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Strengthen the Profession


Guiding Principles

  • Human capital is fundamental to transforming our educational system.
  • Improving human capital requires substantial changes to teacher and school and district leader recruitment and preparation, hiring and assignment, retention and development, compensation, evaluation, and tenure.
  • A systemic approach to building human capital that addresses all of the above functions will result in enhanced learning and increased achievement for students.

Key Issue 1

The Connecticut education system needs to recruit teachers and leaders to teaching, school leadership and district leadership positions who have the knowledge, skills and dispositions to transform the education system. All Connecticut educators must commit to leadership for learning, be dedicated to continuous improvement of their skills and knowledge and possess the disposition to transform educational systems. The Connecticut education system must create and sustain the conditions that transform education.

Recommendations

70.  In line with a transformed system for K-12 students, the state should grant certification to teachers and school and district leaders based on demonstrated competence, not on seat time.

71.  Connecticut should actively recruit and provide incentives to attract underrepresented populations to teaching and leadership positions. Given Connecticut’s achievement gap, attracting minorities to teaching and leadership roles must be a priority.

72.  If a newly hired teacher serves five years in the same district with a successful (within the top two levels of the evaluation scale) teaching experience, his or her student loans would be forgiven.

73.  If the Superintendent interviewing a candidate in a shortage area determines that candidate to be ready to teach, the candidate should be approved for certification.

74.  Connecticut should actively recruit and provide competitive compensation and other incentives to attract individuals with expertise and skills that will boost robust talent pools.

75.  Significant instruction in developing and interpreting both formative and summative assessments should be required in all teacher preparation programs. Success in teacher preparation courses should be determined using exemplary formative and performance-based assessments. The efficacy of instruction in assessment should be a standard for approval of teacher preparation programs.

Key Issue 2

The Connecticut educational system needs to prepare teachers and leaders through forward thinking opportunities that emphasize how to teach, learn and lead in a transformed system.

Recommendations

76.  The preparation of teachers and leaders should guarantee a focus on richer and deeper instructional or leadership skills and include more experiences working in a school setting. Candidates should participate in guided apprenticeships or internships with master teachers or leaders in their first year on the job.
77.  The preparation of teachers, school leaders and district leaders must focus on the development of essential skills to individualize instruction to meet the diverse needs of learners.
78.  The preparation of educators should include in-depth training in assessment and data literacy to inform instructional practices.
79.  Developing school and school system leadership should be priorities at the district and state levels. The state should support exemplary leadership development programs. The state should determine a model to assess the preparedness of graduates’ performance in leadership roles and make decisions about program approval based on that assessment data.
80.  The state and districts should create incentives for teachers and school and district leaders who successfully work in systems serving high percentages of low-income students.

Key Issue 3

Transformed educational systems need educators who engage in continuous improvement practices.

Recommendations

81.  The first year in a teaching or leadership role should be structured as an internship with strong, consistent coaching by experienced teachers or leaders committed to transformation.

82.  Educator bargaining units and districts must work together to create collaborative opportunities in order for educators to practice continuous improvement. Collaboration should focus on observing and discussing effective teaching or leadership practice and analyzing student performance with colleagues to plan for instruction.

83.  The state should remove barriers to leadership and the districts should create processes that develop leadership roles and opportunities.

84.  The state should ensure that districts and schools possess the working conditions and resources to support a transformed educational system.

85.  The state should make a particular effort to ensure that the working conditions and resources in settings serving low-income children are equal to those in settings serving the higher-income peers.

86.  Expand opportunities for educators to have access to technology-based content, resources and tools anytime and anywhere they need them.

Key Issue 4

Districts and schools need to evaluate and supervise educators based on the growth of student learning and use clear and accurate language when describing an educator’s strengths and weaknesses.

Recommendations

87.  Evaluation systems for professional educators should be standards-based across all curriculum areas. This requires systematic and ongoing research and development and regular reviews to update performance standards.

88.  Educators’ standards- based evaluations should continue to focus on growth in student learning.

89.  Peer review of performance should play a role in professional improvement for educators.

90.  A rigorous evaluation system for professional educators should be linked to incentives for high-performing teachers and leaders and consequences for low-performing ones.

91.  Performance, professional activity and student achievement should be the determinants when acting upon a necessary reduction in force.

Key Issue 5

The state needs to revise the tenure law to include a rigorous, standards-based review process that is more tightly connected to student learning.

Recommendation

92.  The state should revise current tenure laws to provide five -year renewable contracts to educators based on student growth, professional skills and demonstration of continuous learning.

Key Issue 6

Professional Learning and Technology: The importance of using technology to support personalized learning and to provide a motivating learning environment continues to increase with each new class of students. Therefore, special attention must be paid to guarantee that all teachers and leaders are comfortable with and skilled in the use of technology for these purposes.

Recommendations

93.  Leverage the concept of social networking technologies and platforms to enhance communities of practice that provide career-long personal learning opportunities for educators within and across schools, pre-service preparation and in-service education institutions, and professional organizations.

94.  Use technology to provide all learners with online access to effective teaching and deeper learning opportunities and options, especially in places where they are not otherwise available.

95.  Provide pre-service and in-service educators with technology-enhanced professional learning experiences to increase their digital literacy and enable them to create compelling assignments for children that improve learning, assessment and instructional practices.