“Building and Sustaining Talent: Creating Conditions in High-Poverty Schools That Support Effective Teaching and Learning” also recognizes that teachers do not teach in a vacuum, Weingarten says. “Quality school buildings and working conditions, school leadership and community factors all play a role in attracting and retaining quality teachers and helping our children learn and grow,” she notes. “The report also makes clear that improving teaching and learning cannot start and stop by improving teacher evaluations. Evaluations are just one tool in improving teacher quality and should be used to support, not sanction, teachers.
“This report offers a clear road map for school districts across the country. Districts leading the way in improving teaching and learning are already focused on building strong, collaborative school communities to help all children succeed. In New Haven, Conn., teachers and the school district collaborated on a groundbreaking education agenda focused on an evaluation system that is fair and transparent, while also ensuring quality and professional development; providing additional resources and wraparound services for turnaround schools; and giving flexibility and a voice for teachers and principals to collaborate on what is needed in their schools and classrooms. Teachers in New Haven say they come to school to work hard and work as a team, not just teach behind closed doors, and that collaboration now is embedded in their school’s culture.”