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ALMOST 200 TOP EDUCATORS INVITED TO JOIN COHORT THREE OF THE DELAWARE TALENT COOPERATIVE
Nearly 200 educators from across the state have been recognized as part of the the third cohort of the state’s Delaware Talent Cooperative, with each being recognized with up to $20,000 in financial incentives to continue working in some of the state’s highest-need schools. The third cohort also includes nine educators who took positions in one of the 18 Delaware Talent Cooperative schools after demonstrating success in their previous schools and classrooms.
Each educator has the opportunity to earn a “retention incentive” between $2,500 and $10,000 over the next 18 months as they continue working in their high-needs schools, or up to $20,000 in “attraction incentives” to accept a position in one of the state’s highest need schools. There are 18 participating schools statewide in the initiative, with five Delaware school districts represented. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan visited EastSide Charter School in April to hear from educators about the positive impact of the Delaware Talent Cooperative in supporting educators and recognizing schools like ECS as outstanding places for educators to start or grow their careers and practice.
In addition to the financial incentives and becoming a part of the schools’ community, selected educators take on various teacher-leadership roles including mentoring colleagues, serving on program evaluation focus groups and having their exemplary classroom instruction videotaped and cataloged for sharing with colleagues. The department plans to visits dozens of participating educators’ classrooms in 2015 to capture the great work they are doing.
The Delaware Talent Cooperative (www.detalentcoop.org) recognizes some of Delaware’s highest-performing educators in its highest-need schools. The effort focuses on ensuring educators will continue serving or move to work in some of the state’s highest-need schools for at least two years. It addresses some of the state’s — and country’s — long-standing challenges in public education around educator equity, resources for the highest-need schools, and meaningful educator retention.
Some early data suggests that the Co-Op is on-track to achieving part of its mission. The retention rate of “highly-effective” English Language Arts and math teachers in the initiative is 93 percent over the past two years, exceeding state averages for all other schools, including non-high-need schools. This promising data point illustrates how important it is to have the three ingredients that drive retention of educators who are irreplaceable: powerful school leadership, inspiring school culture, and meaningful compensation opportunities, said Angeline Rivello, who oversees the initiative for the Delaware Department of Education.
The 197 teachers and specialists qualified for the third cohort in part because they earned an “exceeds” rating on the student improvement component of the state’s educator evaluation system (DPAS-II). They also demonstrated consistent practice via their classrooms observations. Thus, their strength in planning and preparation, building a positive classroom environment, cohesive and rigorous instruction and overall professionalism (Components I-IV) combined with their students’ results made them eligible for the program. The nine school leaders were selected based upon building-wide student achievement results and, in some cases, other measures of student success and performance. These are the baseline criteria for acceptance into the Delaware Talent Cooperative, which also includes an intensive vetting process for educators seeking to transfer into participating schools.
The 15 schools represented among the 197 educators recognized this round are: Howard High School of Technology, Dover High School, Positive Outcomes Charter School, Prestige Academy, Laurel Middle School, Edison Charter School, Reach Academy, EastSide Charter School, Kuumba Academy, West Seaford Elementary, Blades Elementary, Towne Point Elementary, South Dover Elementary, East Dover Elementary and Harlan Elementary.
The Delaware Department of Education also has awarded five school-based grants of $10,000 each to Howard High School of Technology, Dover High School, Prestige Academy, EastSide Charter School and Kuumba Academy. Each school has developed a plan for how to utilize the funding to drive improved educator pre-service partnerships, recruitment, professional learning communities, and differentiated retention. For high schools such as Howard and Dover, this represents more catalytic funding to augment the resources each has received as a result of being a participant in the state’s Partnership Zone in 2011 and 2012, respectively.
Several Delaware educators now have been part of multiple cohorts. For the handful that participated in all three cohorts, each was eligible for up to $30,000.