Chalkboard Awards Five New CLASS Grants
Over $115,000 granted to support teacher success
PORTLAND, OR - June 4, 2012- Chalkboard Project’s CLASS Project, which began with three school districts in 2007, now reaches 23 school districts and more than a quarter of Oregon’s student population.
Bethel, Corvallis, Dallas, David Douglas, and Mt. Angel School Districts each will receive grants to design expanded career paths, educator evaluation systems, targeted professional development programs, and new compensation systems. In addition to awarding the five CLASS Design Grants, Chalkboard will provide a direct grant and technical assistance to the Klamath Falls City School District to pursue deeper work in performance evaluation.
CLASS – Creative Leadership Achieves Student Success – is designed and led by and for teachers, on the ground, one district at a time. All districts focus on the four components listed above, but each district designs a different program tailored to the unique needs of its students and staff.
“We are thrilled to see the continued interest in CLASS and collaborative teacher-led reform work in K-12 education in this state,” said Chalkboard Project President Sue Hildick. “Teachers are leading the way on new career models that are dramatically improving results for kids. Investing in the education profession and helping to elevate practitioners is a strategy worth growing, and we are pleased CLASS is attracting local, state and national support.”
In the three CLASS districts that started in 2007, teachers report an increased focus on student learning and improvement in their practice as educators. The student learning outcomes are also very promising. Since the implementation of its CLASS Project, the Tillamook School District is seeing over three times the growth of similar districts in the number of students meeting and exceeding benchmarks on state tests.
“Corvallis School District is honored to work with Chalkboard and to collaborate with other CLASS Project districts,” said Corvallis School District Superintendent Erin Prince. “We look forward to enhancing our teacher and administrative performance evaluation models, as well as linking strong, embedded professional growth directly to our work in impacting student growth. Additionally, we are excited to build leadership capacity with all staff while creating more articulated career pathways and creative compensation. This truly is work being done by and for the teachers and staff with the greatest end result, increased student growth.”
With the addition of these five districts, CLASS now impacts about 155,000 students, or 28 percent of Oregon’s K-12 public school district student population. Newly awarded grants will touch approximately 27,000 students.
“Bethel teachers and administrators worked with Chalkboard to create a powerful professional growth tool in the past, and we are anxious to reconnect with Chalkboard as a CLASS district,” said Bethel School District Superintendent Colt Gill. “This will allow us to collaborate on a process that will take our system to the next level. We will create even more meaningful performance evaluations and we will have the ability to provide relevant professional development even through the state’s funding crisis.”
The 2011 passage of Senate Bill 252 expands the CLASS model even further. SB 252 created the School District Collaboration Fund to support the kind of collaborative, bottom-up reforms that CLASS represents. District Collaboration Grants recently were awarded by the State to eleven Oregon districts to implement the four CLASS components – expanded career paths, effective performance evaluations, targeted professional development, and new compensation models.
Chalkboard Project presented CLASS at the 2012 Labor Management Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio last month at the invitation of U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. State and district school chiefs, union leaders, and school board leaders from 41 states and over 100 school districts were at the conference where Chalkboard described how CLASS is empowering educators to design and implement local initiatives to strengthen teaching and raise achievement. CLASS was billed as a model of collaboration between district administrations, school boards and teacher unions.
About the Chalkboard Project
The Chalkboard Project is an independent education reform organization dedicated to making Oregon’s K-12 public schools among the best in the country. We are funded by a consortium of Oregon’s leading philanthropic foundations who share a central belief that expert research is essential to identifying policies and practices that improve outcomes for students. In 2011, Chalkboard was awarded $24.4M in federal funding to accelerate CLASS, a revolutionary initiative that is transforming the teaching profession by creating new career pathways that lead to higher achievement in the classroom.
Launched in 2004, Chalkboard is the first initiative of Foundations for a Better Oregon (FBO). FBO partners include: Meyer Memorial Trust, The Oregon Community Foundation, The Collins Foundation, The Ford Family Foundation, JELD-WEN Foundation, and The James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation. www.chalkboardproject.org @ChalkTalkers