In 2016-17, the Opportunity Culture initiative included more than 110 schools, 1250 teachers, and 34,000 students in 17 sites across 7 states. According to the Public Impact website, Opportunity Culture schools are defined by the following characteristics:
- Teachers lead the way. Each Opportunity Culture school creates a team of teachers and administrators who decide what Opportunity Culture models fit their school best and plan critical implementation details, such as how and when teachers collaborate.
- Many more students are reached with excellent teaching. Excellent teachers—those who typically make about 1 1/2 years of progress each year with their students—reach more students directly or by leading teaching teams. Students need that excellent teaching to close achievement gaps, leap ahead, and develop higher-order thinking skills. Good teachers need more support and a team to make the leap to consistent teaching excellence with more students.
- Large, permanent pay supplements are funded through reallocations of current school budgets—not temporary grants—making the higher pay sustainable. Opportunity Culture teachers are earning up to 50 percent more than average teacher pay—$5,000, $10,000, $20,000 supplements and more.
- Teachers gain more protected, school-day planning and collaboration time, achieved through careful scheduling, and clarity about how to use that time. Teams collaborate to plan, review, and improve instruction. Multi-classroom leaders lead and develop teams to ensure success.
- Accountability matches the responsibilities of each person. Teachers can focus on their best subjects and roles with more students, with accountability matching what they take on. Multi-classroom leaders take formal accountability for the results of all the students served by the teachers on his or her team, unlike typical coach/facilitator/mentor roles.
Early data from the initiative reveal that:
- Teachers in these schools typically reach 33 percent to 300 percent more students than average, without increasing instructional group sizes.
- All of the schools that implemented Opportunity Culture models schoolwide showed high growth in reading and math by the second year of implementation.
- Schools implementing the models gradually showed 42 percent to 70 percent more high growth, and substantially less low growth, in Opportunity Culture classrooms than comparable non-Opportunity Culture classrooms in the same and other schools.
- In an anonymous survey, a large majority of teachers and staff agreed with a wide range of positive statements about their Opportunity Culture models. For example, 92 percent, 96 percent, and 98 percent of MCLs, respectively, agreed with statements that teachers who excel in teaching can earn more, lead colleagues, and reach more students in their schools.
- Teachers earned up to $23,000 supplements from regular school budgets, with an average of $10,000 for advanced roles.
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