How Do We Know How We’re Doing?

R3 was birthed out of a desire to invest in teachers in our district, in response to a concern we had as a district that too many of our teachers were either leaving the classroom or the profession because they in large part because they felt there were not opportunities to increase their influence and their compensation.  So four years ago Pitt County Schools launched the KeyBT program in an effort to engage and empower our innovative, creative, and effective BTs as collaborative leaders.  About a year later, the initial class of the Teacher Leadership Institute (TLI) began in an effort to develop teacher leaders across the district, and then this past year we began a multi-year effort to implement multiple career pathway positions by implementing the Facilitating Teacher and Collaborating Teacher paths.

While not required by any federal or state agency, nor by any of our grantors, we believed strongly that if we were going to engage in this new work we wanted to know the answer to a few key questions, including:

  1. Were we implementing the programs with fidelity toward our original goals and designs, while being responsive to the lessons we learned over time?
  2. Were we being fiscally responsible with the funds we had been entrusted with from the district, as well as our grantors (some of which are governmental agencies and others are non-profit organizations)?
  3. Were we making progress toward our over-arching goals to recruit, retain, and reward effective teachers in the district?

Congruent with those values and questions, then, we released a detailed request for proposals (RFP) for a qualified, independent program evaluator who would help answer these questions (among others).  After a team of us up here in DEEL reviewed all the proposals submitted we narrowed it down to three potential partners whom we invited to Greenville for in-person presentations and interviews.  Finally, we awarded the contract to Measurement Incorporated last September.

Throughout the fall of 2017 we worked with our program contact regarding design of the evaluation, and they spent several days on site here in Pitt County conducting interviews, focus groups, and administering online surveys in an effort collect some initial data for the first formative report.  As part of the contract with MI, they are responsible to both provide evaluation services and offer us regular reports we can use formatively in program design and implementation.  I’m please to announce that the first quarterly report was received on February 6, 2018 and can be accessed by clicking here.

This first quarterly report is focused on providing some initial data to answer three key questions:

  • What is the level of educator awareness and understanding of the R3 Framework elements?
  • To what extent are the R3 Framework elements aligned with educators’ needs and professional goals?
  • To what extent are R3 participants satisfied with the quality of the supports, program components, and timelines?

While you can certainly read the entire report at the link above (it’s about 8 pages), here are some of the initial findings:

  • Awareness and understanding of the components of the model is still growing and evolving, and there is a desire that more people outside the program components better understood them (question #1);
  • Teachers report that the goals of the program are aligning with their goals as professionals (question #2);
  • Teachers report significant satisfaction regarding the training and support they receive as part of the program, in particular the Adaptive Schools training and the work of the Career Pathway Specialists (question #3).

While overall the report was very complimentary of the work here in Pitt County, we are using the lessons learned to continually tweak and improve what we’re doing.  So in response to what we’ve learned, here are some of the things we are doing moving forward.

  1. We will continue to offer Adaptive Schools to those in the pathways.  Part of this involves certifying additional trainers so that more trainings can be offered, and we are in the middle of the process of certifying two additional trainers.  Our hope is to begin offering Adaptive Schools to Collaborating Teachers on an optional basis in the next 12-18 months.
  2. We are focusing on increasing the amount of communication we share out regarding the program, to help increase the level of knowledge and understanding of the programs.  In December we held an initial meeting of a Teacher Advisory Council, made up of representative teachers from across the county.  In the past two months they have met twice to help provide us feedback on the program, advice on key decisions we are making,  and share information with other teachers in the district.
  3. We have implemented an expectation that teachers involved in TLI will provide presentations on their projects back at their home school so other teachers become aware of both the program in general and the work the teacher is doing in particular.  We are also designing a formalized sharing-out process for Facilitating Teachers to report on the work their Communities of Practice are engaged in.
  4. We have formalized the roles and responsibilities of principals on our Principal Advisory Team and are working with district leaders to provide regular time to report-out at principal meetings.
  5. We are working with administrators and school leadership teams to further clarify the expectations and responsibilities for FTs as well as the new role of MCTs.

We were incredibly encouraged by this initial report, and so now we are looking forward to continuing the work, which includes both refining what we are doing and expanding work through new initiatives beginning next year.

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