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STLE-3 Grant Develops Teacher-Leaders

North Tonawanda City Schools will use a $309,560 grant from the New York State Education Department to develop and implement a Career Ladder program. The two-year grant has a professional development focus that’s best described as “for teachers by teachers.”

The district selected 17 teachers and two principals who exemplify effective instructional practices. With grant funding, the teachers will earn advanced teacher leadership certification from Niagara University. Within the district, the teacher-leaders will provide content specific professional development to other teachers.

The Strengthening Teacher and Leader Effectiveness (known as STLE) grant allows the district to “home grow” its staff. The teacher-leaders are trained to interpret student data and then collaborate with peers on instructional strategies to lead to higher student achievement in English language arts, math and technology. Interpreting data collected from school report cards, state assessments, district testing and other sources will help guide future instructional programming decisions at all grade levels.

The district successfully applied and received a grant amendment for more funding to add a teacher-leader collaboration function. The application process for teachers who wanted to be considered for the collaboration role required them to identify a need within the district and explain how their expertise would support that need. Five teachers were selected as teacher-leader collaborators. Throughout the school year, the collaborators will spend one day a week visiting classrooms in the district to provide appropriate instructional support as needed.

Chosen for the role of Teacher-Leader Collaborators:
• Christine Reading
• Michelle Helf
• Kelly Abbott
• Judy Moskalik
• Jen Reed

Chosen for the role of Teacher-Leaders:
Principals Jim Fisher, NTHS and Michael Tambroni, Ohio Elementary. In the ELA area, Christine Reading, Kelly Abbott, Michelle Logan, Jennifer Kendt, Christina Quinn, Shannon Carr and Darlene Senick. In the math area, Deb DiBernardo, Sean Kibrick, Beth Boyko, Raedene Zellner, Kristie Keidel and Rick Tomm. In the technology area, Katie Hockenberry, Julie Reszcynski, Jessica Anderson and Jen Sturgeon.

The district is in the second year of the grant.