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Domain 2 - Talent Management

Each Domain has three practices that describe the broad activities involved in each domain. For each practice, the roles of the state, district, and school is briefly outlined. Practices are not provided in a suggested order of implementation.  Many practices might be implemented simultaneously, although it would be difficult and even counterproductive to focus on too many domains or practices at once. Decisions about what practices to implement when, and how, as well as necessary course adjustments, should consider the particular needs and context of the rapid improvement effort.

Practice 2A: Recruit, Develop, Retain, and Sustain Talent

Practice Description

  • Plan proactively for recruiting and developing talent with turnaround-specific competencies to quickly fill vacancies
  • Use multiple sources of data to match candidate skills and competencies to school needs, prioritizing the highest need schools
  •  Provide induction, mentoring, and accelerated supports to new or struggling teachers
  • Implement recruitment and retention policies that include succession planning activities by creating in-house district preparation programs designed to foster and generate rapid improvement competencies to develop, support and sustain future improvement leaders and teachers

Examples of How Different Levels of the System Can Enact this Practice 

State. Develop and disseminate human resource practices designed to identify, extend, and support turnaround competencies in leaders and teachers and train districts in the use of these practices. Offer preparation programs that focus on rapid improvement to support the development of aspiring school leaders.

District. Create a model for selection and placement of teachers and school leaders with turnaround competencies, ensuring that schools in improvement status have preferential access to teaching candidates. Challenge and support human resources staff to design programs that identify and support the development of potential rapid improvement leaders and teachers. Develop multiple measures and data sources (e.g., observation of candidates over time in various settings) to closely analyze an individual’s readiness and potential as a leader of school improvement.

School. Collaborate with the district to develop a school-specific competency model for teachers leading school improvement to discern which competencies should be prioritized in the teacher-selection process at this school. Utilize the district talent pool as the “go-to” source for hiring assistant principals and teachers. Identify and encourage aspiring leaders to participate in preparation programs that emphasize rapid school improvement.

Practice 2B: Target Professional Learning Opportunities

Practice Description

  • Offer and evaluate high-quality, culturally appropriate, responsive professional learning opportunities using evidence-based adult learning principles, designed to build the capacity needed for rapid and sustainable school improvement.
  • Plan and deliver regular opportunities for job-embedded learning that includes coaching, mentoring, and observation (including peer observations).
  • Leverage and maximize the effectiveness of high-performing teachers, coaches, and leaders by using them as models and peer coaches.

Examples of How Different Levels of the System Can Enact this Practice 

State. Provide training to districts on how to develop, implement and evaluate a teacher professional learning model with individualization, cultural responsiveness, and job-embedded processes as the focus. Provide funding preference to professional learning opportunities that reflect these processes. Share examples of how districts and schools have implemented peer coaching, mentoring, and peer observation. Model a willingness to learn and grow through constant reflection and refinement of supports. Ensure that development opportunities offered to districts model the formats and principles of effective professional learning.

District. Create timelines and other accountability systems that remind principals to regularly examine teacher performance and to rapidly adjust professional learning plans based on identified needs. Provide district staff with job-embedded professional learning and opportunities to learn side by side with school leaders. Ensure that district offered professional learning experiences are differentiated, purposeful, targeted, implemented with fidelity, and reflective of what is known about successful adult learning and the rapid improvement endeavor.

School. Create a cadre of instructional leaders (drawing from assistant principals, department coordinators, team leaders, and teachers with demonstrated instructional effectiveness and mentoring or coaching capacity) who each respond to the professional learning needs of a manageable portion of the faculty and use data to identify those needs. Provide opportunities for leaders and teachers to learn side by side and share how their own ongoing growth impacts their individual practice as instructional and organizational leaders. Ensure that learning experiences are evidence based, differentiated, purposeful, targeted, culturally responsive, employed in rapid response to identified needs, reflective of what is known about effective adult learning and clearly connected to the school’s improvement priorities.

PRACTICE 2C: Set Clear Performance Expectations

Practice Description

  • Develop clear roles, responsibilities and competencies for every position and articulate alignment of accountability leading to rapid improvement.
  • Communicate high expectations for a level of professional performance for every role in the system.
  • Develop and implement performance-management processes that include clear means for monitoring progress and delivering meaningful and actionable feedback, flexibility to rapidly respond to professional learning needs, and opportunities to revise milestones as needed.

Examples of How Different Levels of the System Can Enact this Practice 

State. Develop protocols to assist districts in analyzing role expectations and adapting those expectations to support rapid school improvement. Provide support and tools to help districts establish accountability and monitor milestones.

District. Identify which district-level roles will contribute to school rapid improvement efforts; review and refine job expectations and descriptions to reflect realistic and high-leverage responsibilities to support rapid improvement.

School. Define expectations for teachers, clearly and realistically considering how to effectively leverage teacher time and effort. Develop a daily and weekly schedule that reflects this priority of effective use of teacher time. When asking more of a teacher, consider removing another responsibility.

Domain 2 Reflection Questions 

  • Do you use turnaround competencies for the identification of teachers for low performing schools? If so, what are the turnaround competencies for teachers in your context?
  • Do you use turnaround competencies for the identification of principals for low-performing schools? If so, what are the turnaround competencies for leaders in your context?
  • If you do not use competencies, how will you identify the skills and aptitudes needed for rapid improvement leaders and/or teachers? What resources are available?
  • What tools, systems, and structures need to be established for leaders to maintain a balance of support with accountability at all levels? Do the tools, systems, and structures need to vary depending on the level (state, district, or school)?
  • How will you develop a teacher and leader pipeline? What tools, systems, and structures need to be established to make this pipeline sustainable?
  • Who will be responsible for identifying the hiring needs of schools in improvement?
  • How will you create consensus and understanding of teacher placements and assignments?
  • What will you use to match school needs with teacher and leader competencies?
  • What are the professional learning needs of rapid improvement leadership and staff? What steps need to be accomplished to fulfill those needs?
  • How will high-performing teachers be leveraged to expand their positive influence outside of just their own classrooms?
  • Who will be responsible for providing, leading, and evaluating the impact of professional learning opportunities and experiences for rapid improvement leadership and staff? How can you ensure that professional learning will be rapid, responsive, effective, and customized?
  • Who will be held accountable for setting clear performance expectations for staff? How will they determine those expectations? How will staff be assessed or held accountable for achieving those performance expectations?