What is Talent for Turnaround Leadership Academy

The Talent for Turnaround Leadership Academy, which we call “T4T” for short is a cross-Comprehensive Center Network initiative that helps states and districts align their school improvement and equitable access initiatives T4TLA is a blended learning technical assistance approach. So it includes both in-person collaborative convenings where we bring all of the states, districts and center partners together to learn across several days, in person, and it also includes interim support that’s largely provided by the regional centers at home in the states and districts that are a part of the cohort. Well, when we first started this “Talent for Turnaround” initiative I was a little skeptical but we trusted the process and we gave it the benefit of the doubt and it was one of the best things we could’ve done. So through Talent for Turnaround we’ve brought states together several times to engage in a continuous improvement planning process This includes looking at their data to understand their prioritized challenges, engaging in root cause analysis both with their state and district team and with stakeholders to understand the perceived reasons for the challenges that the are experiencing and then examining the strategies they already have in place that might be strengthened to tackle these challenges or considering new evidence-based strategies that they might design and put in place to begin to address challenges, such as [teacher] retention. T4T also reflects a shift in the way the Comprehensive Center Network is approaching technical assistance in that we’re providing sustained technical assistance over time to a broad network of states and were able to build a community of practice across these states in which they can work together to solve a common problem with practice. one of the things that T4T did in a very purposeful way was identify districts for participation that were really struggling the most to close achievement gaps and to turnaround their struggling schools. Talent for Turnaround conferences have been great. The ability to collaborate with other school systems who are facing similar problems and challenges and find out how they have addressed those issues. Not to mention the expertise that this initiative has exposed us to, in terms of our plenary sessions, and our consultancies. They provide us with research-based strategies and solutions that we can apply immediately in our home district. It gives you a look at the practices that you’re currently using You have to examine really at a deeper level how you’re going to move things, turn student achievement around and retain your teachers. A lot of times we keep doing the same things expecting different results this has forced our district to examine very much so in a different lens how we’re going to get the work done and do it in such a way that it’s going to impact years and years to come. When we helped T4T states and districts look at their talent data they found that retention was across the board the most pressing challenge. Many T4T states and districts lose 50% or more of their teachers in the first 1 to 3 years. Teachers become more effective the longer they are on the job and effective teachers are a way to close achievement gaps. The research shows that an effective teacher can help students gain up to one-and-a-half years of learning in the school year and an ineffective teacher may only help their students gain a half of year of learning. Each state and district team has identified a T4T strategy and they are all in varying stages of implementation.

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