Educator Support & Development
Teachers and school leaders are the two most important in-school factors contributing to student achievement. Across Delaware, excellent educators may look different from classroom to classroom and from school to school.
However, great educators share a single characteristic: a passion for teaching and leadership that propels students toward success. Preparing all students for the future begins with providing every educator with the preparation, development, and support to excel.
Encouraging Innovation and Creative Methods in Preparation & Practice
We strive for all students to have access to highly effective teachers, for every school to be led by an exceptional team of leaders, and for all educators and students to be supported in their growth. We need to elevate perceptions of the teaching profession so that it continues to attract top talent. We need to scale up successful programs to reach all schools by encouraging innovation and creative methods, both in teacher preparation and in teaching practice in the classroom.
We believe greater individualization of professional learning for all educators, ongoing and embedded in the school day, will contribute to improved student learning. As educators receive feedback, their learning must be aligned with the needs of their students and school through a more holistic and meaningful system of evaluation.
Rethinking Roles & Responsibilities
Today, Delaware schools serving a high-needs student population have a higher percentage of new teachers and have lower retention rates. These schools deserve special attention and resources, including culturally prepared and effective teachers.
Finally, the career paths for educators and principals are still largely driven by time served in the position and degrees earned. If we want to build the profession, we must rethink those paths to create new roles and responsibilities for educators based on demonstrated effectiveness.
My mom’s a para-educator, and seeing how she’s impacted lives makes me want to do the same. I think I want to be a teacher.
— Alejandro, age 17
- Expanded opportunities for every teacher to collaborate with his or her peers through professional learning communities
- New policies that increase the entry requirements for becoming a teacher and improve the rigor of the training process
- State and nonprofit efforts to share best practices across statewide school networks
- Nationwide recruitment efforts to attract top teachers and principals to Delaware
Develop a highly selective, rigorous statewide principal recruitment and selection process available to all district and charter schools
Provide intensive leadership training for high-potential school leaders, particularly for our highest need schools.
Improve Initial Educator Training
Ensure all new teachers are “learner-ready, day one” such that they are prepared to meet the needs of each of their students in achieving the skills identified in the North Star, like:
• Being expert in the content and pedagogy of their discipline;
• Working in innovative, flexible school models (e.g. blended learning);
• Engaging families and developing cultural competencies; and
• Supporting student social-emotional development.
Build closer connections between teacher preparation programs and K-12 schools by requiring that preparation programs demonstrate both how their graduates are effective teachers, and how the programs are improving their courses based on feedback from schools. For example, by:
• Designing “residency programs” and “model schools” jointly managed by teacher preparation program staff and K-12 administrators;
• Sharing performance of traditional and alternative teacher preparation programs publicly to help aspiring educators select strong preparation programs and help schools recruit well-prepared candidates;
• Encouraging teacher preparation programs to match the supply of new teachers with the needs of Delaware schools, and offering incentives to teachers in high-need subject areas such as STEM, special education, English language learning, and speech therapy; and
• Ensuring that “professional” teacher certification is tied to demonstrated effective performance in a teacher’s first few years on the job.
Strengthen Professional Learning
Support the ongoing development of all teachers by ensuring they get individualized support targeted at addressing their specific growth needs in ways that build toward their capacity to support each other as well as the broader expectations of students consistent with the North Star and the school’s goals.
Support an evaluation system that uses student performance as a key measure of effectiveness, provides meaningful differentiation of performance, and utilizes feedback from multiple sources (e.g., peers, students, and families). Use these evaluation findings to more effectively personalize professional learning
Support new models of teacher collaboration and development within and across schools by:
• Experimenting with new models of teacher collaboration and support within and across schools;
• Using grants/waivers to encourage schools to provide flexibility around teacher scheduling and use of time;
• Developing online Professional Learning Communities;
• Utilizing a competency-based approach to professional development with credits granted to teachers based on mastery of a particular skill or practice;
• Creating supports for sustained replication and scaling across the system of those approaches that work; and
• Building a statewide, online repository of best practice materials where educators can access and contribute content. Materials could include highquality videos of effective teaching practices or standards-aligned curricular materials and lesson plans.
Build Strong Policy Framework for the Profession
Design and implement exciting educator career pathways that allow for a compelling and coherent set of options for educators and principals to advance their career based on demonstrated effectiveness. These pathways should allow for differentiation and specialization, such as:
• Providing opportunities for advancement for accomplished teachers without leaving the classroom;
• Providing teachers an opportunity to expand their reach with students virtually (beyond the “one teacher-one classroom” model); and
• Allowing principals to have differentiated support (e.g., rigorous development of high potential principals via mentoring from highly effective principals) and a differentiated compensation system based on their principal evaluation system
Encourage districts to implement mutual consent policies that require both teacher and principal approval for teacher or leader placements at a school.
Ensure all students, particularly those in high-need schools, have access to highly effective educators by:
• Providing these schools with increased recruitment and selection support, higher compensation for teachers and leaders, and increased control for effective leadership teams in selecting staff members; and
• Developing teams of highly-effective educators who provide additional capacity to low-performing schools. Districts and charter schools could identify a small cohort of highly-effective teachers who would receive additional training before supporting turnaround efforts at low-performing schools