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Teacher-Designed School Accountability System Named Finalist in National Competition

February 2, 2016

Teach Plus Teachers Present Their New Model in Thomas B. Fordham Institute’s ESSA Accountability Design Competition

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Teach Plus teachers take the stage today to present their new, two-tiered school accountability system to a national audience.  The system, which meets the requirements of the nation’s newly-enacted Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), was developed by 12 highly-effective teachers who teach in high-poverty schools in Baltimore, Chicago, Los Angeles, Memphis, and Washington, D.C.  The system allows schools to both report on and learn about the factors most important to their success. 

The design was selected as one of ten best in the Thomas B. Fordham Institute’s ESSA Accountability Design Competition and is the only teacher-designed accountability system among the finalists.  The teachers present their system today at 3:30 pm on the Fordham stage in front of a distinguished panel of judges and national audience that will watch virtually via a livestream in an American Idol-style competition.

“The passage of a new education law gives teachers a unique opportunity to share classroom-tested ideas for a strong accountability system that helps set kids up for success,” said Chris Hofmann, a 4th grade teacher at KIPP Raices Academy in Los Angeles and Teach Plus Teaching Policy Fellowship alum. “Our team’s two-tiered system approach allows us to focus on what is most important for our students, while collecting information about all the key factors that make a school great.”

The two-tiered system includes academic and non-academic indicators of school quality such as measures of grade-level proficiency, student growth, school climate, and culture and student attendance (Tier 1).  Tier 2 indicators provide states, districts and schools with potentially ‘predictive’ information to help them improve performance on the Tier 1 factors.  Examples of Tier 2 indicators include integrated curriculum, advanced courses and STEM teacher leadership, and home visiting programs.

In their proposal, the teachers emphasize that this accountability system would serve students and schools well because it prioritizes academic indicators without losing sight of the important role that non-academic indicators play in a school’s success, and that they would like to teach in a state that establishes such a system.

“The teachers carefully considered what is most important to school quality and will make the most difference for kids.  They developed a rating system that is simple, easy-to-understand and, most importantly, easy to act upon,” said Alice Johnson Cain, Teach Plus Executive Vice President for Policy and Partnerships.  “We hope that states consider our teachers’ ideas as they tackle the difficult challenge of creating new accountability systems under ESSA.”

Teach Plus Teaching Policy Fellows and alums who designed the system are:
Rebecca Belleville, 8th grade art teacher, Baltimore Design School, Baltimore, MD
Clare Berke, 9th grade English teacher, Benjamin Banneker Academic High School, Washington, D.C.
Melissa Collins, 2nd grade teacher and ELA Common Core coach, John P. Freeman Optional School, Memphis, TN
Chris Hofmann, 4th grade teacher, KIPP Raices Academy, Los Angeles, CA
Audrey Jackson, 5th grade inclusion teacher, Joseph P. Manning Elementary School, Boston, MA
Rachel Man, 6th grade reading/English Language Arts teacher, Dwight D. Eisenhower Middle School, Laurel, MD
Raquel Maya Carson, 2nd grade dual language teacher, Powell Elementary School, Washington, D.C.
Micah Miner, instructional technology coach, Stevenson Middle School, Chicago, IL
George Mueller, high school social science teacher, Dunbar Vocational Career Academy, Chicago, IL
Paige Nilson, 2nd grade teacher, Hamilton Elementary, Chicago, IL
Christina Ross, government teacher, City Neighbors High School, Baltimore, MD
Stephanie Spangler, 4th grade teacher, Tubman Elementary School, Washington, D.C.

About Teach Plus
Teach Plus empowers excellent, experienced teachers to take leadership over key policy and practice issues that affect their students’ success. Teach Plus runs three programs designed to place teacher leaders at the center of improvements in policy and practice: Teaching Policy Fellowship, C2 Initiative, and T3 Initiative.  The programs focus on demonstrably effective teachers who want to continue classroom teaching while also expanding their impact as leaders in their schools and in district, state, and national policy.  Since its inception in August 2009, Teach Plus has grown to a network of more than 22,000 solutions-oriented teachers across the country.  www.teachplus.org