Virginia Educators Share Best Practices
Dear Friends:

Prince William County Schools (PWCS) in Virginia and CTAC are partnering to implement the Teacher Incentive Performance Award (TIPA) program in 30 of the district's high need schools. TIPA is a 5 year, school-wide performance-based compensation and professional development initiative, which provides bonuses to teachers and administrators in those 30 schools demonstrating the greatest impact on 23 school effectiveness criteria that are weighted as follows:
  • 39.8% on student growth
  • 11.7% on student achievement
  • 26.9% on teacher quality
  • 21.6% on school climate
Professional development for teachers and principals is a key component of TIPA. TIPA includes a standards-based approach to instructional improvement, leadership development, and comprehensive professional development to assist all teachers to improve their practice.
Recently, 200 PWCS educators attended a Best Practices Conference highlighting the many outstanding practices implemented over the last 5 years through the TIPA program. Educators from nine TIPA schools presented workshops focusing on:
  • Why and how key systems, processes, and best practices have been developed and implemented within the schools;
  • Challenges and barriers that arose and how they were overcome; and
  • Increased academic growth and achievement of students that have occurred as a result of this work.
Key takeaways from the conference included the following ideas and practices:
  • School climate and culture set the stage. A welcoming atmosphere that cultivates trust, participation, and a sense of belonging motivates both students and teachers.
  • Collaboration is key. Leaders cannot effectuate positive change by themselves; building a community of instructionally-focused collaboration among faculty--including core academic teachers, reading specialists, ESOL teachers and special education teachers-leads to improved student learning.
  • Educators must be reflective practitioners. Teachers should consistently monitor students' strengths and weaknesses, and have opportunities to reflect on what adjustments are necessary to improve the impact of their instruction.
  • Students learn when adults are lifelong learners. Teachers who adopt a lifelong learning mindset positively impact students' commitment to become active learners.
  • Data must be used in real-time to assist teachers to identify and address learning difficulties and academic needs. Professional development should be connected to the specific challenges teachers experience in their classrooms.
TIPA has had striking results in terms of improving teacher practice, school performance, and district innovation in professional development.
Best Regards,
William J. Slotnik
Founder and Executive Director
Community Training and Assistance Center (CTAC)