- Susan Freedman, Former President of Teachers21 and Human Resource Pilot Project Leader
- Tim Sullivan, Vice President of the Massachusetts Teachers Association
Five Purposes of the Human Resource Pilot Project:
- Strengthen/optimize each of the 7 levers on teaching expertise
- Align levers with each other to eliminate overlap
- Infuse appropriate parts of the High Expertise Teaching (HET) knowledge base into the operation of each lever
- Ensure that lever plans are integrated with other improvement commitments/efforts in the district
- Adhere to key district change principles
In the Human Resources Pilot Project, the Working Group for Educator Excellence (WGEE) and the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) are partnering to support three urban districts to strengthen and systematically align the following seven key elements of the human resources pipeline: Recruitment, Hiring, and Placement; Comprehensive Induction; Professional Development; Supervision and Evaluation; Teacher Leadership; Organizational Structure; and School Culture. The project aims to embed these processes at appropriate stages throughout a teacher’s career complemented by a common core of professional knowledge about successful teaching, learning and leading.
In most districts, the seven local processes that influence the expertise of teachers and leaders are frequently disconnected from each other and from a common core of professional knowledge about teaching and leading. The Human Resources Pilot Project aims to demonstrate that comprehensive reform of the human resources pipeline will lead not only to cost-effective changes in human resource systems but also improved learning experiences for students. This project is designed to make human personnel processes work in concert with each other and operate smoothly together so that appropriate parts of professional knowledge and skill show up in each process at the appropriate stage of an educator’s career. Thus, the cumulative effect is a truly professional working environment designed to ensure career-long learning for every teacher and a career path to look forward to.
The Human Resources Pilot Project takes a bold stand that local educational stakeholders must participate in these efforts to redesign the educator pipeline and base it in validated, accountable, expertise-based performance in order to achieve dramatic improvements in student achievement. By increasing the capacity of all the educators in the system and creating a systematic pipeline for continuing to feed high capacity people into the schools, we believe that student gains will be substantive and sustainable.
As technical assistance provider, the WGEE helps coordinate the resources and expertise of its diverse membership to support district-wide reform in Brockton, Attleboro and Revere. In addition to providing regular on-site support, the WGEE, the DESE and their partners collaborate frequently to provide research-based best practices to aid teaching, learning and leading in each district. The WGEE also hosts regular technical assistance workshops to create opportunities for districts to discuss challenges and successes and to generate, collaboratively, innovative methods for systemic reform. Dissemination of information occurs through monthly newsletters, each focused on a particular aspect of the human resources pipeline. Finally, the WGEE, in partnership with an external evaluator, is also working to synthesize what is learned to help facilitate project replication.
Brockton is a large urban district serving 15,500 public school students in grades PK-12, of whom 72 % are classified as low-income. Roughly 14 % of students participate in special education programs. The composition of the district is: African-American, 50.8 %; Asian, 2.5 %t; Hispanic, 14.1 %; and multi-race, 3.2 %. More than 17 % of students have limited English proficiency, and 32.2 % speak a first language other than English. Brockton is facing a considerable challenge: the ELL population has doubled in the past five years. Educators are attempting to focus their PD on demonstrated needs. The district has followed a strategy of shared ownership for the instructional improvement agenda with the union. It has historically had a commitment to recruiting and hiring teachers of color who share the cultural and linguistic backgrounds of the populations they educate. In addition, there is a high number of highly qualified teachers within the district. The student population presents many challenges that could be addressed successfully through this pilot project.
The Attleboro Public Schools serve 5,936 students, of whom 28 % are classified as low-income. Some 15.5 % of the students participate in special education programs. The racial composition of the district is: white, 76.6 %; African-American, 3.8 %; Asian, 4.8 %; Hispanic, 7.2 %; and multi-racial, 7.6 %. More than 13 % of students speak a first language other than English. The district has demonstrated effective collaboration with their stakeholders in the past, along with an emphasis on improving the system rather than just improving the schools as separate entities. In addition, most teachers have six or seven years of experience. This gives the pilot unique and important challenges in terms of impacting the system as well as scaling its work up to other districts.
The Revere Public Schools serve 6,252 students, of whom 45.1 % are white, 3.9 % are African American, 6.9 % are Asian, 40 % are Hispanic, and 3.4 % are multi-racial. Due to the high percentage of Hispanic students, 45 % of students speak a first language other than English. In addition, 71 % of students are classified as low-income. Revere’s special needs program serves 17.8 % of the students in the district. Revere’s high concentration of ELL students makes it another critical district for this intervention, since working with this district will provide important insight into the unique demands on those with similar demographics.