GREENSBORO — Nine local schools that added a new staffing model for teachers last academic year saw student performance on key subjects improve more than Guilford County Schools as a whole, state test data show.
Taken together, the schools that implemented “Opportunity Culture” last year improved more than the district as a whole in both reading and math at the fourth-, sixth- and seventh-grade levels. For third, fifth and eighth grades, the schools improved more than the district in one but not both subjects.
Third-grade math was the only one of those tests where Opportunity Culture schools lost ground from the previous year. That was largely due to an issue at one particular elementary school, according to Whitney Oakley, the district’s interim chief academic officer. Oakley shared information on the program Saturday at the Guilford County Board of Education retreat.
With Opportunity Culture, schools recruit teachers with a track record of high student achievement to help a larger number of students than they normally would. That could be through leading and coaching other teachers, or through directly teaching more students.
Teachers can make between $6,000 and $20,000 more per year by taking on one of those roles.
The nine schools that started the program are Bessemer, Cone, Falkener, Foust, Wiley and Hampton elementary schools and Hairston, Ferndale and Jackson middle schools. One of those schools, Hampton Elementary, closed last year.
Schools adding the program this fall include: Fairview, Frazier and Vandalia elementary schools and Welborn and Northeast middle schools.
Participating schools applied for and received something called “restart status” from the state. It’s an option specifically for schools identified at one point for low performance on state standardized tests. If the state grants the status, schools get flexibility on some rules, including how they spend their money on teachers, for example.
Cone principal Shannon Peeples talked to board members Saturday about different attitudes among teachers toward the multi-classroom leader teachers who coach other teachers. Attitudes ranged from ecstatic endorsement to wariness from some of the experienced and effective teachers in the school.
“There have been some who’ve been like ‘I don’t really need coaching, I don’t really need someone there,’ but we are starting to have this synergy this second year of, ‘We can all get better,’ ” she said.