Six years into our work, Teaching Trust is working with more than 600 leaders committed to achieving better outcomes for students. We publish our annual Impact Report as a way to hold ourselves accountable for making progress, achieving our desired impact, and getting better every year. Through this report, we also celebrate the work of school leaders who are making a difference in the lives of their students.
Imagine the energy in the building as more than 250 high-performing educators gathered for a day of learning and collaboration, punctuated by inspirational keynote speakers and topical content sessions. This was the scene on Saturday, February 4th as Teaching Trust hosted our 2017 Alumni Network “Leading to Impact Summit” at the George W. Bush Institute. This year’s theme was “Transformation Takes Trust,” offering our current Leadership Program participants and alumni school leaders new perspectives and actionable strategies to develop trust in schools and in their daily lives through the lens of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Teaching Trust’s CEO, Patrick Haugh, welcomed attendees and reflected on the immediate need for leadership, noting, “now is precisely the right time for educators to convene and engage in these topics on behalf of students and families.”
Beverley Alridge Wright, founder of Dallas Dinner Table, kicked off the day with an inspirational speech expounding on the foundational importance trust-building. She also helped set a growth mindset for the day, reminding those gathered that leadership is “not about perfection; it’s about progress.”
Participants spent the day engaging in breakout sessions led by experts from organizations such as Momentous Institute, Border Crossers, TNTP, Teach For America - DFW, Relay Graduate School of Education, and Teaching Trust alumni. Kim Marshall, editor of “The Marshall Memo” and educational thought-leader, led sessions on critical strategies to improve classroom instruction including giving effective feedback and differentiation.
Dr. Michael Sorrell, President of Paul Quinn College, concluded the Summit with a powerful reminder to all Teaching Trust leaders working to improve the lives of students across Dallas-Fort Worth: “The needs of the community supercede the wants of the individual. You don’t get to be selfish when you choose to lead.” Dr. Sorrell noted the inequities and injustices that persist in the communities we serve and challenged participants to consider and embrace their role as agents of change.
The large, dynamic community of educators investing a full Saturday at the Summit highlighted the commitment of our growing network of Teaching Trust alumni leaders to improving their own practice and building trust with their staff, students, and families.
The impact of the day’s lessons were not limited to Teaching Trust’s work in schools, but they have broader implications for the future society that our leaders are shaping. One alumni leader reflected, “It was so powerful and important to have sessions on trust and speakers like Dr. Sorrell in our current world. Thank you for addressing our civic responsibility in growing authentic trust in our work.”
Teaching Trust believes that improving educational opportunities for children of all races and classes is critically important. Now more than ever, it is critically important to build trust in our schools and communities while affirming the values of diversity, equity, and inclusiveness.
On February 4, 2017, join our movement as we bring together over 300 Teaching Trust participants, alumni, and partners in a day of learning and collaboration around our Summit theme: Transformation Takes Trust.
Content will focus on:
- Building relationships by developing culturally responsive leadership
- Sharpening academic practices that will drive results for students
The Teaching Trust Alumni Network’s two-day Get Better Faster training, featuring national education thought-leader Paul Bambrick-Santoyo, was widely successful in equipping educators with tools to accelerate new teachers’ effectiveness in the classroom. The training brought together 450+ educators, hailing from over 130 schools across 8 districts/charter networks throughout the state, who are now better equipped to train teachers and accelerate their impact.
The goals of the Teaching Trust sponsored training were to teach school leaders and instructional coaches how to effectively observe new teachers and provide in the moment-feedback to strengthen their instructional competence.
The ability to connect over 450 educators who are working to boost student achievement illustrates the Teaching Trust Alumni Network’s focus on collaboration, peer-to-peer learning, and sharing best practices.
This was the most recent opportunity for Texas educators to experience Bambrick-Santoyo's training. Teaching Trust has partnered with Bambrick-Santoyo since our inception and are proud that Teaching Trust leaders were featured in his most recent book and that he wanted to host this new training here in DFW.
Bambrick-Santoyo reflected, “I can count on one hand the number of high-quality programs making a difference in educational leadership—Teaching Trust is one of three programs in this country doing this level of work. That is why I keep coming back.”
The Teaching Trust Alumni Network plans to facilitate more opportunities for hundreds of North Texas educators to collaborate and learn together this year, including the second annual Leading to Impact Summit on February 4th, school visits, and the Reaching Rigor professional development series.
Written by Alicia McGlinchey, Teaching Trust Director of Development
I arrive at Cigarroa Elementary at 7:15 am to spend my day with Principal Quinton Courts, an alumnus of the Teaching Trust Aspiring Leaders Program. Quinton is already busy greeting staff and students and preparing for the day ahead. Almost immediately, Quinton’s phone lights up with texts from two staff members—one is running late and another calls in ill. And so the juggling begins as Quinton considers options. He consults a board in the main office in search of a substitute teacher, as well as classroom and lunchroom coverage to fill the gaps.
We step into classrooms and sit in tiny chairs to observe the teaching and learning. Quinton has established a culture of observation and feedback, making time every day to visit classrooms to capture both praise and growth opportunities to help his teachers improve their craft. He moves quietly through the room and pulls a student aside to ask, “What are you learning today?” He tells me students should be able to explain what they are working on and how it relates to the day’s lesson, to ensure they’re on track to meet the daily learning objective.
Throughout the day, Quinton highlights his staff and praises their commitment to the students, and it’s clear from the interactions I witness that the school community is behind him. I meet several PTO moms in the hallway, assembling the annual Dia de los Muertos altar. They gush about how Quinton’s leadership has changed the culture of their school. Underlying Quinton’s success is his remarkable ability to connect with students, parents and staff, drawing them in as equal and essential collaborators in the larger mission.
The day follows like this, from one encounter to another. Quinton converses with a mother in Spanish about her sick student, assists the counselor with a new first grader who has recently transferred and is struggling to adjust, and coaxes a group of 5th grade boys into eating the school lunch, which they have deemed “uncool.” Throughout the day, Quinton takes pictures on his phone that he’ll feature in his weekly newsletter, examples of students and staff demonstrating Cigarroa’s values: “growth mindset,” “sense of urgency,” “belonging,” “commitment,” and “respect.” Not just posted at the school entrance, we capture living examples of these values in practice as we walk through the building.
Serving as “Principal for a Day” at Cigarroa Elementary was eye-opening, and left me with new appreciation for the challenges and complexity of the job. I marveled as Quinton pivoted from one task to another, displaying a remarkably broad set of skills: from instructional leader to facilities manager, ambassador to disciplinarian, cheerleader to consultant, thought-partner to chief decision-maker. Despite the push and pull of unexpected issues arising in the course of a “regular” day, it was clear Quinton and his staff never lost sight of the long-term vision – driving better academic outcomes for their students. I left with a feeling of gratitude for the heroic work I witnessed at Cigarroa Elementary, and a new appreciation for the critical role performed by school leaders like Quinton!