Strengthening Teacher and Leader Effectiveness Grant boosts Fulton City School District

As part of a Strengthening Teacher and Leader Effectiveness Grant, educators in the Fulton City School District will benefit from job-embedded skill coaching and additional professional development opportunities throughout the school year.

According to Mary Ann DeMar, instructional program coordinator and grant facilitator, the grant is multifaceted and allows the district to implement teacher-to-teacher coaching by entrenching instructional coaches in the buildings and developing a career ladder that supports research-based implementation of the Common Core Learning Standards.

“The grant is really focusing on creating career ladders to empower teachers to be leaders,” DeMar said. “One layer of that teacher leader effectiveness component is bringing in coaches that work directly with the instructional staff within the district.”

Along with DeMar, the newly formed team includes Nathan Murray, the Common Core technology/STEM coordinator, and instructional coaches Gina Salerno, Pamela McHenry and Lynnette DePoint.

The team will be actively involved at each building. Each new teacher will work with one of the coaches on a weekly basis.

“We’re really going in to help teachers become highly effective teachers. This will, in effect, increase student achievement,” DeMar said.

The student achievement aspect is the ultimate area of focus for the instructional coaches.

“Although we are supporting teachers, it is always with the kids in mind,” DePoint said. “We are very, very student focused. By supporting the teachers, we are reaching the students. We’re helping teachers find ways to reach all of their learners.”

In addition to the instructional coaches, there are also several other key players who make up the career ladder.

Other roles include Common Core technology leaders, subject area specialists, professional development coordinators, principal leaders, and administrative coordinators.

The grant also helps revitalize the mentoring program, which allows teachers to work with mentees and receive professional development. Furthermore, it promotes data-driven instruction and puts the district on track to developing and retaining the most effective teachers and school leaders.