Advancing Equity and Excellence through Great Teaching
Effective teaching is the most significant school-based factor contributing to student learning. Yet, we know that in Pittsburgh students of color are less likely to experience great teaching consistently throughout their school careers.
Progress achieved in the District to date includes:
A new process for observing and evaluating teacher practice called RISE (Research-based Inclusive System of Evaluation).
A certification process for principals and other school staff to become accredited to observe teachers using the RISE rubric.
The Teaching Institute established at Pittsburgh King and Pittsburgh Brashear as a learning and training ground for effective teaching practices.
Roles for teachers identified as being effective that enable them to support and train other teachers.
Performance-based pay for those teachers who have opted into the process and have proven to be effective.
The development of measures of effective teaching has begun and include teacher observation, student achievement and student feedback.
Current barriers to experiencing great teaching include:
Teacher placement and furlough decisions are seldom based on student needs.
Budgetary and political pressures threaten efforts by the district and union to implement and use measures of effective teaching in meaningful ways.
Teaching and learning environments in the districts’ most vulnerable schools are anemic. These schools lack strong practices, such as school wide behavior management systems, core teams of teachers working together, course placement connected to college and career readiness, etc.
Teachers and other school staff report challenges in engaging students in rigorous work.
Community demand and support for school and teacher improvement in low-income communities is not strongly organized.
Advancing equity and excellence through teaching requires:
Measures of effective teaching that include student achievement, classroom observation, and student feedback.
Staffing decisions based on teacher talents and student needs to ensure that our most vulnerable students have effective teachers.
A deliberate and sustained effort to create positive teaching and learning environments that enable teachers and students to be successful in all schools.
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