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Training and Supporting Excellent Educators icon About the Training and Supporting Excellent Educators Alliance

The training and supporting excellent educators research alliance consists of stakeholders in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, and Delaware, including the school districts of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Our current emphasis is on training and support for new teachers. This includes increasing the number of new teachers and the diversity of the teacher workforce, and preparing all teachers to teach in culturally diverse classrooms. We are also working to improve and expand evaluation systems for teachers, principals and other school leaders.

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The REL Mid-Atlantic: Training and Support Excellent Educators Research Alliance

Planned and ongoing activities

This workshop will help stakeholders in the mid-Atlantic region better understand the problem of teacher attrition, learn about evidence-backed solutions already underway, discuss their experiences with counterparts from other LEAs, and develop concrete action plans for addressing teacher attrition. This workshop will be the start of an ongoing effort in each district to think about how they can make changes to combat issues with teacher attrition and the REL will provide a framework for planning this.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) sought REL assistance in developing an evaluation plan for the teacher and principal residency programs funded through its Innovative Teacher and Principal Residency Programs grants. The REL will provide coaching to PDE staff and co-develop an evaluation plan. The coaching will build PDE staff members’ capacity to plan this evaluation and similar evaluations in the future. PDE will use the resulting evaluation plan to commission an independent evaluation.

Stakeholders in the mid-Atlantic region are increasingly discussing culturally responsive practice as a strategy for improving education outcomes for students from historically marginalized communities. To build stakeholder capacity to implement culturally responsive practice, this workshop series will: (1) present a framework for understanding educational equity, defining culturally responsive pedagogy (CRP), and describing how CRP can be embedded in broader efforts to effect systemic change; (2) provide participants with background research on CRP and information on how to implement it throughout the education system; (3) discuss existing efforts to implement CRP in pre-service training programs for teachers and administrators; and (4) review existing efforts to implement CRP in schools. Participants will be encouraged to develop an action plan that will guide the implementation of CRP in their respective districts or educator preparation programs.

The REL will work with DCPS to conduct an analysis of its school leader IMPACT data. The findings will inform revisions to the school leader IMPACT guidelines for 2019-2020.

This project aims to assess the feasibility of obtaining teacher data from the state education agencies in the region, linking those data across states, and using the data to answer stakeholders’ questions about teacher mobility. A feasibility assessment will help stakeholders understand which questions about regional teacher mobility can and cannot be answered using existing administrative data and prioritize the questions that are of most interest to those stakeholders.

SDP seeks to recruit new teachers and retain its most effective teachers. The district has prioritized understanding the characteristics, effectiveness, mobility, and retention of its teachers using its data. This study will inform SDP's strategic human capital policies by providing insights on recruitment and retention.

Completed activities

The REL conducted a two-part workshop to help Pittsburgh Public Schools’ district and school leaders better understand prospects for using teacher surveys in school leader evaluations. The workshops informed district leaders and principals about (1) teacher survey instruments that other districts and states use as input for principal evaluations and (2) notable research on the characteristics, use, and effects of those instruments.

Fact sheet: Characteristics of Effective School Leaders Culturally Responsive Pedagogy Fact Sheet (592 KB)
The REL developed a fact sheet about how culturally responsive pedagogy is defined, what practices are considered culturally responsive, and considerations for implementing these practices.

Fact sheet: Characteristics of Effective School Leaders Teacher Diversity Infographic (538 KB)
The REL developed an infographic about how a more diverse teaching workforce may improve educational outcomes for minority students.

Fact sheet: Characteristics of Effective School Leaders Characteristics of Effective School Leaders Fact Sheet (327 KB)
The REL developed a fact sheet about what is known about the characteristics of effective school leaders.

The REL conducted multiple training sessions with Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) staff to improve their knowledge of educator evaluation systems and support them in applying that information to make informed decisions about their educator evaluation system.

Teacher Residency Fact Sheet Teacher Residency Fact Sheet (318 KB)
The School District of Philadelphia began its teacher residency program in the 2016–2017 school year to attract teaching candidates of diverse backgrounds, improve teacher retention, and ultimately produce improved outcomes for students. The REL developed a fact sheet to summarize characteristics of existing teacher residency programs and the related research.

The School District of Philadelphia spends significant resources on hiring approximately 1,000 new teachers per year and would like data to assess which characteristics of teachers and training programs aid recruitment and retention of new teachers. We co-developed an intake form that SDP will administer to its newly hired teachers for completion upon hiring to address gaps in SDP’s existing data on these teachers. The teacher intake form is available on REL Mid-Atlantic’s website as a resource for other school districts.

Research Alliance Facilitator: Jill Constantine, PhD
Name Title Organizational affiliation Organization location
Estelle Acquah Senior Project Manager, Leader Pathways and Pipelines School district of Philadelphia Pennsylvania
Tiara Booker-Dwyer Director, Office of Leadership Development and School Improvement Maryland Department of Education Maryland
Betsy Bratek Initiatives Mentor Teacher Prince George's County Public Schools Maryland
Tina Chekan Superintendent Propel Schools Pennsylvania
Tamara Durant Coordinator, teacher growth and evaluation Pittsburgh Public Schools Pennsylvania
Brian Eyer Leadership Development Specialist Maryland Department of Education Maryland
Alyssa Ford-Heywood Coordinator, Employee Growth and Evaluation Pittsburgh Public Schools Pennsylvania
Emily Gasoi Ward 1 State Board of Education (SBOE) Representative DC State Board of Education District of Columbia
Thelma Hinds Assistant Chair Wilmington University Delaware
Shannon Holston Director, Educator Effectiveness Delaware Department of Education Delaware
Edmund Mitzel Coordinator for Leadership Development Maryland Department of Education Maryland
Sarah Spross Assistant State Superintendent, Division of Educator Effectiveness Maryland State Department of Education Maryland
Eric Stephens Office of Talent Development Instructional Supervisor Prince George's County Public Schools Maryland
Amy Summa Teacher Leadership Senior Project Manager School District of Philadelphia Pennsylvania
Manuel Torres Research Scientist, Division of Data, Research, Evaluation and Reporting New Jersey Department of Education New Jersey
Tyler Wells Assistant Professor and Chair, College of Education Wilmington University Delaware
Interested in joining us or learning more? Contact us.