Purpose Built Schools-Atlanta, in collaboration with Purpose Built Schools (a part of the Purpose Built Communities organization) and the Center for Teaching, has launched a Master Teacher program as a way for experienced teachers who are identified as being superb at what they do take on leadership responsibilities within the school, extending and expanding their expertise.
Schools in the United States design few options for strong teachers to remain in the classroom while expanding their areas of expertise and responsibilities, especially as it relates to school leadership. Teachers see their options for growth limited to being an instructional coach, a director of teaching and learning, an assistant principal, a principal, or serving in the district office in some capacity. All of those opportunities usually result in good teachers leaving the classroom for administrative duties.
The Master Teacher program represents a new way to think about teacher growth and leadership development, while keeping good teachers working hand-in-hand with students. This pilot program is being funded by the R. Howard Dobbs, Jr. Foundation for two years. The structure and specifics of the program are:
- Nine experienced and proven teachers, who applied and were selected, form a cohort for two years.
- The teachers come from two elementary schools in Atlanta, Slater Elementary and Thomasville Heights Elementary, both schools in the Purpose Built Schools-Atlanta turnaround program
- Teachers receive a $5,000 stipend each year for two years.
- The cohort meets twice each year for daylong retreats and for two-hours every other week throughout the school year. All members of the cohort will attend a variety of professional development programs, such as PLC at Work by Solutions Tree. This turns out to be about 70-100 face-to-face hours each year.
- The program outlines the roles and responsibilities of what a Master Teacher must do as part of the program
The program outcomes we have designed for are:
- build a talent management framework that attracts excellent teachers and then maximizes their time in the classroom.
- build a framework through which teachers can be engaged in continuous professional growth and serve as role models for excellence.
- build the leadership capacity of teachers to lead a faculty culture where continuous improvement is the norm.
The Master Teacher roles and responsibilities are:
- Master Teachers must be good role models for being an active learner. Therefore, Improving their own knowledge of teaching and learning, as well as sharing their knowledge with colleagues, is essential to their work. For example, Master Teachers should be well versed in project-based learning, seeking training and practicing PBL implementation in their classroom.
- With respect to being a learner, Master Teachers should be open to modeling instruction and redelivering lessons in collaboration with colleagues.
- Master Teachers should be readily available and comfortable leading conversations about effective assessment practices and staying abreast of the current thinking about formative, summative, and performance assessment. Related to this topic, Master Teachers should understand how to effectively and strategically use students data to improve learning and instruction.
- Master Teachers should develop a deep understanding of how to give peer-to-peer feedback and model instruction that helps teachers meet diverse student learning needs in the classroom.
- Master Teachers need to develop a supportive and healthy relationships with instructional coaches in their school, as well as across PBS-A , so that they can inform coaches about the instructional needs of faculty.
- Master Teachers are a part of the instruction or curricular team within their school that helps establish the path for improved teaching and learning.
- Master Teachers lead professional learning communities in their grade level or within their discipline area.
- Master Teachers act as peer-to-peer coaches, helping teachers at their grade-level or within their area of influence adopt teaching strategies, assessment strategies and classroom management protocols to make for an engaging classroom experience.
As we build the content for the two-year experience, these are some of the major areas of professional and leadership development we are designing into the cohort.
- Learning how to effectively lead a PLC?
- What is a PLC?
- What are the principles and design criteria for a good PLC?
- PLCs focus on LEARNING not TEACHING therefore the Master Teacher is a learning expert…so feedback to peers is about learning.
- How do you lead a PLC?
- Investigating DATA WISE as a framework for how to use student learning data to improve instruction.
- Building an Effective Team structure
- Using the Master Teacher cohort as a crucible for building best practices working on a team
- Running an effective meeting
- Engage in understanding the theory and practice behind adult learning
- Goal setting
- Individual goals
- Team goals
- Social-emotional development
- Four domains in Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence framework
- Developing a coaching model at each of the Purpose Built Schools-Atlanta elementary schools
- Coaching peers and partnership principles
- Instructional leadership
- learning and using a framework for good teaching
- Self improvement plan
- Modeling a self and supervisor feedback process.
- Getting in the position to receive feedback from a supervisor so that you have that “mindset” when providing feedback to teachers.
We launched the Master Teacher program with our first daylong retreat at the Center for Teaching on August 17. The experience proved to be rewarding and powerful for our nine Master Teachers. As we move through the program stay alert for additional news and information. If you want to learn more, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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