Pittsburgh Public Schools has been on a five-year journey to advance the teaching profession.
We know that effective teachers are the #1 school-based factor for improving student outcomes. That's why when our teachers said their evaluation system wasn't helping them grow, we listened.
In 2009, the District and the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers (PFT) worked together to develop the Empowering Effective Teachers plan. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation awarded the District a $40 million grant in order to implement the plan, and other local and national funders have invested to ensure that our students have effective, motivated teachers in every classroom, every day.
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What has been happening since 2009?
Over the last five years, the District and the PFT have been on a journey to build on the foundation set by the Empowering Effective Teachers plan. The resources below provide more information about the progress that has been made to provide teachers with information and feedback about their practice, recognize and reward excellence in the classroom, and empower teachers to lead in the District.
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- March 21, 2010 – Teachers RISE to the occasion
- June 15, 2010 – Pittsburgh board, teachers OK pact
- April 9, 2011 – City teachers set to start new roles to be more effective
- June 1, 2011 – City teacher academy eliminated
- February 12, 2012 – Pittsburgh Public Schools gets $1 million Heinz grant
- November 20, 2012 – Pittsburgh Public Schools rewarded for student academic growth
- August 13, 2013 – New teacher evaluation process set to begin in Pittsburgh Public Schools
- February 4, 2014 – Three Pittsburgh schools named STARs for high scores
- April 18, 2014 – Student achievement rewarding for Pittsburgh teaching teams
- May 12, 2014 – Pittsburgh schools ready new evaluations
- June 12, 2014 – Pittsburgh teachers fare well in new rating system
- November 3, 2014 – Pittsburgh initiative to laud teachers contrasts with national talk on educators
- January 12, 2015 – Pittsburgh hopes to attract more diverse group of applicants for top teaching jobs
- April 7, 2015 – Pittsburgh Public Schools discusses next steps after grants expire
- May 24, 2015 – Pittsburgh schools to get less than $78 million in announced grants
- June 2, 2015 – Pittsburgh public school teachers earn higher grades in new ratings
What are we learning?
As the Empowering Effective Teachers plan has been implemented, the District has engaged with external researchers in order to gain insights and information about effective teaching in Pittsburgh.
- The Research Education Laboratory (REL) found that all three measures of teacher effectiveness being used in Pittsburgh Public Schools have the potential to differentiate teacher performance, and when used together, the measures capture teaching skills that overlap, but are not identical.
- The Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) project found that effective teachers are able to help all students learn and measures of effective teaching are more stable when they combine multiple measures (classroom observations, student surveys, and measures of student achievement gains).
- Westat found that the District's Career Ladder roles are having a positive impact. Educators are telling us that:
- Students are benefitting from the teaming and looping aspects of the PRC. To learn more, click here.
- Learning Environment Specialists are an important source of support for teachers. To learn more, click here.
- The ITL2 model can help to make RISE a positive focus of professional development. To learn more, click here.
- Using results from the District's teacher growth and evaluation system, the Strategic Data Project (SDP) found that students exposed to high quality instruction saw improved student outcomes, including higher college enrollment and persistence rates.
In addition, PPS has been able to create an information base upon which to examine District practices. Click here
to view a sample of the never before available information the District now has as a result of the teacher growth and evaluation system.