Life at Mastery : In the News : Mastery Charter Schools To Share Their Teacher Development and Coaching Model at Institute to be held in Philadelphia

Mastery Charter Schools To Share Their Teacher Development and Coaching Model at Institute to be held in Philadelphia

Wednesday, December 14 2011.

Mastery will share its nationally recognized teacher effectiveness program with district and charter leaders from Philadelphia and across the country

PHILADELPHIA—(December 14, 2011)—Mastery Charter Schools (Mastery) today kicks off a three day Teacher Development and Coaching Institute designed to share its model with thirty-six school administrators and district leaders, including representatives from the School District of Philadelphia, local charter schools as well as districts and charter schools from New Jersey, Maryland, California, and Tennessee.

Mastery’s teacher development and coaching programming is unique. In contrast to more conceptual or theory based approaches to developing teachers, Mastery starts with the belief that instruction is a craft that can be taught through skill-specific training, consistent practice, and feedback. “We firmly believe that teaching is a craft that can be taught,” said Molly Eigen, Mastery’s Deputy Chief Academic Officer. “Although it helps to have the right attitude, the ability to teach is not innate. Our system trains our staff to be better teachers, and we have seen the proof that it works.” Mastery’s model is unusual in the education field in that it aligns clear instructional expectations, professional development and coaching, evaluation and performance-based pay.

Mastery’s teacher development system is built upon a foundational set of defined instructional standards (practices). The standards are specific, concrete and actionable. To ensure that teachers are able to bring the practices effectively to life in the classroom, Mastery provides intense professional development and teacher coaching. New Mastery teachers receive 3 weeks of training during the summer. Throughout the year, teachers attend a defined series of professional development sessions that support teachers’ implementation of the instructional standards. Mastery also provides a comprehensive instructional guidebook aligned to each of the practices in the instructional standards and video clips of teachers executing teaching strategies in Mastery classrooms. To ensure teachers are proficient in the classroom, Mastery has a robust teacher coaching program. Teachers receive regular and ongoing coaching from Mastery instructional coaches who are trained to support instruction using a variety of tools including real time coaching (use of Bluetooth ear pieces to guide teachers during their instruction), remote observation, self-video analysis, frequency training, and co-planning protocols.

Mastery believes that teacher training, ongoing professional development, and evaluation must be aligned with student outcomes and tied to pay and promotion.

Clear Instructional Expectations -> Aligned Support & Supervision -> Student Outcomes -> Pay & Promotions

Accordingly, Mastery has created a performance-based pay system to support, retain, and reward quality teachers and administrators. At Mastery, advancement is based on instructional quality and student achievement, not seniority. Mastery’s system is transparent and based on clear and frequent feedback. The administrator performance pay system is a mirror image of the teacher system.

Participants in the Mastery Teacher Development and Coaching Institute will be trained on the Mastery Model, specifically new teacher training and coaching practices. Participants will receive access to all of Mastery’s materials including its instructional standards, instructional guidebook, coaching manual, 50 instructional videos featuring Mastery teachers demonstrating selected teaching strategies, and 18 professional development sessions and supporting materials. The resources will be shared through a portal linked to Mastery’s website (to be launched in early 2012). The institute is free for participants and is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Gates Foundation has invested in Mastery to share its teacher development and coaching model. Mastery and the Gates Foundation share the goal of increasing the number of high quality teachers and schools both in Philadelphia and nationwide.

Locally, representatives from the School District of Philadelphia and eleven local charter schools are slated to attend the institute. Nationally, the districts attending the institute include DC Public Schools, Green Dot Public Schools in California, and Memphis City Schools in Memphis, Tennessee. “We are thrilled to share what we’ve learned and particularly excited to work in partnership with our charter and district colleagues here in Philadelphia” said Scott Gordon, CEO of the Mastery Charters Schools network. “This is about making sure every student has an exceptional teacher and supporting teachers as professionals and practitioners.”

The institute will take place at the Temple University Center City Campus in Philadelphia.

About Mastery Charter Schools

Mastery Charter Schools is a non-profit charter school network that currently operates ten schools in Philadelphia serving 7,000 students in grades K-12. Eight of it’s schools are turnarounds of low-performing district schools. The first three turnarounds were district middle schools that Mastery has grown to serve grades 7-12. After Mastery assumed management of these schools, test scores increased an average of over 40 percentage points per grade and subject, violence decreased by 80%, and student turnover dropped by 50%. Mastery opened three elementary turnaround schools in September 2010. In their first year, enrollment increased 20%, violence has dropped 85%, math scores increased 14% and reading scores increased by 9%.