Improving the effectiveness of teachers and leaders provides the overall framework for the EAC's work. For decades, schools in high-poverty areas have been and continue to be significantly less likely to employ and retain high-quality teachers, as measured by teacher experience and credentials, and effective teachers, as measured by data on student growth and achievement. Effective teachers actively engage students in grappling with challenging content; monitor student work; check for understanding; and give timely, substantive feedback. They activate students’ prior knowledge through questions, cues, and advance organizers; scaffold learning by breaking complex tasks into smaller steps; state lesson goals; present new information clearly; assign meaningful homework; and provide regular, focused reviews of key concepts and skills. Effective teachers use formal and informal assessment data to guide instruction and, through carefully designed sequences of units and lessons, they help students take notes, summarize, organize, and retrieve information. They focus relentlessly on higher-order thinking; provide guided and independent practice with new skills; model procedures; and use multiple examples, illustrations, and kinesthetic activity to help students grasp new material. Further, effective teachers are professional learners who collaborate with peers; keep up with research and technology; and constantly upgrade their content knowledge and teaching strategies (Carroll, et al., 2010; Darling-Hammond, et al., 2009; Marzano, 2007).
Effective leadership that supports such teaching is collaborative; targets instructional improvement; actively involves teachers, students, and parents; provides supportive working conditions; strengthens professional community; and encourages high levels of student effort. Effective leaders set directions, develop people, redesign the organization, and manage the instructional program. They focus the school on goals and high expectations for student achievement; keep track of teachers’ professional development needs; and create structures and opportunities for teacher collaboration. Effective leaders provide direction and exercise influence, maintaining coherent management of school culture, order, resources, curriculum, instruction, assessment, communication, outreach, relationships, and change (Leithwood, et al., 2006a, 2006b; Louis, et al., 2010; Waters, Marzano, & McNulty, 2003, 2005).
EAC has established six priority areas:
- Effective Teachers and Leaders
- Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM)
- English Learners
- School Climate and Culture
- High-Poverty and Low-Performing Schools
Carroll, T.G., Fulton, K., & Doerr, H. (Eds.)(2010). Team up for 21st century teaching and learning. Washington, DC: National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future.
Darling-Hammond, L., Wei, R.C., Andree, A., Richardson, N., & Orphanos, S. (2009). Professional learning in the learning profession. Dallas, TX: National Staff Development Council.
Marzano, R.J. (2007). The art and science of teaching: A comprehensive framework for effective instruction. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Leithwood, K., Day, C., Sammons, P., Harris, A., & Hopkins, D. (2006a). Seven strong claims about successful school leadership. Nottingham, UK: National College for School Leadership.
Leithwood, K., Day, C., Sammons, P., Harris, A., & Hopkins, D. (2006b). Successful school leadership: What it is and how it influences pupil learning. Research Report 800. Nottingham, UK: National College for School Leadership.
Louis, K.S., Leithwood, K., Wahlstrom, K.L., & Anderson, S.E. (2010). Investigating the links to improved student learning: Final report of research findings. Minneapolis, MN: Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement, University of Minnesota.