|For Immediate Release|
|Monday, May 10, 2010|
|Contact:||Heidi Guarino 781-338-3106 or JC Considine 781-338-3112|
State Launches Recruitment Campaign To Aid in School Turnaround Efforts
New efforts bolster support for teachers and students
MALDEN - A statewide recruitment campaign aimed at encouraging outstanding educators to apply for vacancies in the Commonwealth's lowest performing schools kicked off today with the launch of a new website, www.amazingteachers.org.
Governor Deval Patrick and state education officials initiated the campaign to support district leaders in recruiting or retaining talented and experienced teachers to join teams of educators leading the transformation of the state's so-called "Level 4" schools. The goal is to support superintendents and principals as they make decisions about staffing needs to support school turnaround plans, to support teachers who are returning to these schools and to attract new teachers as positions become available.
"Teachers are the solution - not the problem," said Governor Patrick. "We're committed to providing every child with a quality education and a highly qualified, highly trained and highly supported teacher in every classroom is the key to our success."
"The top priority in closing achievement gaps and helping all students reach their full potential is recruiting, training and retaining the best teachers for our students," said Lt. Governor Tim Murray. "These new efforts will ensure that our current teachers and new teachers alike are fully prepared to meet the challenge of improving access to excellence for all students."
The new website is designed to inform teachers about career opportunities in the state's Turnaround Schools, located in 9 districts across the state: Boston, Fall River, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, New Bedford, Springfield and Worcester. The site provides information about the first group of 35 "Level 4" schools and the nine urban public school districts in which they are located, with a focus on supports and incentives for teachers who work in those systems.
"Some may consider working in an underperforming school a stigma; but I know there are many excellent teachers who would see it as an opportunity," said Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester. "There are teachers in the Commonwealth and beyond who are willing to accept the challenge of turning around a previously low performing school. Given the support and flexibility to make changes, I am confident these educators can - and will - improve the life chances of the students in these schools."
"This is a unique opportunity for teachers who are ready to take their careers to the next level," said Education Secretary Paul Reville. "These teachers will have the opportunity to help shape the historic next chapter in the story of education reform in Massachusetts as we seek to successfully implement the changes necessary to help all students achieve."
Massachusetts is a national leader in education reform efforts, with the top performing students in the nation. However, persistent achievement gaps in our education system led Governor Patrick to launch a broad-ranging effort to provide new strategies to close those gaps and help all students reach their full academic potential.
Through the landmark Education Reform Law signed by the Governor in January, the Commissioner and superintendents have new authority to make the changes necessary to improve persistently low-performing schools, including greater flexibility for assembling teams of teachers and administrators tasked with leading the transformation efforts. Since the announcement of Level 4 schools in February, all nine districts have begun convening Design Teams and drafting turnaround plans for the schools that could include new training for teachers and additional supports for students. Each district is also developing unique incentives to attract teachers to apply for their open positions.
Boston Public Schools, for example, has partnered with Teach Plus to launch the T3 Initiative - Turnaround Teacher Teams - in three of Boston's 12 Turnaround Schools: the Blackstone and Trotter elementary schools and Orchard Gardens K-8 Pilot School. Designed by teachers, the T3 Initiative aims to recruit, develop, and support effective, experienced teachers to serve in underperforming schools.
"There is no greater influence on school improvement than the classroom teacher," said Boston Superintendent Dr. Carol R. Johnson. "Boston Public Schools needs talented teachers with a track record of success to help turn underperforming schools into world-class centers of excellence."
The T3 efforts in Boston are beginning to take shape as applications are already arriving just a few weeks after the launch. Many current teachers who are interested in being more closely involved in the turnaround planning and implementation are applying as well as many individuals new to the teaching field or new to Massachusetts.
The other districts are considering a range of incentives to retain and attract outstanding teachers, including social-emotional and "wrap-around" services to help teachers address students' non-academic needs, new principals who value and empower teachers as leaders, extra time for teacher collaboration and planning, and additional compensation for teachers who take on leadership responsibilities or work an extended day or year.
The website also allows visitors to recommend outstanding teachers to be considered for teaching positions in Level 4 schools. In addition to the site, the overall campaign will include on-line advertising, public service announcements and outreach through social media.
For more information, go to www.amazingteachers.org.