Operational since March of 2014, the district has used the $309,560 STLE 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 grant allows the district to “home grow” its staff.
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 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 ultimate goal is to implement a model schools program where the two principal leaders, working collaboratively with the superintendent, grant manager, and teacher leaders will showcase best practice. Other building administrators will spend quality visits in the model school to better learn how to manage and support a professional learning community in their assigned buildings.
The district has partnered with the University at Buffalo to recruit teacher leaders who are aspiring administrators. Teachers chosen will receive internship experience within the model schools one day per week and will successfully participate in the administrative program at the University.