We align district efforts. Through intensive partnerships, we help district leaders define a comprehensive vision for talent and rally their staff around it. Together, we ensure that educators across the district—whether in schools or in the central office—are squarely focused on teacher quality. Whether they’re hiring teachers or managing principals, district staff must take every opportunity to build a stronger teaching team.
We build systems to support reform. We create the infrastructure districts need to realize their vision. We streamline daily processes, like reviewing teacher applications or analyzing evaluation data. And we embed great teaching in key decisions, such as considering teacher quality in layoffs or negotiating a new union contract that benefits teachers and students. With strong systems in place, reforms have the time to take root and to transform teaching across the district.
Camden: Jumpstarting Systemic Reform > ˅
In 2013, the NJ Department of Education took over Camden City Public Schools (CCPS) with bold plans to turn around the district and improve student outcomes. The challenge was stark: of 13,500 Camden students, just 5 graduated college ready in 2013.
Camden engaged TNTP to analyze personnel challenges and map out recommendations for sustainable reform. For three months, we researched everything that shapes district talent—from teacher and principal staffing, to pay and data systems, to working conditions and the district’s central office.
Then TNTP dove into implementation, working alongside district officials to address the most urgent issues. Together we ramped up recruitment, introduced a more rigorous process for selecting hires, and laid the groundwork for the district’s strategic plan.
By January 2014, the district had made nearly 200 strategic hires for key positions in its schools and central office. And our work is just beginning: In the coming year, we’ll help Camden strengthen evaluation, implement a strategic staffing plan, and reorganize the central office to support educators and schools.
Houston: Laying the Foundation for Change > ˅
In 2009, Superintendent Terry Grier joined Houston Independent School District (HISD) with an ambitious vision: putting a great teacher in every single classroom. To achieve this large-scale reform, HISD needed to rethink its teacher workforce from the ground up.
Since 2010, TNTP has worked intensively with HISD leadership to transform teaching in the fifth-largest district. Together, we introduced a new teacher evaluation system—engaging more than 4,000 stakeholders in the redesign—that gives teachers regular feedback and generates unprecedented data on teacher performance.
From there, we helped HISD use this data to inform key personnel decisions: hiring and retaining strong teachers, helping all teachers improve with better professional development, and designing teacher pay and career pathways that reward excellence.
In the fourth year of our five-year partnership, teachers have more support to improve and ways to grow. In 2013, 51 percent of teachers had development areas identified on their evaluations—up from three percent before the new evaluation system—and more than 200 top-performing teachers are serving in school leadership roles for the first time.