Aspire is a network of California and Tennessee charter schools, 35 of which participate in the TIF 4 program. The grantee considers each Aspire student to be educationally disadvantaged. Aspire has modified its existing teacher evaluation system and offers performance-based compensation by way of effectiveness-based salary for teachers and effectiveness-based bonuses for principals and instructional coaches. Aspire also provides effectiveness-based leadership roles and individualized professional development based on educator evaluation results.
Aspire TIF's goal is to enhance student achievement so that high-need students graduate from high school fully prepared for college success. To achieve this goal, Aspire aims to improve teacher and principal effectiveness in such a way that will compel measurable results in student achievement, graduation rates, and college readiness. Aspire expects changes from its reform efforts to result in 70-75 percent of its high-minority, high-poverty students scoring at advanced or proficient levels on required state assessments and that the current share of students who enter college fully prepared for college-level work will double.
Aspire partnered with external evaluators to conduct a mixed-methods study with three components: an implementation study, an outcomes/impact study, and a replication and scaling study. The program evaluation focuses on the extent to which Aspire's educator effectiveness system affects teacher and principal effectiveness, student achievement, graduation, and college readiness. To complete the study, the evaluators will collect data on students and teachers; conduct educator, staff, and stakeholder interviews; and carry out case studies of seven schools.
- Developed a special education teacher component for the for the evaluation system
- Continued the development of the assistant principal evaluation and the counselor evaluation rubrics
- Provided professional development (PD) sessions and materials for beginning teachers and continuing staff based on evaluation data collected during the previous year
- Worked with Urban Teacher Residency United to develop Teacher Residency Program and discussed potential university partners
- Began Assistant Principal Residency Program for teachers aspiring to be assistant principals and the Principal Residency Program for assistant principals aspiring to be principals
- Selected 20 teachers as Alliance Learning & Leadership Initiatives (ALLI) coaches in The Teacher Career Ladder path
- Fully implemented the teacher and principal evaluation system as the official system for all schools
- Evaluated all teachers and all principals but one using the evaluation rubrics
- Distributed incentive bonus payouts to teachers based on overall teacher effectiveness ratings
- Completed full development of the assistant principal and counselor evaluation systems
- Continued to provide PD sessions and materials for beginning teachers and continuing staff based on evaluation data collected during the previous year
- Selected 14 teachers as ALLI Coaches in the Teacher Career Ladder Path
- Began plans for expanded Teacher Career Ladder Path opportunities
- Chose University of the Pacific as the new university partner for the Teacher Residency Program
- Thirteen teachers and eight assistant principals completed the Assistant Principal Residency Program and Principal Residency Program, respectively
- Hired four teachers who completed the Administrator Residency Program to be Alliance assistant principals and hired two assistant principals who completed the Principal Residency Program to be Alliance principals in SY 2014-15
- Fully implemented the teacher and principal evaluation systems for the third year
- Finalized the assistant principal evaluation rubric
- Continued to develop the counselor evaluation rubric
- Launched expanded Teacher Career Ladder
- Selected 20 teachers as ALLI coaches
- Streamlined new teacher coach support and strengthened PD for coaches to effectively improve the practice of coaches and new teachers alike
- Conducted teacher and observer focus groups and developed pilots to improve effectiveness of teacher evaluation process
- Increased teacher effectiveness ratings and retained more effective educators
- Fully implemented the teacher, principal, and instructional coach evaluation systems for the third year
- Developed student growth measures for SBAC using a student growth percentile model developed in partnership with the CA CORE Data Collaborative
- Offered regional effectiveness-based salary schedules for teachers -- teacher salary is determined by overall effectiveness rating (highest earned) and years teaching
- Developed regional teacher leadership offerings that better meet the needs of individual schools and regions within the Aspire network
- Streamlined the teacher observation system to focus on three "mini" observations over the course of the year (as opposed to a single, annual "extended" observation)
- Developing new observer certification process that includes a mix of evidence collection, rating, and calibration process with regional and Aspire-wide peers
- Piloting video observations as a potential replacement for "in-person" observation using Swivl video devices
- Piloting student growth measures grounded in students' reading achievement (Lexile growth) for both individual and schoolwide student growth measures
- Teachers are eligible for effectiveness-based salary increases each year. Base salaries are determined by a teacher's highest overall effectiveness rating earned to date (Entering, Emerging, Effective, Highly Effective, Master) and their years teaching.
- Effectiveness-based bonuses are available to principals (0-10 percent of base salary) and Instructional Coaches (0-5 percent of base salary).
- Teachers may apply for effectiveness-based PD and leadership opportunities, most of which provide an accompanying stipend ($500-$4000).