Teacher Effectiveness: Supporting Classroom Excellence
Student learning is critically linked to teacher effectiveness. Yet, Minnesota’s strict seniority-based policy prioritizes seniority over performance. Ending seniority-only layoffs will help our schools keep the best teachers in the classroom.
We also know that it’s important to invest in teachers’ success, and have seen how stronger instructional teams can support student learning. High-performing schools like Hiawatha Leadership Academy and Harvest Preparatory take advantage of instructional teams to support individual students, share student progress, and collaborate on techniques and strategies.
Why it Matters:
- Teachers are the most influential school-based factor in student’s life and achievement.
- 98 percent of principals report having lost a teacher to layoffs they wanted to keep.
- 96 percent of Minnesotans believe student learning progress should be an important factor in determining which teachers to lay off first.
- Join MinnCAN’s campaign to keep the best teachers in the classroom.
- Celebrate great teachers and support, replicate, and spotlight effective teaching strategies.
- Get involved in your neighborhood school and help create a culture of high expectations and accountability that supports student learning and achievement.
Teachers Team Up for Student Success
Harvest Preparatory Academy
Did you know that there is a school that has closed the achievement gap? Students at Harvest Preparatory Academy scored above the statewide average in reading, closing the gap between white and black students.
The schools’ “no excuse, whatever it takes” attitude toward student success, set high expectations for the schools’ predominantly low income students of color who in return, met and exceeded the state’s average. With its students outperforming their peers in reading and math by 46% and 100% respectively, Harvest Prep shows us what’s possible.
At Harvest Prep, each classroom has two teachers who share instructional responsibilities. This arrangement allows for more individual attention and small group work with students, and it creates a space for teachers to share student progress and collaborate with one another to improve student success.
Effective teachers can and do make a difference in preparing our students to success in life, college, and career.
Fueling success in the classroom
Teach for America
To close the achievement gap, Teach For America recruits recent college graduates to teach for two years in urban and rural public schools; trains these “corps members” to have an immediate positive impact on students; and fosters the leadership development of program alumni as they address the problem from beyond the classroom.
Teach for America launched a Twin Cities chapter in 2009, placing teachers within district and charters schools that serve high percentages of low-income students. One of these teachers, Patrick Tanis, led his students to 2 years average growth in math and 1.9 years in reading in just one year by creating individual reading plans, requiring an hour of reading per day, sharing best practices with veteran teachers, and supplementing his math curriculum corps.
Tanis is not exceptional among Teach for America corps members. A 2004 study found that students of Teach For America corps members attained significantly greater gains in math compared with students of other teachers.