The most effective grant initiatives will ultimately be those that aim to transform systems and structures through sustainable processes that build capacity, strengthen connections, and heal the conditions of our schools and communities. Since initiatives are only as valuable as how they are used to shift school culture and practices, the extent to which they will be successful depends on the capacity of people on the ground floor to leverage their implementation as a vehicle for change.
November 2013 Archives
Well-constructed teacher-residency programs can break the cycle of ineffective teacher preparation, give a boost to educators all along the career spectrum, and provide innovative models for how to invest in teacher development.
The greatest asset schools have to improve student achievement is their human capital. And for most school districts, that resource is underutilized. The problem is worsened by the fact that teachers do not have the time to collaborate within a traditional teaching schedule. Philanthropists should help schools tap their invaluable resources by providing funding for teacher-led professional development of all kindsincluding the additional personnel that may be needed to secure more time for teachers to collaborate and learn.
Without consistency in their teaching staff, city schools are constantly stuck in survival mode, and students suffer. This same issue contributes to the significant principal-retention problem we have as well. It's time to invest some serious attention and funding into initiatives that will keep our best teachers where they are needed most: with students.
Too many teachers I talk to, at all stages in their career and in a variety of school settings, tell me they are thinking about leaving the pool altogether. Capacity lags behind the newly defined goals for the teaching profession. The focused support for building this capacity in a strategic, sustainable way is the next step for educational philanthropy.