Meet the non-profit organization that disrupts the multibillion-a-year-teacher professional development industry • Good Non Profit

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Learn versus learn words on colorful stickers pinned on corkboard.Getty

When he opened his job as an administrator at Tulsa Public Schools more than two years ago, Devin Fletcher experienced a disconnect. Much attention was paid to how well educators taught students, but almost no one focused on the amount or quality of instructional trainers they had received themselves.

"Very little professional development happened, and when it happened, it happened in very large, unmanageable groups, in one-time doses that were not related to what happens in unique schools," said Fletcher, supervising the academics and staff of the university. district. "Teachers were not enthusiastic about being in large meeting rooms with people talking to them."

To revise the teacher training, Fletcher worked with Leading Educators, a New Orleans-based non-profit organization that focuses on educating teachers to support their peers. Together they redesigned the schedules of students and teachers at 10 Tulsa schools, jumping through countless hoops, allowing teachers to spend more time talking and learning from each other. Halfway through the first year of implementation, teachers now work together for 90 minutes a week, up to 45 minutes earlier, noticing that they prefer to learn in small groups with their colleagues at school to listen to a large audience. outsiders from outside organizations, Fletcher said.

"That is not the place where we were before," he said. "There is a sense of cooperation and a feeling as if they are being listened to and heard."

Tulsa is perhaps the most comprehensive example of the vision sought by Leading Educators, which was launched in 2008 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. By preparing high-performing teachers to support their peers, Leading Educators tries to disrupt the professional development industry of billions of dollars, a survey that has repeatedly proved "ineffective in supporting changes in learning methods and student learning", according to a study by the Learning Policy Institute. (In the words of Fletcher: "Die [professional development] meetings can be pretty worthless. ")

Chong-Hao Fu, an alumnus of Teach For America and former KIPP director who took over the leading educators of Jonas Chartock, the founding CEO, in September, believes that the organization helps to maintain the dominant belief in our field. that professional learning does not work & # 39; to counteract. t work. "

"There are so many structural ones in teaching [barriers] that enable people to work together in a rich and meaningful way, "he said, emphasizing that professional learning works," but under certain conditions, with a certain dose, and with the right people who actually lead learning. "

Leading educators give priority to districts that mainly serve students with low incomes or color students. Over the past decade, it has worked with more than 10 districts across the country, including the District of Columbia Public Schools. The organization helped with the LEAP program, which was cited as both a driving force behind the improvement of DCPS and a thorny obstacle to cooperation between teachers. (LEAP stands for LEarning together to advance our practice.) Leading Educators currently works at dozens of schools in Tulsa, New Orleans, Chicago and Michigan, and also consults with Atlanta Public Schools.

The partnership in Tulsa is an example of how the model of the organization has evolved over time. Initially, Fu, Leading Educators told recruited teachers to serve as fellows, visit high-performing schools (including Fu's KIPP school) and bring back effective practices.

But an investigation into the organization's practices by the Rand Corporation revealed two problems. First, the program had to dive deeper into content areas and curricula so that high-performing teachers could communicate with their peers at a more detailed level. Second, Fu said, "Teacher leaders did not have the chance to lead, they had no extra time or authority, and they did not feel that the work they were doing was important to their director."

In response, leading educators have changed their approach. In Tulsa, the organization first called managers and managers of managers before teachers and schools had to choose to participate. Together with the Leading Educators staff, the manager toured through the Tulsa schools to see which educational problems were most needed to be solved and who were the strongest teachers to help them solve. These teachers became teachers' teachers – those who retain a limited study load and also participate in professional development with Leading Educators staff (for which they receive a stipend).

The directors of the 10 participating schools have identified a common problem: teachers in groups 3 to 5 often asked students about their lecture that were too simple. Teachers tried to involve their students in texts, but boasted too low, causing students to lose interest and teachers not going through the measurements, Fletcher said. To address this common problem, leading educators developed more rigorous resources that are specific to the basic English lesson plan in Tulsa. Instead of the Leading Educators employees who trained all teachers, the organization tapped the teacher leaders to introduce new strategies so that their colleagues could encourage students to do more of the thinking themselves.

"When you do this [approach]"Said Fu," you do not only generate study benefits, but you have also built up the leadership capacity and you grow the great teachers you already have in your school building … so it's something that can be sustained over time. "

After teachers have introduced a new strategy, teacher guides, administrators and leading teachers go back to school to see how well students are being taught and what further adjustments are needed.

Leading educators and Tulsa Public Schools work together with Education Resource Strategies, a national non-profit organization that helps districts more efficiently, to re-implement the schools' schedules in a way that meets the needs of students and contractual teachers' requirements without incurring substantial costs, according to Fletcher. LEAP, the professional development program in Washington, D.C. that helped develop educators, costs 3.5 million dollars this year, according to DCPS. It also emphasizes the time for teachers to talk during the day, which reduces costs to a minimum. At about $ 880 per teacher, the program costs considerably less than the $ 12,598 per teacher who conservatively estimated a 2015 TNTP study that large districts are devoting to traditional professional development.

Fu and Fletcher are optimistic about the approach. In the next four years they will strive to expand all degrees in all 82 Tulsa schools. Fu impressed on the benefits for teachers: new career paths, formalized leadership roles, responsibilities for leadership, extra pay opportunities, opportunities to grow and stay in the classroom at the same time.

Fu believes that the teacher – first approaching his organization champions is not only sustainable, but practical, a flexible solution to the challenges faced by American public schools.

"I think we are in a place where we have realized as a field that we will not make our way towards improvement or find our way to improvement," he said. "Of the 3.5 million teachers who already teach in the classroom, how do we help create skills improvements?"

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Learning versus teaching words on colorful stickers pinned on corkboard. Nice

When he opened his job as an administrator at Tulsa Public Schools more than two years ago, Devin Fletcher experienced a disconnect. Much attention was paid to how well educators taught students, but almost no one focused on the amount or quality of instructional trainers they had received themselves.

"Very little professional development happened, and when it happened, it happened in very large, unmanageable groups, in one-time doses that were not related to what happens in unique schools," said Fletcher, supervising the academics and staff of the university. district. "Teachers were not enthusiastic about being in large meeting rooms with people talking to them."

To revise the teacher training, Fletcher worked with Leading Educators, a New Orleans-based non-profit organization that focuses on educating teachers to support their peers. Together they redesigned the schedules of students and teachers at 10 Tulsa schools, jumping through countless hoops, allowing teachers to spend more time talking and learning from each other. Halfway through the first year of implementation, teachers now work together for 90 minutes a week, up to 45 minutes earlier, noticing that they prefer to learn in small groups with their colleagues at school to listen to a large audience. outsiders from outside organizations, Fletcher said.

"That is not the place where we were before," he said. "There is a sense of cooperation and a feeling as if they are being listened to and heard."

Tulsa is perhaps the most comprehensive example of the vision sought by Leading Educators, which was launched in 2008 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. By preparing high-performing teachers to support their peers, Leading Educators tries to disrupt the professional development industry of billions of dollars, a survey that has repeatedly proved "ineffective in supporting changes in learning methods and student learning", according to a study by the Learning Policy Institute. (In the words of Fletcher: "Die [professional development] meetings can be pretty worthless. ")

Chong-Hao Fu, an alumnus of Teach For America and former KIPP director who took over the leading educators of Jonas Chartock, the founding CEO, in September, believes that the organization helps to maintain the dominant belief in our field. that professional learning does not work & # 39; to counteract. t work. "

"There are so many structural ones in teaching [barriers] that enable people to work together in a rich and meaningful way, "he said, emphasizing that professional learning works," but under certain conditions, with a certain dose, and with the right people who actually lead learning. "

Leading educators give priority to districts that mainly serve students with low incomes or color students. Over the past decade, it has worked with more than 10 districts across the country, including the District of Columbia Public Schools. The organization helped with the LEAP program, which was cited as both a driving force behind the improvement of DCPS and a thorny obstacle to cooperation between teachers. (LEAP stands for LEarning together to advance our practice.) Leading Educators currently works at dozens of schools in Tulsa, New Orleans, Chicago and Michigan, and also consults with Atlanta Public Schools.

The partnership in Tulsa is an example of how the model of the organization has evolved over time. Initially, Fu, Leading Educators told recruited teachers to serve as fellows, visit high-performing schools (including Fu's KIPP school) and bring back effective practices.

But an investigation into the organization's practices by the Rand Corporation revealed two problems. First, the program had to dive deeper into content areas and curricula so that high-performing teachers could communicate with their peers at a more detailed level. Second, Fu said, "Teacher leaders did not have the chance to lead, they had no extra time or authority, and they did not feel that the work they were doing was important to their director."

In response, leading educators have changed their approach. In Tulsa, the organization first called managers and managers of managers before teachers and schools had to choose to participate. Together with the Leading Educators staff, the manager toured through the Tulsa schools to see which educational problems were most needed to be solved and who were the strongest teachers to help them solve. These teachers became teachers' teachers – those who retain a limited study load and also participate in professional development with Leading Educators staff (for which they receive a stipend).

The directors of the 10 participating schools have identified a common problem: teachers in groups 3 to 5 often asked students about their lecture that were too simple. Teachers tried to involve their students in texts, but boasted too low, causing students to lose interest and teachers not going through the measurements, Fletcher said. To address this common problem, leading educators developed more rigorous resources that are specific to the basic English lesson plan in Tulsa. Instead of the Leading Educators employees who trained all teachers, the organization tapped the teacher leaders to introduce new strategies so that their colleagues could encourage students to do more of the thinking themselves.

"When you do this [approach]"Said Fu," you do not only generate study benefits, but you have also built up the leadership capacity and you grow the great teachers you already have in your school building … so it's something that can be sustained over time. "

After teachers have introduced a new strategy, teacher guides, administrators and leading teachers go back to school to see how well students are being taught and what further adjustments are needed.

Leading educators and Tulsa Public Schools work together with Education Resource Strategies, a national non-profit organization that helps districts more efficiently, to re-implement the schools' schedules in a way that meets the needs of students and contractual teachers' requirements without incurring substantial costs, according to Fletcher. LEAP, the professional development program in Washington, D.C. that helped develop educators, costs 3.5 million dollars this year, according to DCPS. It also emphasizes the time for teachers to talk during the day, which reduces costs to a minimum. At about $ 880 per teacher, the program costs considerably less than the $ 12,598 per teacher who conservatively estimated a 2015 TNTP study that large districts are devoting to traditional professional development.

Fu and Fletcher are optimistic about the approach. In the next four years they will strive to expand all degrees in all 82 Tulsa schools. Fu impressed on the benefits for teachers: new career paths, formalized leadership roles, responsibilities for leadership, extra pay opportunities, opportunities to grow and stay in the classroom at the same time.

Fu believes that the teacher – first approaching his organization champions is not only sustainable, but practical, a flexible solution to the challenges faced by American public schools.

"I think we are in a place where we have realized as a field that we will not make our way towards improvement or find our way to improvement," he said. "Of the 3.5 million teachers who already teach in the classroom, how do we help create skills improvements?"