ECISD launches LEAP initiative

The goal of Leadership for Ector’s Accelerated Performance is to sharpen the skills of teachers to be effective instructors, and to strengthen the school’s instructional leadership teams. By developing a more effective and supported workforce, ECISD hopes to see higher student achievement in math and ELA.

Unlike any other: The school year ahead

As schools and districts plan for the coming school year, focus cannot simply be on recovery, but on transformation—accelerating learning in the short-term and creating sustainable change in the long-term. It’s time to seize this moment to recast and make learning come alive for all students.

Where to start? Inside one California district’s approach to redesign STEM education, EdSource

Tracy Unified School District is re-thinking its approach to teaching STEM by developing curriculum units that feature science and engineering projects and also integrate elements such as writing, public presentations, math and computer science.

Debunking the myth of the teacher performance plateau, Phi Delta Kappan

There is a belief, long-held but inaccurate, that teachers’ professional skills reach a plateau early in their careers and then barely budge. Districts can set aside these past beliefs and instead build true talent development systems that help educators flourish and grow throughout their careers.

Photo by thekirbster,, CC BY 2.0,

Arming students against bad information, Phi Delta Kappan

With the wealth of information available at one’s fingertips, how can students become good consumers of information? In the age of fake news, teachers in every subject area should redouble their efforts to help students distinguish between credible and deceptive sources of information.

Photo by University of the Fraser Valley,, CC BY 2.0,

R.I. graduates are still not ready, Providence Journal

Jim Kadamus discusses how student test scores and proficiency goals identified in the state’s ESSA plan highlight a monumental challenge ahead for both the K-12 system and higher education in Rhode Island.


Two Virginia School Districts Invest in Teacher Training, See Student Achievement Gains, Education Week

To improve student achievement, invest in teachers. Education Week reports on two five-year studies of districts that successfully used customized professional development, on-the-job coaching, and performance-based compensation to increase student learning in low-performing schools.

ABC News and ITN Productions (UK) videos on CTAC’s work in Maryland and Delhi released nationally.

Testing won’t promote accountability, Providence Journal

Jim Kadamus proposes adding a measure of college and/or career readiness to high school graduation requirements. Then a new high school accountability system would measure schools on whether they were successful in getting their students to be college and/or career ready and require those schools that fall short of this promise to improve or face state intervention.

By the U.S. Department of Education (, CC-BY-2.0

ESSA Implementation Requires Accountable Leadership, School Business Leader

Now that the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) has become law, K–12 leaders will get what they’ve wanted—more flexibility. Joe Frey explores what this means for building locally-developed and supported approaches to school improvement.

What to Do Next With Teacher Evaluations, The Huffington Post

The newly reauthorized federal education law known as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) now prohibits the U.S. Secretary of Education from interfering with state decisions on teacher evaluation. That places the burden on local school boards and superintendents to figure out an approach to teacher evaluation that is not only fair but also supports good teachers and respects their professionalism.

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Robert Stirrup,

California Jolt: State Upends How It Funds and Runs Education, The Huffington Post

Not only is the nation’s biggest state calmly implementing the Common Core State Standards that have roiled the waters in a number of other states, but the Golden State is revamping its entire education architecture, from how dollars flow to schools to how teachers and principals are supported and held accountable.

Photo by Martin Fernandez ( CC-BY-2.0 (

Long Overdue: A New Discourse on School Reform, The Huffington Post

We need reform, so that all U.S. schools are well run places with high quality teachers and high expectations for students. But this requires a new type of collaboration and creativity that transcends the barriers of ideology, money and power.

Helping Principals Beat the Clock, School Administrator

Evaluation systems require principals to spend increasing amounts of time observing each individual teacher. Yet other demands of the job can cut into instructional supervision. In this article, CTAC Senior Associate Joan McRobbie considers how to help support instructional leadership by principals.

School report card

Maryland teachers and principals score well on report card, Chesapeake Family

This article highlights Maryland’s first full report on teacher evaluations and cites Real Progress in Maryland, the report issued by CTAC and WestEd through the Mid-Atlantic Comprehensive Center.

The Elephant in the School Failure Debate, The Huffington Post

No one questions that what educators do or don’t do is key in school success or failure. But poverty also matters. And concentrated poverty matters a lot. If we do nothing to alleviate family poverty, especially in our hardest hit communities, our quest to fix persistently failing schools will continue to fall flat.

Creating R.I. jobs will require serious action on education, Providence Journal

Jim Kadamus, CTAC Board of Directors member and former deputy commissioner at the New York State Department of Education, responds to Rhode Island’s education and work-force agenda in a Providence Journal commentary.

Making the most of teacher evaluations [Editorial], Baltimore Sun

Maryland is, indeed, far ahead of most if not all states both in building support for the [teacher and principal] evaluations and in using them to support the instructional process. But many challenges remain.


Real Progress in Maryland report examines educators, WBAL-TV

A state report just out tracks the progress of how Maryland teachers and principals are adjusting to a new set of evaluations. “It actually gives us our areas of strengths in which we can capitalize, but it also points out our areas of needed improvement,” said state schools Superintendent Lillian Lowery.


Study Shows Progress In Maryland On Teacher And Principal Evaluations, WYPR

A new independent report reveals that Maryland teachers and principals are feeling more comfortable with new evaluation methods that seek to incorporate student achievement.

Md. groups to collaborate on evaluation process for teachers, principals, The Washington Post

Maryland education officials, teachers unions and other education organizations signed a written agreement to collaborate on methods for assessing classroom effectiveness, a central element of the state’s evaluation system for teachers and principals.

Partnership OK’d on teacher evaluations in Md., Associated Press

In response to a unique partnership formed by Maryland education leaders to develop an important part of teacher evaluation, Gov. Martin O’Malley stated, “Every student needs great teachers and school leaders. Every educator needs support and collaboration to be their best.”

Maryland Officials, Unions Reach Accord on Teacher-Evaluation Components, Education Week

Leaders from eight education organizations agree to improve supports for teachers and principals as they develop goals for student academic growth. The goals, known as student learning objectives, foster a spirit of collaboration and provide actionable data for improvement, rather than punishment.

primary school educator helping a student in class

The Common Core and the Unknown Knowns, The Huffington Post

“Teaching this way is an art. As such, it requires learning from the masters.” Read more about the Common Core and its implications for states and school districts across the nation in this blog post by CTAC Senior Associate Joan McRobbie.

concept of tools behind rusty saw

Retool State-to-District Intervention for Better Outcomes, Phi Delta Kappan

Moves by state education departments to improve struggling districts are hampered by a focus on tactics rather than strategy, insufficient capacity building, and community input.


Study: R.I. Teacher Evaluations Seen as Punitive, Providence Journal

The new teacher evaluations should not be tied to teacher certification. There needs to be a new dialogue in Rhode Island.


Students Show Progress Under Teacher-Bonus System, Education Week

A performance-bonus system that made use of “student learning objectives”—academic growth goals set by teachers in consultation with their principals—helped improve student achievement in schools using the measure, concludes a new study.

Student-centered Teacher Evaluations Focus on Learning Goals, EdSource

By now the consensus is clear: California needs a better, more systematic way of supporting and ensuring teacher effectiveness.


Measuring Teachers’ Contributions to Student Learning Growth for Nontested Grades and Subjects, National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality

This Research & Policy Brief was developed to help states consider options for assessing student learning growth for the majority of teachers who teach content not assessed through standardized tests.


The Buck Stops Here: Tying What Students Learn to What Educators Earn, Phi Delta Kappan

Performance-based compensation presents enormous potential as a catalyst for districtwide change. But that will happen only if we manage to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past.

Pen with graph

Data Rich But Information Poor, Education Week

Data just don’t leap off the page and convert themselves to high-quality, useful information. It takes time and skill to organize, analyze, and interpret data properly, and these assets are in short supply in today’s educational landscape.


It’s More Than Money: Making Performance-Based Compensation Work, Center for American Progress

Performance-based compensation involves more than recognizing excellence in teaching; it should expand the system’s overall capacity to support classrooms and improve teaching quality.


Get Performance Pay Right: Six Cornerstones of Successful Compensation Reform, Education Week

Emphasizing student learning and the teacher’s contribution to it can be the lever for change—if the initiative also addresses the district factors that help shape the schools.