Best Practice Links
High School Themes
Theme - Staff Selection, Leadership, and Capacity Building
- A highly professional climate in which teachers and administrators are encouraged to keep up with their fields and actively contribute to the functioning of the school.
- A teacher evaluation process supportive of constant improvement.
- Active recruitment of candidates to match specific needs, goals, and fit with community and school culture.
A true climate of professionalism marks the higher-performing schools. The board expects and encourages administrators and teachers to keep up with their fields and make decisions for their students based on their professional knowledge. Administrators speak of their role as one of supporting teachers to do an even better job through evaluations that focus on aspects of quality instruction and the teachers’ own goals for further professional development. Teachers feel supported by administration in helping foster an environment in which students are expected to learn and all teachers are held to high expectations for their knowledge of content and pedagogical skill.
Some differences between higher- and average-performing schools
Although in both average- and higher-performing high schools, opportunities for teacher professional development abound, higher performers actively recruit candidates to meet their specific needs, goals and fit with community and school culture; average performers rely more on traditional recruitment procedures.
Both involve teachers and administrators at some point in the hiring process while higher performers are more likely to include community members and students in the hiring process also.
The formal evaluation process in Huntington includes four observations a year for non-tenured teachers and one observation a year for tenured teachers. An end-of-the-year evaluation, developed in conjunction with the teacher’s association, includes a checklist and comments by the administrator. It also gives the teachers an opportunity to reflect in writing on their accomplishments for the year.
The professional growth plan in White Plains provides tenured teachers with an option to take leadership in their own professional development and work collaboratively with a colleague as an option over formal observations every year.
Tenured teachers at MacArthur HS are eligible to participate in a peer coaching evaluation program in which two colleagues work together to plan, observe, and evaluate each other’s instruction.
South Kortright High School draws on teacher experience to influence innovations. One result is a hybrid block schedule that helps meet students’ needs and creates a school culture with rigorous expectations.
One of the best practices in Batavia High School is the use of technology to enhance teaching and learning. Through grants and professional development, the hardware, software, and teacher expertise to utilize technology to invigorate the curriculum has been realized and inspires continual innovation.