4.2 Design and implement talent pipeline partnerships with talent providers


+ An effective talent strategy ultimately depends on strong partnerships with talent providers to ensure your district has consistent access to great leaders and teachers.

Districts across the United States have been forming productive relationships with talent providers. Potential partners generally take two forms: local universities and national partners. These are not mutually exclusive. You should design a program that brings you the best teachers and whether that involves local or national partners, or both, will depend on your district’s context.

+ Prioritize your talent needs by analyzing where your strengths and opportunities. Start with your current staff. Where are your best teachers and leaders coming from? What can you do to get more of them?

Conduct an analysis to gain a clear understanding of what your talent needs are over the next several years. Set goals for numbers of teachers in specific content areas (XX% increase in math teachers by 2020).

Examine your current leader/teacher pool and identify where your best educators are coming from. Target partnerships with these programs.

Partner with programs that share a common vision and goals. Many districts have been successful in co-developing programs with preparation programs that embed necessary competencies and training methods that align with your district’s needs.

Denver Public Schools (DPS) partnered with local universities to develop three additional teacher preparation programs to train teachers using different training preferences. In the Denver Teacher Residency program, candidates receive master’s degrees and commit to teaching in DPS for at least five years. DPS also developed a program called "Denver Teach Today" that provides an expedited path to licensure.

Ensure tight alignment on expectations for students and commit to a continuous improvement process. Create a plan to ensure that prospective teachers’ clinical experiences align with course content. Share tools and rubrics as much as possible. Districts and preparation programs should also commit to sharing and reviewing data together to evaluate program effectiveness. Data should include student achievement and teacher performance and retention.

+ Work from your current assets by assigning a leader to manage this work and mine your district’s current relationships to get the partnership conversation started.

Consider financial incentives to create and strengthen relationships with these programs. In Denver, the district offers a $10,000 stipend to teacher candidates during the residency year. They also received a Teacher Quality Partnership grant awarded from 2010-15. Denver Teach Today is funded through the DPS budget with some funds coming from a federal Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) grant. The Student Teacher Residency was awarded a $250,000 grant from a local philanthropic organization.

If one exists, leverage a citywide philanthropic organization (Sublever 6.2) to support partnerships with proven talent providers

Assign a high-level district leader (e.g. superintendent, Chief Talent Officer, Deputy Superintendent) to lead the process and implement key strategies to develop these partnerships.

Find key contacts within teacher preparation programs aligned to your district’s goals. The start of the partnership process may begin with conversations with mission-aligned deans of education, individual professors, directors of teacher placement, or career services representatives.