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2014 Impact Report

Middle School Teacher and School Leader Professional Development Grants The Teaching Trust. The Teaching Trust has selected the highest leverage aspects of its Aspiring Principals program to create a multiphase professional development Executive Education Program for Teams, a program designed to serve existing principals and their school leadership teams. The goal of the program is to provide high-quality professional development to existing school leadership teams in order to improve the culture of learning, teacher effectiveness, and student achievement on their campuses. CFT provided grant funds to support the planning and design of the program in 2012–2013, as well as funds to support piloting the program with an inaugural cohort of 12 school leadership teams (from five middle schools) from Dallas ISD during the 2013–2014 school year. The program includes a series of workshops over 10 months, based on curriculum and experiences derived from the Aspiring Principals program. The workshops are connected by actionlearning projects to embed the training on school campuses, with accountability through a monthly consultation with Teaching Trust staff. Content topics include Building a High Aspirations Culture, Using Data to Drive Performance, and Supervising and Evaluating Effective Instruction. Program effectiveness and outcomes will be measured through student achievement gains and culture surveys. Teaching Trust’s goal is for 90 percent of participating teams to demonstrate year-over-year positive gains that exceed those of comparable schools in reading and math, and for 90 percent of participating teams to achieve topquartile results on culture surveys administered at the end of each program year. Teach for America (TFA). In response to CFT’s middle school funding opportunity, TFA proposed to implement an innovative Middle School Partnership Plan (MSPP) at DISD’s Ann Richards Middle School, a new school that opened in Pleasant Grove in fall 2012. As part of the MSPP pilot, TFA placed a high concentration of its corps members at the school—about one quarter of the school’s teaching positions—and it provided extensive professional development to school leadership and non-TFA teachers using TFA’s proven practices and tools. With CFT’s funding, TFA is providing up to 40 hours of high-quality training, programming, and ongoing support to the entire school leadership/administrative team and teaching staff throughout the school year. This includes access to TFA’s Student Academic Achievement Tracker software and online resource bank of curriculum materials, along with its video library of teaching tools. The pilot program is having a direct impact on all 50 teachers and approximately 1,000 students at Ann Richards Middle School. By June 2014, TFA’s goal is for this school to be recognized as being in the top half or higher among DISD schools, as measured by the School Effectiveness Index. If the model ultimately proves successful, the program can be scaled to other DISD schools, as well as other school districts across North Texas and the country. Following the first year of implementation, TFA reported several key learnings that have helped the organization adjust and improve the program going into the pilot’s second year. TFA told us that this model has provided rich opportunities for collaboration and experimentation that have helped them identify best practices for collaborating with principals at all TFA schools—not just those in the MSPP pilot. The program has also helped TFA staff work through challenges related to already existing demands on non-TFA teachers’ time and attention. To this end, TFA has determined that objectives for professional development in year two of the pilot should hinge less on the quantity of hours offered and more on offering the content and best practices that are most relevant to the needs of the schools they are serving. Big Thought. CFT’s funding has allowed Big Thought to create and implement a Teaching Artistry Fellowship program—a two-year professional development course and practicum in which 10 master teachers (referred to as Fellows) are learning and applying best practices as mentors and coaches for teachers and community


Communities Foundation of Texas Impact Report 2014  
Communities Foundation of Texas Impact Report 2014