Duval County Public Schools released their new strategic plan this week, and among the top priorities for the district moving forward are recruiting, developing and retaining great teachers and leaders, as well as ensuring equitable and efficient use of resources.
Meeting both of these goals simultaneously is going to require some strategic, new thinking about teacher roles and classroom structures if we hope to attract, reward and retain enough high quality teachers to cover every student in the 22nd largest school district in America on a shrinking budget. Put simply: how can we pay and support teachers more without also spending more?
Public Impact, a North Carolina-based education policy and management consulting firm, puts forth a number of new ideas for rethinking the traditional teacher role to try to allow top teachers to reach more students, and more resources to reach top teachers. In the video above, they outline four major reorganization strategies to try to achieve these goals, including:
- Class-size changes: Not simply increasing all class sizes to push more students into fewer classrooms, but allowing more flexibility at the school level to determine which teachers and subjects can handle a few more students without sacrificing quality, and which students and teachers would benefit most from even smaller group sizes.
- Specialization: Having top teachers, particularly in elementary school, teach only core subjects while developing teachers learn by example and take care of students the rest of the time.
- Multi-classroom leadership: Having top teachers take on a coaching and oversight role that puts them in charge of several classrooms - allowing them to expand what they know works to reach students across multiple classrooms, while rising in their own career path as well.
- Time-technology swaps: Investing in new ways to incorporate classroom technology to handle the reinforcing of basic skills lessons and practice to allow top teachers more time for small group and individual instruction with more students.
Certainly these are just a few ideas, and we would need to take a hard look at each to figure out which of (and to what degree) these ideas might be right for our students in Duval County - but they offer us an interesting platform of ideas to get that conversation started.
Watch the video above for more information, and for more specific details on the implementation models and projected savings, check out the complete reports available at the Opportunity Culture website.