013 study that examines teacher quality policies and practices in OUSD conducted by the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) called "Teacher Quality Roadmap: Improving Policies and Practices in Oakland."
Effective Teaching Coalition Letter to the Board
Effective Teaching Coalition - Letter to the Board.pdf
ETC letter to OUSD on supporting teachers
Last Friday, members of the Effective Teaching Coalition offered feedback on the district's proposed Teacher Growth and Development System. Below is an abridged version. Click here for the entire letter and full feedback.
On June 12th, the district will update the Board on their progress meeting the effective teaching goals outlined on the Board's adopted Balanced Scorecard. As the hearing approaches, we ask that, in your role as Board members, you take the actions necessary to ensure that:
- The Oakland Effective Teaching Framework is on a clear timeline and path for adoption;
- The Teacher Growth and Development System is based on best in field practices (see attached); and
- Adequate resources are allocated to support this work for the 2013-14 school year, including specific budgets for years one, two, and three.
We've organized our substantive feedback into five key areas:
- Adopting a Framework for Effective Teaching;
- Substance of the New System;
- Technology Platform to Support the System;
- Budgeted for Success; and
- Expansion and System-wide Implementation.
1. Adopting a Framework for Effective Teaching: Adopting a detailed framework for effective teaching will be a strong step in the right direction toward better supports for Oakland teachers. This framework--and related supports--will help ensure that teachers, parents, and administrators develop and use a common understanding in terms of expectations and practice.
- Based on Best Practices: It would be a disservice to OUSD to develop a system from scratch and forgo the hard-earned (and expensive) knowledge gained by other districts that have already adopted frameworks.
- Four Performance Levels: We ask that the new framework include at least four performance levels. These levels would help define a teacher's current level of achievement.
2. Substance of the New System: We applaud the district in planning to pilot the new system prior to widespread adoption. The work is too important and too complex to rush implementation. We hope that the district and its partners will work through the pilot year jointly and take away key lessons in supporting teachers and administrators.
Relatedly, it is of the utmost importance that the focus of this new system remains on the support and development of teachers. This should not be a punitive system, but rather one that is focused on helping teachers identify strengths and weakness and getting the support they need to improve their practice on behalf of students.
- Multiple Observations: We ask that the system utilize multiple observations. This is important because to allow for a greater sampling of a teacher's practice. It helps alleviate concerns that any one observation happened at a particularly bad point.
- Multiple Observers: We ask that this pilot provide for multiple observers such as administrators and others (i.e., instructional coaches, teacher leaders, or district evaluators).
- Aligned Supports: We ask that the pilot specify the types of supports that an observed teacher will receive and that these supports are tailored to his or her specific needs and strengths.
- Observer Calibration: We ask that all observers be trained and calibrated - and ideally certified - prior to providing observations. This means that observers receive intensive training so that they can provide the fair, accurate, and actionable feedback that teachers deserve.
- Multiple Measures of Student Outcomes: We ask that the new system include multiple measures of student outcomes. This is important because what is happening for students in the classroom is ultimately the most important issue. These assessments can include: benchmark assessments; artifacts of student work; examples of typical assignments; and evidence of student mastery of the curriculum from quizzes, tests and exams.
- Student Input: We ask that the new system include input from students by way of research-based surveys that provide feedback that is helpful to teachers.
- Parent Input: We ask that the new system explore various ways to include parent voices in the process.
3. Technology Platform to Support the System: An issue whose impact was demonstrated throughout the NCTQ study was that the district could not collect system-wide data and use it to make decisions. This pilot provides an excellent opportunity to start remedying that situation by adopting an online system to make the information more accessible, and to start building out a system of teacher supports.
- Based on best in field: We ask that the technology supports for this pilot be based on best practices in the field such that it allows OUSD to build upon previous learning and investment.
4. Budgeted for Success: A key factor for successfully implementing the pilot--and one that is in the direct purview of school board members--is to ensure the new professional growth and development system is supported financially. In fact, our Effective Teaching Coalition would oppose implementing a new system that was not properly supported and resourced, and that just became "another thing to do" for teachers and administrators.
- Technology Platform: We ask that the budget account for the necessary technology needs for the pilot whether that is support for student surveys, or electronic record keeping and maintenance.
- Admin and Leadership Support: We ask that the budget provide for the supports necessary for a site administrator (and other observers) to successfully implement the system.
- For District Support: We ask that the budget include support for the district to help coordinate the pilot and support school site implementation.
5. Expansion and System-wide Implementation: We ask that the district establish clear criteria by which it will determine whether the pilot is successful and worthy of pursing expansion.
- Plan for expansion and improving: We ask that the district crate a plan to learn from the implementation phase, measure success, improve the pilot, and expand to the pilot additional schools if warranted.
The Launch of the Teacher Policy Fellowship
We are thrilled to announce the launch of our Teacher Policy Fellowship.
Committed to the principle that students will be better served if teachers are deeply involved with decision making, the goal of the fellowship is to develop and facilitate a community of policy fellows who are fully engaged with current leadership opportunities and brokering additional opportunities where none currently exist.
This action-oriented opportunity is open to all Oakland teachers, the Teacher Policy Fellowship is an excellent opportunity for teacher leaders to:
- Learn: Meet with state and national experts in various areas of teacher policy (retention, professional growth, etc.).
- Think: Join a cohort of dedicated Oakland teachers who are looking to shape the future of public education.
- Lead: Work on individual and group advocacy projects and receive training and individual support on effectively organizing for change.
Ideal candidates are characterized by three traits:
- Growth mind set: The ideal candidate believes that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work--brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.
- Strong sense of responsibility & belief that effective teaching matters: The ideal candidate believes that great teaching matters for students. They understand the other challenges faced by students and the impact of poverty, but are invested in improving student access to effective teaching.
- Openness to new information and perspectives: The ideal candidate is not only open to, but seeks new information and perspectives. They are avid learners who seek new information and use it to advance their understanding of the world.
To learn more: For an introduction to the fellowship (e.g., time commitment, stipend, and scope of work, and application) please follow the link to RSVP for one of the following dinners.
Some quick details include:
- Stipend: $500
- Application Process: Applications are Due Nov. 25th (online app posted by Nov. 1).
- Meetings: Monthly
- Time Commitment: Monthly meetings with some limited outside prep for reading and advocacy
- Topics covered: TBD - Tentative Professional Growth and Support Systems; Rethinking Career Pathways
- Advocacy Project(s): TBD by fellows
Hope to see you there! The more diverse voices, the better! If you have any questions please contact Marc Tafolla at (650) 862-5457 or Marc@gopublicschools.org.
A little more:
We believe that our public schools will not improve dramatically and drive next-generation learning without a substantially different vision for teacher leadership. According to a hard-hitting report from the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), "In most high performing education systems teachers do not only have a central role in improving educational outcomes, they are also at the center of the improvement efforts themselves." To do so, policy fellows will focus on developing the following capacities:
- Content Knowledge: a broad understanding of the various policy issues that impact classroom teaching, as well as solutions that have been implemented in other locales;
- Political Context: the tools to analyze and negotiate the political context and recognize advocacy opportunities; and
- Advocacy Skills: the communication skills (e.g., blogging, and public speaking) necessary to be effective advocates for change.