During National Teacher Appreciation Week last week, I read a lot of articles about inspiring teachers and the importance of cultivating new teachers. In my readings, I came across a surprising statistic: 40-50 percent of teachers will leave within 5 years of entering the teaching profession. It’s become clear that schools need to improve the performance and retention of new teachers through enhancing skill development with the ultimate goal of improving student growth and learning.
Last week was also National Charter School Week and Karen Hawley Miles, president of Education Resource Strategies, wrote a series of guest posts on the EdWeek blog focused on school finance, scaling promising practices, and school leadership. Her last post combined both of these national week themes in one piece, focusing on how successful charter schools have successfully increased student achievement by focusing on teacher effectiveness and capacity. The common thread for this school success is how the school has envisioned their schedule to create time during the school day to support all teachers in order to provide practical hands on professional development. She explores the question:
“How can we reap the benefits of expanded learning time for students and teachers, while supporting and rewarding teachers as the professionals that they are?”
Hawley Miles highlighted successful charter school networks like KIPP, Achievement First, and Uncommon schools who add time for teacher collaboration- this adds a great value for teacher professional growth and recognition, opportunities for data assessment, peer collaboration through planning or observations, and a great work-life balance. Another great example is the charter network, Aspire Public Schools, which have a longer school day and year and have restructured their schedule to benefit teachers as well as students. All teachers have significant time to work together during each day. Teachers work in teams led by carefully selected teacher leaders who receive ongoing professional development and extra compensation as well.
These important discussions about how schools structure time for teachers comes at an opportune moment for a new report being released by the National Center on Time & Learning called Time for Teachers: Leveraging Expanded Time to Strengthen Instruction and Empower Teachers. The report profiles 17 schools – district and charter schools – that are on the cutting edge in teaching by embedding significant time for teacher collaboration and professional development within an expanded school schedule. Watch the event webcast this Wednesday, May 14, and join the conversation online #time4teachers. Register here.