Giving Compass' Take:

• The Hechinger Report explains how schools in some districts use teacher-leaders — educators who not only lead classrooms, but who also coach colleagues — to improve overall impact and student performance.  

• How might this model be scaled for underperforming schools? What are the most effective ways to cultivate professional development in the education space?

Read more about how the model for teacher leadership works

Edgecombe County Public Schools in rural North Carolina has long had trouble filling all of its open teaching positions. Historically, there just hasn’t been enough interest among qualified candidates. But that’s changing.

Edgecombe is still a rural district with a high-poverty student body, but a new staffing model has made its schools newly desirable for teachers who want to be school leaders without leaving the classroom. The model stems from an idea laid out in a paper almost a decade ago by Emily Ayscue Hassel and Bryan Hassel, co-presidents of Public Impact, an education advocacy organization. That idea is simple: Students chalk up three times the learning gains in classrooms with the most effective teachers (those in the top quintile), so if it’s not possible to hire only the most effective teachers, why not expand those teachers’ reach?

The first schools to implement what Public Impact calls an “Opportunity Culture,” did so during the 2013-14 school year, and Edgecombe County Public Schools is set to become the first district to bring the model systemwide. So far, eight of its 13 traditional schools have hired teacher-leaders who not only put their great teaching to use in front of students, but also coach their colleagues to spread their best practices. Next year, the remaining five schools will do the same. In each school, teacher-leaders get paid more to compensate them for taking on the extra work and responsibility of their expanded roles.

Read the full article about using teacher-leaders by Tara García Mathewson at The Hechinger Report.