TNTP hones in on the next frontier

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Districts and states have been making steady progress on changing the policies impacting teacher quality. They get that it's time for overhauling their evaluation policies, how they pay teachers, what authority principals have in staffing their schools. These policy battles are being won. Slowly. But it is happening.

But the hard work of transforming public education is far from over. TNTP is out with a smart new report on the next frontier in education reform: School culture.

We know that some schools are better than others at accelerating student learning—even within the same district. In order to hone in on the essence of what makes these so-called "greenhouse" schools so successful, TNTP surveyed 4,800 teachers in 250 schools, including charter schools. They tried to understand 1) what kind of culture is most likely to increase retention of the best teachers and improve student learning and 2) what concrete steps principals can take to create that culture in their own schools.

Most of these recommendations can be implemented through better practices—and not changes to collective bargaining agreements or state laws! This is something we've seen time and again in our studies in school districts. Here are some concrete steps TNTP recommends principals (with the support of district administrators) take to improve the culture in schools.

  1. Create a rigorous interview process and hire teachers early (by June 1)
  2. Set measurable student goals
  3. Conduct more classroom observations and give teachers feedback
  4. Provide professional development when teachers can observe colleagues and collaborate with their peers
  5. Provide successful teachers with opportunities to advance and usher out low performers

Emily Cohen