CLASS Project | Chalkboard Project

CLASS Project

An innovative education initiative designed to empower teachers and raise student achievement

Creative Leadership Achieves Student Success (CLASS)

A great teacher has the power to change a child’s life. In fact, research shows that teachers are the single most important in-class factor in determining whether and how well students learn.

Chalkboard created CLASS in 2007 to grow four components linked to effective teaching:

  • Expanded career paths
  • Effective performance evaluations
  • Relevant professional development
  • New compensation models

Today, the CLASS model is being implemented statewide through the state-funded School District Collaboration Fund (SDCF).

How Does It Work?

School districts that apply for CLASS/SDCF must demonstrate readiness and collaborative relationships between their superintendent, school board chair, and union president. Once the district receives its grant, Chalkboard provides each design team with a CLASS coach, who helps the team create blueprints around the following four components:

  1. New Career Paths. CLASS/SDCF provides teachers with the opportunity to develop their leadership skills and to be recognized as teacher-leaders, including responsibilities such as mentoring, instructional coaching, district curriculum leadership, and transitions into administration.
  2. Meaningful Performance Evaluations. Clear teacher evaluation standards are created with a focus on advancing the quality of teaching and learning, gains in student achievement, and teacher growth.
  3. Relevant and Targeted Professional Development Opportunities. The initiative provides districts with support as they design professional learning opportunities that are evidence based and align with current research. This often includes early-career mentorship, paid leave for trainings, cultural competency skills, and subject-specific trainings.
  4. Expanded Compensation Models. Perhaps the most controversial reform category, districts create alternatives to traditional salary schedules through career-based pay and bonuses, which are based on greater teacher responsibilities, leadership opportunities, professional growth, and student outcomes.

What Are the Results?

The results of CLASS/SDCF are transformative. By providing teachers with the time and resources to address local needs and increase ownership over local solutions, teachers in CLASS/SDCF districts are helping students achieve greater success. In fact, students in CLASS/SDCF districts have consistently shown increased scores in state assessments than the rest of the state. Independent analysis conducted by ECONorthwest of the 2013-14 school and district performance data shows that if every school district in Oregon implemented CLASS/SDCF:

  • Oregon would be among top ten states in the nation as measured by eighth grade achievement
  • Oregon would reach 100 percent high school graduation two years sooner than projected
  • Today’s students would see an additional lifetime earning of $299 million

Project Sustainability

The CLASS model was adopted by the state in 2011 as the result of Senate Bill 252 and today has been implemented in nearly 50 districts across the state under the name School District Collaboration Fund (SDCF). Chalkboard continues to provide technical assistance and support to these districts.

In 2015 the state legislature allocated $16 million in funding for SDCF to meet the growing demand for participation amoung school districts. 

CLASS Coaches

CLASS/SDCF coaches provide coaching and technical support to the school districts that are recipients’ of the SDCF grants. They collaborate with the school districts as they design and/or implement models that are research-based and help school districts stay on target with the functions, activities, deliverables, and milestones including their stated student outcomes.

Jenna Miller and Maureen Callahan from North Clackamas at the 2016 grant managers meeting