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Educator Excellence

Information and resources regarding educator excellence aligned to the Greatness by Design report from the Educator Excellence Task Force.

In 2012, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson appointed an Educator Excellence Task Force to focus on the Educator Quality element of the Blueprint for Great Schools (released in August 2011) designed to strengthen California’s teacher corps. The task force was a joint effort between the California Department of Education (CDE) and the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

The resulting 90-page report, Greatness by Design: Supporting Outstanding Teaching to Sustain a Golden State (GbD) (PDF; 4MB), addresses the recruitment of new teachers, including the need to develop a diverse, high-quality workforce of teachers and principals. It examines quality induction programs that can help teachers improve early in their careers—often the key to keeping promising new teachers in the classroom. The report also looks closely at the kind of ongoing training and support teachers need throughout their careers, including linking professional learning expectations to the certification renewal process. The report thoroughly examines how to provide a career development framework that fosters growth and leadership opportunities for teachers throughout their careers and takes a close look at how to improve the evaluation process, including how to collaborate with teachers and incorporate valid measures of student learning.

Below you will find resources and information regarding important aspects of educator excellence aligned to the recommendations in GbD. Additional resources related to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Title II, Part A, are available on the Improving Teacher and Principal Quality Web page.

2016 Educator Excellence Summit

Hosted by the California Department of Education in partnership with key California educational stakeholders, the 2016 California Educator Excellence Summit highlighted the work of California's local educational agencies as it relates to Greatness by Design and the Superintendent's Quality Professional Learning Standards. Recorded sessions from the Summit are available for review on the on the Summit Web page.

Recruitment

What can schools do to recruit teachers who are passionate and talented? [First], assume that strong teachers do view their profession as a calling and that what they want most is an environment that respects and supports the growth of their teaching practice. A strong teacher won’t stay in the profession very long unless she is given the time, respect, resources and support necessary to be proud of her work. (Greatness by Design [PDF; 4MB], Chapter 2: Recruiting and Distributing Excellent Educators to All Communities, p. 19.)

Below you will find information and resources regarding educator recruitment.

Resources for Recruiting Excellent Educators

Title II Compliance Monitoring Intervention and Sanctions
Resources, templates, and forms related to monitoring, intervention, and sanctions.

Improving Teacher and Principal Quality
California's plan to implement NCLB Title II, Part A regulations/requirements to prepare, train and recruit highly qualified teachers and principals.

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards
The California Department of Education actively supports teachers in their efforts to achieve advanced certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

State and Federal Resources and Guidance
Related guidance, resources, templates, and forms for ESEA, Improving Teacher and Principal Quality.

Center on Great Teachers and Leaders External link opens in new window or tab.
Learn about policies that can support building a strong, sustainable school leadership pipeline.

How Teacher Turnover Harms Student Achievement External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
Researchers and policymakers often assume that teacher turnover harms student achievement, but recent evidence included in this National Bureau of Economic Research working paper calls into question this assumption.

Retaining Teachers of Color in Our Public Schools External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
Teachers of color are significantly underrepresented in the public school population, despite the fact that the number of students of color is growing rapidly. The Center for American Progress explores reasons for low teacher retention rates and discusses promising retention policies and practices to ensure that the most capable teachers of color enter and remain in our public schools.

Retention of New Teachers in California External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
A quarter of new hires every year simply replace departing new teachers, and this turnover will be more challenging in the future as more experienced teachers reach retirement age. The Public Policy Institute of California presents this study to increase understanding of teacher retention in California and of the public policies that could improve it.

How Teaching Conditions Predict Teacher Turnover in California Schools External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
This article published in the Peabody Journal of Education focuses on the organizational predictors of high attrition rates in schools where turnover is a major problem and vacancies are difficult to fill.

Preparation

It is essential that all educators are well prepared and well supported in order to have a stable, diverse, high-quality educator workforce that serves all of California’s culturally and linguistically diverse students from preschool through high school in every community. (Greatness by Design [PDF; 4MB], Chapter 3: Educator Preparation, p. 28.)

Below you will find information and resources regarding educator preparation in California.

Commission on Teacher Credentialing External link opens in new window or tab.
The CTC is responsible for licensing (credentialing) California teachers.

Credential Requirements

Educator Preparation and Development

Become a Teacher
Resources for individuals considering a career in teaching.

Educator Professional Standards
Information about professional standards for educators.

Induction

Studies have long shown that high-quality teacher induction programs lead to teachers who stay in the profession at higher rates, accelerated professional growth among new teachers and improved student learning... Effective professional acculturation of teachers and leaders requires thoughtful investments in induction focused on rigorous standards for programs, clear criteria for competency, opportunities for personalized learning, strong infrastructure to support effective systems, and sufficient time for growth and development. (Greatness by Design [PDF; 4MB], Chapter 4: Induction of Teachers and Leaders, pp. 39-41.)

Below you will find information and resources regarding teacher and leader induction in California.

Induction Resources

Educator Professional Standards
Information about professional standards for educators.

California Commission on Teacher Credentialing External link opens in new window or tab.
This page reflects the work of the Professional Services Division of the Commission and is primarily intended for colleges and universities, districts and county offices of education, and induction programs that offer or seek to offer preparation programs for California educators.

Peer Assistance and Review: Poway Unified School District External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
Since 1986, the Poway Unified School District and the Poway Federation of Teachers have partnered on the development and implementation of a Professional Assistance Program designed to provide fair, timely, and thoughtful evaluation and support of both beginning teachers and struggling experienced teachers.

Professional Learning

Professional learning is the process in which education professionals—teachers, administrators, and others—actively learn (through critical analysis of practice, reflection on their own teaching, collaboration with colleagues, and other interactive tasks) the knowledge and skills needed to improve teaching, leading, and student learning. Professional learning can be formal or informal, but its goal is always to improve student learning and achievement. (English Language Arts/English Language Development (ELA/ELD) Framework, Chapter 11, p. 976.)

This topic is addressed in Greatness by Design (PDF; 4MB), Chapter 5: Opportunities for Professional Learning, pp. 50-58.

Below you will find information and resources regarding professional learning.

Characteristics of High Quality Professional Learning

Quality Professional Learning Standards
Quality professional learning standards identify characteristics of professional learning that are most likely to support educators in building individual and collective capacity to meet professional, school, and student performance expectations.

Chapter 11: Implementing High-Quality ELA/Literacy and ELD Instruction: Professional Learning, Leadership, and Program Supports (PDF)
This chapter of the 2014 ELA/ELD Framework provides guidance regarding professional learning that will support high quality ELA/ELD instruction.

Supporting High Quality Common Core Mathematics Instruction (PDF)
This chapter of the 2013 Mathematics Framework describes the broad support required to plan and implement effective and efficient mathematics instruction that meets the needs of every student.

Quality Schooling Framework: Professional Learning
The Quality Schooling Framework is the California educator’s destination for timely tools and practices to guide effective planning, policy, expenditure, and instructional decisions at all schools and districts. It is a collection of evidence-based tools, practices and resources for California schools and districts to ensure that all students learn and thrive in a global economy.

Professional Learning Resources for Educators

Curriculum Areas
Professional learning resources for teachers, principals, paraprofessionals and other staff in English language arts, history-social science, mathematics, physical education, science, visual and performing arts, and world language.

Common Core State Standards
Information and frequently asked questions about the academic content standards for English language arts, literacy, and mathematics adopted by the State Board of Education in 2010.

Common Core Professional Learning Modules
Resources for individual or facilitated professional learning designed for understanding and implementing the Common Core State Standards.

Digital Chalkboard
An online tool for California educator collaboration and resource sharing.

National Certification for Teachers
Information regarding how to achieve advanced certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

Professional Learning Opportunities
The CDE Professional Learning Opportunities Web site offers a list of in-person and online statewide professional learning opportunities sponsored by the CDE, county offices of education, local educational agencies, and institutions of higher education as well as other not-for-profit agencies.

California Subject Matter Project External link opens in new window or tab.
The California Subject Matter Project is a network of nine discipline-based statewide projects that support on-going quality professional development. Activities and programs are designed by university faculty, teacher leaders, and teacher practitioners to improve instructional practices and lead to increased achievement for all students.

Evaluation

The focus of any evaluation system should be to improve practice, to close achievement gaps among various groups of students and to prepare more students for success in college and careers. Any evaluation system that strays from this basic tenet also strays from the basic mission of serving all students. An effective system for evaluating teachers, administrators and other staff will have, at minimum, the following features:

  • It is tied to professional standards and ensures educator performance is assessed against those standards;
  • It is informed by data from a variety of sources, including valid measures of educator practice and student learning and growth;
  • It is a priority within the district, with dedicated time, training and support provided to evaluators and to those who mentor educators needing assistance;
  • It differentiates based on the educator’s level of experience and individual needs;
  • It values and supports collaboration, which feeds whole school improvement; and
  • It meets legal and ethical standards for employment decisions and provides a system that allows these decisions to be made in an efficient, fair and effective way.

(Greatness by Design [PDF; 4MB], Chapter 6: Educator Evaluation, p. 59.)

Below you will find information and resources regarding educator evaluation.

Educator Evaluation Resources

Educator Professional Standards
Information about professional standards for educators.

Center on Great Teachers and Leaders External link opens in new window or tab.
The Center on Great Teachers and Leaders (GTL Center) is based at American Institutes for Research and funded through a cooperative agreement by the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education at the U.S. Department of Education. Formerly called the National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality, the GTL Center supports state education leaders in their efforts to grow, respect, and retain great teachers and leaders for all students.

The MET project External link opens in new window or tab.
The MET Project is a research partnership of academics, teachers, and education organizations committed to investigating better ways to identify and develop effective teaching. Funding comes from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

  • Seeing It Clearly: Building Trust in Observations External link opens in new window or tab.
    A tool to create plans for continual improvement of an observation system, no matter where they are in their implementation. Included are action steps to improve observation rubrics, observer training, observer assessment, and monitoring. A planning process is described to assess current status, determine next steps, and plan for sustained improvement.

Creating a Comprehensive System for Evaluating and Supporting Effective Teaching External link opens in new window or tab.
This Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education report outlines an integrated approach that connects these goals to a teaching-career continuum and a professional learning system that supports effectiveness for all teachers at every stage of their careers.

The Mind Shift in Teacher Evaluation: Where We Stand-and Where We Need to Go External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
An article by Angela Minnici, Director of the GTL Center, that explores the successes and challenges of implementing evaluation systems (2014).

One Piece of the Whole: Teacher Evaluation as Part of a Comprehensive System for Teaching and Learning External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
An article by Linda Darling-Hammond, the Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education at the Stanford Graduate School of Education, that details how teacher evaluation and training and collaboration create a healthy environment for teaching (2014).

Leadership

Leadership in education cannot be limited to the ways in which formal roles in the bureaucracy were designed a century ago. Many of the conventional ways of leading schools and districts must be rethought if high levels of excellence and adaptations to meet the needs of all students are to occur. This will require a new vision for how schools are regulated, designed and led by policymakers, administrators and teachers – all of whom will have new leadership roles to play. We must embody the state’s innovative tradition by creating an educational system that builds capacity for success and inspires motivated and talented teachers and administrators to lead schools with a sense of urgency and unrelenting focus on student success. (Greatness by Design [PDF; 4MB] Chapter 7: Leadership and Career Development, p. 72.)

Below you will find information and resources regarding leadership and career development.

Leadership and Career Development Resources

California Subject Matter Project External link opens in new window or tab.
The California Subject Matter Project is a network of nine discipline-based statewide projects that support on-going quality professional development. Activities and programs are designed by university faculty, teacher leaders, and teacher practitioners to improve instructional practices and lead to increased achievement for all students.

National Certification for Teachers External link opens in new window or tab.
Information regarding how to achieve advanced certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

Teacher Leader Model Standards External link opens in new window or tab.
In 2008, the Teacher Leadership Exploratory Consortium developed model standards for teacher leadership. Members of the Consortium wrote, “If we want schools to be laboratories of innovation able to tackle the significant challenges they face, school leaders and teacher leaders must work together to identify, replicate and scale up programs and practices deemed effective in supporting student learning.”

New Leaders External link opens in new window or tab.
New Leaders is a national nonprofit that develops transformational school leaders and designs effective leadership policies and practices for school systems across the country.

  • Untapped: Transforming Teacher Leadership to Help Students Succeed External link opens in new window or tab.
    This evaluation research from the first two years of New Leaders’ Emerging Leaders Program (ELP)—a program that provides job-embedded training and coaching to teacher leaders— that indicates that even while still in training, almost three quarters of participants were able to increase student learning across the classrooms they supervised.

Center on Great Teachers and Leaders External link opens in new window or tab.
The Center on Great Teachers and Leaders (GTL Center) is based at American Institutes for Research and funded through a cooperative agreement by the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education at the U.S. Department of Education. Formerly called the National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality, the GTL Center supports state education leaders in their efforts to grow, respect, and retain great teachers and leaders for all students.

The MET Project External link opens in new window or tab.
The MET Project is a research partnership of academics, teachers, and education organizations committed to investigating better ways to identify and develop effective teaching. Funding comes from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Leading from the Front of the Classroom: A Roadmap for Teacher Leadership that Works External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
In this paper, Leading Educators and the Aspen Institute propose a roadmap to empower teachers to lead from the front of the classroom. The paper outlines key phases that system administrators will need to consider as they build teacher leadership systems that address their highest priorities. For each phase, we offer a narrative description, high-impact action steps, common missteps, and discussion questions for further exploration.

Teacher Solutions: Many Ways Up, No Reason to Move Out External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
A report by teachers from the Bay Area New Millennium Initiative, a project of the Center for Teaching Quality, suggest a new model that encourages effective teachers to use their expertise to solve our schools' most pressing problems, while continuing to work with students on a regular basis.

The Teacher Leadership Competencies External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
A model, developed by the Teacher Leadership Initiative, comprised of the National Education Association, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, and the Center for Teaching Quality, brings together three intertwined pathways that define the ways in which teachers can blaze new paths in education: instructional leadership, policy leadership, and association leadership.

Equity

Educational equity has been a thoughtfully and deliberatively discussed priority for many years. California is already implementing a number of ambitious and proactive research-based strategies and initiatives designed to achieve the objectives described in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. California Department of Education plans to leverage and expand upon this work to recruit, prepare, and maintain a highly skilled educator workforce for the benefit of all students and to promote equitable access to an excellent education for students from historically underserved communities, in particular.

Equity should be accomplished in substantial part by paying greater attention to improving teaching and learning conditions in high-needs schools. (Greatness by Design [PDF; 4MB], Chapter 2: Recruiting and Distributing Excellent Educators to all Communities, p. 26.)

Below you will find resources related to equity for teachers and administrators that are culturally diverse and are highly-qualified to meet California’s needs.

Equity Resources for Educators

California's 2015 State Plan to Ensure Equitable Access to Excellent Educators (PDF)
This plan details a theory of action and progress toward achieving equitable access to excellent teachers and leaders for all students.

Center on Great Teachers and Leaders Equitable Access Toolkit External link opens in new window or tab.
This site is designed to support regional centers, state education agencies, districts, schools, and educator preparation programs understand the issues, set priorities, raise awareness, take action, and measure progress toward equity. It can also be used as a resource for states as they design and implement their State Plans to Ensure Equitable Access to Excellent Educators.

Title II Compliance Monitoring Intervention and Sanctions
Resources, templates, and forms related to monitoring, intervention, and sanctions.

California’s Teacher Equity Plan (DOC)
Addresses Requirement Six of the State’s Plan for Highly Qualified Teachers, written and approved by the State Board of Education (SBE) in September 2010. It reflects the steps the State is currently taking to ensure that students from low-income families and minority students are not taught at higher rates than other students by inexperienced, unqualified, or out-of-field teachers

Reversing the Rising Tide of Inequality: Achieving Educational Equity for Each and Every Child External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
In this report, the federal Equity and Excellence Commission provides an explanation of the current available state remedies for inequity; examines findings regarding the inequities that exist in U.S. education and a five part agenda to address them; and concludes with recommendations designed to operationalize that agenda and make equal educational opportunity a reality for each and every child in the United States.

No More Failures: Ten Steps to Equity in Education External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
Published by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, this book's authors argue that equity in education is a key objective of education systems and that it needs to be addressed on three fronts: the design of education systems, educational practices and resourcing. The book is designed to be accessible to busy people. The ten steps are set out in a single page at the outset, then expanded – but still in summary form – to provide the key supporting evidence.

Mind-sets and Equitable Education External link opens in new window or tab.
This article featured in Principal Leadership examines the research that finds only in growth mind-set cultures, where teachers and administrators are encouraged to fulfill their potential, will they be able to help their students fulfill their potential in schools that are free of bias.

Addressing the Inequitable Distribution of Teachers: What It Will Take to Get Qualified, Effective Teachers in All Communities External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
This policy brief summarizes a research paper written by the authors for the Center for American Progress and examines the sources of inequitable distributions of teachers. It examines how disparities in school funding and teacher salaries are related to differentials in teacher quality. It draws lessons from successful reforms to describe how policymakers can attract and retain high quality teachers in all communities.

Brown at 60: Great Progress, a Long Retreat and an Uncertain Future External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
This Civil Rights Project report describes the research on school integration.

Funding

The following is one of the critical overarching priorities that should provide a foundation for specific reforms in California public education:

Developing a consistent revenue base for high-quality professional learning from initial preparation and induction through ongoing career development by creating a category of flexible funding for professional learning that includes 1) funding for districts to use flexibly to meet their different needs based on meeting key standards for educator learning supports; and 2) funding for state and regional infrastructure to ensure that programs are supported with research about effective practices, technical assistance, training and opportunities for collaboration and networking across jurisdictions. This will increase efficiency and lower the wasted costs of ineffective practices and continual start-ups and wind-downs that undermine the educational system’s ability to function effectively. (Greatness by Design [PDF; 4MB], Chapter 1: Introduction, p. 12.)

Identifying sources of financial support and publicizing their existence are important ways the California Department of Education assists future educators realize their career aspirations. Below you will find information and resources related to professional learning funding.

Funding Resources

California Department of Education Funding
The California Department of Education operates a large number of programs that provide funds to schools and other organizations for a variety of educational purposes. Join the Funding electronic mailing list to be notified when funding becomes available. To join, please send a blank e-mail to join-funding@mlist.cde.ca.gov.

Improving Teacher Quality State Agency for Higher Education Initiatives
Provides competitive grant funding to Institutions of Higher Education to increase the academic achievement of all students by helping schools and districts improve teacher and principal quality and ensure that all teachers are highly qualified. The Initiative is authorized under Title II, Part A of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

Educator Effectiveness - Categorical Programs
Provides funding to county offices of education, school districts, charter schools, and state special schools to provide beginning teacher and administrator support and mentoring, professional development, coaching and support services for teachers identified as needing improvement or additional support, professional development for teachers and administrators aligned to the state standards, and to promote educator quality and effectiveness.

Educator Effectiveness Final Expenditure Report
Educator Effectiveness Final Expenditure – Location for Local Educational Agencies to report the use of Educator Effectiveness Funds.

Federal Grants External link opens in new window or tab.
This site provides a centralized location for grant seekers to find and apply for federal funding opportunities.

Questions:   Educator Excellence Office | educatorexcellence@cde.ca.gov | 916-445-7331
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, November 30, 2016
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