One great teacher can’t save a school. But teams of good teachers are turning around troubled schools in Boston, reports Education Week. Specially recruited Teacher Turnaround Teams (T3) make up a quarter of the staff at the pilot schools, where they serve as education leaders.
T3 participants must have at least three years of classroom experience, and they must complete a rigorous interview process and provide evidence of past success in improving learning. The current crop of recruits averages nine years in the classroom.
Brian Denitzio, a 6th grade English teacher at Orchard Gardens, said he was drawn to the program by the appeal of working alongside other high-performing colleagues. “I really enjoy the feeling of being surrounded by other strong teachers,” he said. “I feel like I’m going to get so much better.”
T3 teachers say they applied for leadership opportunities and the chance to be part of a strong team. They also receive a $6,000 bonus.
The T3 teachers run weekly grade-level or subject-level meetings where teachers discuss how to improve teaching.
Each of the three turnaround schools also has a special T3 coach who attends all the teams’ meetings and helps them work through roadblocks, such as when a number of students struggle on a concept or skill.
Because all the T3 teachers have had past success, “they have a vision of what it looks like when students and classes are operating at a high level,” said Lisa R. Lineweaver, who serves as the T3 coach at Blackstone. “When we haven’t seen the gains we want, how do we respond?”
The three T3 schools have made significant academic progress this year.
There are few turnaround success stories, notes Education Gadfly Weekly.