Theme: Human Capital
Organization Level: School
Critical elements: Higher-performing schools point to human capital as a primary success factor and therefore devote considerable time, energy, and resources to selecting and training teachers who share the college- and career-readiness mission and are willing to work diligently to achieve it.
Practice: Provide instructional leadership, a coherent program for professional development, and on-going feedback of teachers’ classroom practice. Empower teachers to collaborate and own their professional growth.

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CriteriaLess Effective PracticesSuccess Factors for Meeting State StandardsSuccess Factors for College and Career Readiness
Teacher Qualifications

Teachers are recruited and hired based on credentials and experience. Commitment to the schools culture, goals, and a mission of college and career readiness and high achievement for all students is not a consideration.

In addition to credentials, experience, and a strong background in the subject area, teachers are selected based on their instructional skills and their dedication to helping all students master skills and content standards.

Schools assign value on candidates commitment to college and career readiness for all and alignment with the schools culture of achievement.

Teacher Hiring Process

School leaders are given either too much direction or too little support through the teacher hiring process. They may be required to accept transfers or candidates chosen by a central hiring group or be expected to single-handedly fill all vacancies with minimal assistance.

School leaders are responsible for hiring teachers who are not only qualified but also effective. The district/systems central office may support school leaders with recruitment and processing of applications, but the school leader makes the final decisions regarding which teachers will best serve students and meet the current needs of the school.

School leaders are empowered to hire teachers, but the district/system provides support with recruitment and initial screening. The school leader is often assisted by a team of educators, for selecting teachers who embrace the college and career readiness mission and culture. Hiring is an in-depth process that may include demo classes, mock meetings, and extensive reference checks.

Professional Development

Professional development is minimal. When offered, training activities tend to be one-size-fits-all, stand-alone events, unrelated to one another or to goals for teacher or student growth. Lacking coherence, follow up, and continuity, training events have no lasting effect on teacher practice or student achievement.

Ongoing professional development follows a coherent district/system for teacher growth and is aligned with school goals. Student achievement and teacher performance data inform the overall plan, as well as the individual topics. Professional development is also responsive to the different needs of new and veteran teachers.

Professional development is coherent and growth oriented yet customized. The overall program is aligned to college and career readiness and culture goals; the format and content of activities varies based on teachers and students needs. Professional development activities are evaluated based on their long-term effectiveness in developing the growth mindsets of staff, improving teacher practice, and impacting student learning.


Of the time provided in the school calendar for professional development activities, almost none is devoted to teacher collaboration. Lectures and workshops led by specialists are the most common format for teacher training. Collaboration may occur, but it is not an integral part of the schools approach to teacher professional growth.

In addition to providing the guidance of specialists, the school structures the schedule, the calendar, and the format of professional development offerings to facilitate collaboration among teachers. In this way, teachers can reflect on their teaching, share their experiences, and integrate new professional learning into their classroom practice for lasting results. Teacher collaboration is a given and part of the professional community

The schools college and career ready mission is built on a shared sense of responsibility for all students success, a mindset that fosters high degrees of collaboration among school leaders and teachers. Structured collaboration time is offered regularly throughout the year as part of the overall program for improving instruction and promoting student achievement. Teachers value feedback from both administrators and peers and routinely provide and receive constructive feedback on instruction practices.

Observation of Practice

Classroom observation is rare and almost exclusively for the purpose of evaluation rather than coaching. Teachers are seldom observed except by supervisors in the context of an annual (or less frequent) review. As a result, classroom visits are perceived as high-stakes, stressful events where teachers react defensively.

School leaders frequently observe classrooms, providing teachers with guidance and support, as well as evaluative feedback. Classroom visits between teachers is also encouraged as an effective, affirming means of enhancing teacher practice.

Schools are characterized by open classrooms and transparency around practice. School leaders, coaches, and colleagues observe teachers regularly, balancing evaluation and accountability with extensive support and the recognition that becoming a master teacher takes years of reflection and refinement.

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