Magazine article District Administration

Teach Forward, Move Forward: How Teacher Leaders Boost Their Peers and Improve Student Outcomes

Magazine article District Administration

Teach Forward, Move Forward: How Teacher Leaders Boost Their Peers and Improve Student Outcomes

Article excerpt

In 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 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. …

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