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Increasing overall teacher quality and particularly disadvantaged students’ access to effective teachers were principles that surfaced time and again from the U.S. Department of Education under the leadership of Secretaries Arne Duncan and John King. Though this priority has been set aside at the federal level in favor of school choice initiatives and deregulation, many practitioners in state and district offices have continued to quietly tinker with various reforms to teacher policies and staffing practices.
One such under-the-radar effort attempting to work on teacher quality at the local level is the Opportunity Culture initiative. Currently, more than 150 schools across eight states are implementing Opportunity Culture models, according to Public Impact, the education organization that began development of the initiative in 2009.
The theory of action behind the Opportunity Culture initiative is best summed up by its tagline: Extending the reach of excellent teachers. When it partners with districts and schools, the program offers different models that attempt to make highly effective teachers more influential on student learning.
Based on our newly released evaluation of many of the earliest implementing Opportunity Culture schools, we found evidence that redefined roles for highly effective teachers—in particular, the coaching-focused Multi-classroom Leader model—yielded statistically significant learning improvements for students in math.
Most of the gains we observed were driven by the initiative’s Multi-classroom Leader model, which showed teachers paired with an excellent teacher-turned-coach significantly improved their classroom performance (based on both value-added estimates and observational ratings). The few classes that the excellent teacher taught also continued to show high marks.
Read the full article about a new teaching model by Michael Hansen at Brookings.