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Teach Plus Awarded Three-Year Network for School Improvement Grant

March 18, 2021
Project Will Engage K-8 Schools in the Chicago Public Schools in Partnership with District

Chicago, IL―Teach Plus has been selected by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as a recipient of a three-year, $4.9M Networks for School Improvement (NSI) grant to deepen its partnership with the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and lead an NSI project that engages 15 K-8 schools in the district. The project, which launched on March 13 with 45 teacher leaders, administrators, and CPS network staff members, aims is to increase the percentage of Black, Latino, and low-income 8th grade students who are engaged, learning, and improving their academic performance in mathematics and reading. With this grant, Teach Plus will build upon the success of its inaugural NSI project that supported a network of schools across Chicago and Los Angeles.

“Our Network for School Improvement initiative is central to our commitment to advance student equity here at Teach Plus. Through this project, we will support teachers, principals, and leaders across Chicago’s schools to develop and implement classroom changes that will benefit students. We’re excited to be able to advance this work with our partners and to coach our teacher leaders and network teams to enhance teaching and learning,” said Teach Plus President and CEO Roberto J. Rodríguez. 

Teach Plus’ work is built on the premise that teacher leadership is a key component of advancing student progress and transforming schools. In the Teach Plus NSI project, teacher leaders will act as critical change agents of both school teams and the network to identify challenges and solutions and accelerate student improvement. 

“Teach Plus works with schools to build teacher leaders in the best way―through project-based action. They give teacher leaders the tools, authority, and agency to improve schools. We are thrilled to partner with Teach Plus in the new Network for School Improvement program to build lasting systems and expectations for teacher leadership, increase teachers' skills and competencies, and have a positive impact on student achievement for years to come,” said Dr. Aaron Rucker, CPS Principal.

The project, which engages teams of teacher leaders in Bond, Burnham, Coles, Cook, Davis N, De Diego, Eberhart, Gunsaulus, Langford, Lee, Mason, Nightingale, Ryder, Tanner, and Vanderpoel schools, has three main components:

  • Distributed leadership. The NSI school network teams include administrators, school content coaches, and teacher leaders. Teach Plus will coach principals on how to create effective distributed leadership structures, and teacher leaders on how to lead the continuous improvement process and ensure that their peers’ practices improve over time.
  • Implementation of high-quality curricula and instructional materials. Teach Plus will support the adoption of materials, work with the district as it develops its success criteria for schools seeking to adopt the new materials and shift instruction, and ensure that more schools adopt the materials by requiring their use as a prerequisite for their participation. 
  • Strong partnerships. Teach Plus will act as a hub, bringing in partners based on the shared need and problems of practice identified by the NSI network schools. Partners include the Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy, who will provide continuous Improvement expertise and technical assistance; the Standards Institute at UnBound Ed, who increase teacher leaders’ understanding of standards and curriculum through an equity-based, inclusive and anti-racist lens; and mathematics content experts.

“Our model at Teach Plus of developing and supporting teacher leadership in schools is a critical lever for sustainable change. With support from the Gates Foundation, we are taking an important step forward to more fully realize the potential of our teacher leaders to dismantle systemic barriers and advance equity and opportunity for students,” said Mr. Rodriguez.

About Teach Plus
The mission of Teach Plus is to empower excellent, experienced, and diverse teachers to take leadership over key policy and practice issues that affect their students’ success. Since 2009, Teach Plus has developed thousands of teacher leaders across the country to exercise their leadership in shaping education policy and improving teaching and learning, to create an education system driven by access and excellence for all.  teachplus.org