2022 Eddies Awards: Best Implementation

The Eddies—annual, advocate-nominated and voted awards—feature outstanding policy and advocacy wins from the past year.

This Eddies category highlights the necessary implementation work to ensure that breakthrough policies or laws lead to sustained impact for students. Advocates know that passing policy is only the beginning of the work to change outcomes and opportunities for students. This is the first time work has been recognized in this category.

See a complete list of 2022 nominees in all Eddies categories. Staff at PIE Network members and partner organizations, check your inbox for a link to vote in each category. Don’t see it? Email [email protected].

Best Implementation Finalists

Best Implementation Honorable Mentions

FINALISTS

A for Arizona

Arizona’s Way: How to remove red tape and create a more robust teacher talent pool

In 2017, Arizona took bold action on teacher certification requirements in a joint effort with the US Chamber Foundation. By using the principles of Talent Pipeline Management, new Arizona laws were put in place to 1) streamline and simplify Arizona’s teacher certification reciprocity statutes for teachers in good standing and with a valid certification from another state; 2) creating true alternative-preparation programs that allow for a variety of instructional formats, sequences, and include a broader swath of entities to train teachers; 3) allow subject-matter experts to teach without the expense of an additional, often unnecessary degree; and 4) empower local leaders to train and certify their own teachers directly. With this bold reform package, Governor Doug Ducey and the Arizona Legislature truly empowered principals and system leaders to have greater control over their local talent pipeline needs.

The A for Arizona team has led on policy implementation in collaboration with the Arizona State Board of Education who oversees traditional and alternative teacher talent pipelines. Their work has included weighing in on adoption of rules and qualifying subject matter degrees, educating new board members about the history, purpose and value of these pathways as well as providing testimony and letters of support for high-quality public school systems seeking to launch Classroom-Based Prep programs. The team has diligently pursued data from the Department of Education and compared data trends to national and local vacancies, educator discipline reports, and traditional educator pipeline pipelines. The most important implementation work has been hosting talent-pipeline specific events and providing spaces for collaboration with the organization’s School Leadership Collective principals and system leaders across the state to ensure they not only know about the certification reform pathways that exist, but also who is utilizing them, best practices underway, how to complete and providing feedback on State Board of Education talent pipeline application submissions, and connecting school leaders with each other to build an effective learning community.

These 2017 reforms not only increased the number of certificated educators available to teach in Arizona, but they also provided targeted strategies that allow school leaders to be more engaged in managing their staffing needs locally versus waiting for education colleges to meet demand. Eight school districts – including the largest district in the state – and one charter network have become approved Classroom-Based Prep programs to train interested teaching candidates right in the K-12 classroom. The most striking feature of Arizona’s Classroom Based model is that the certificate cannot be granted to the individual on this track until they demonstrate results with students – a higher bar than any teachers leaving higher education institution programs. The subject-matter expert track has been embraced by over 3,000 individuals seeking this pathway to get credentialed and local schools have hired more than 2,400 new educators to teach since 2017. Nearly a third are in high-need subject-matter areas such as math, computer science, physics, chemistry, and biology which has enabled local leaders to add more rigorous course work like Calculus and other early college credit-earning courses to their course options. Arizona adopted into law additional pipeline reforms in 2022 championed by Senator Rick Gray and informed by A for Arizona school partners that were built upon lessons learned since 2017 which empower local leaders with even more options to hire, train, and deploy prepared individuals – including aspiring principals and assistant principals – using local training strategies that get results for students.

BEST NC

Transforming Principal Pay for Student Success

In 2017, North Carolina became the first state in the nation to transform its principal pay schedule to incentivize the retention of high-performing principals and to recruit great principals to high-needs schools. This effort began in 2016 when BEST NC joined other advocates to encourage lawmakers to increase principal pay, which was near last in the country.

Using data examining the impacts of the existing experience-based pay model and surveys of successful executive compensation packages, BEST NC developed a set of recommendations that would transform principal pay. First, BEST NC secured previously unavailable data to examine the correlation between years of experience and student outcomes (measured by both achievement and value-added growth measures). While experience has long been a proxy for performance, the analysis showed no correlation between experience and student outcomes.

Further, examining best practices for executive compensation in the private sector, it was determined that principal pay should be based on two key factors, the complexity of the school they lead and how well they lead it. Shifting a schedule that had over 2,500 principals to a new schedule could not be done without a massive pay investment. The business community advocated for the largest principal pay increase in the history of North Carolina, bringing principal pay from near last in the country to 3rd in the region.

In the years since the initial policy passed, BEST NC has repeatedly had to defend the transformed schedule against efforts to revert back to an experience-based model, along with advocating for additional increases in pay. BEST NC business leader members have been critical to this effort, signing letters of support for principal pay each year following the initial passage.

In 2020, a preliminary study of the effects of the policy found that it is having a positive effect on the principal pipeline. The study states, “principal performance pay retains effective principals while pushing ineffective principals out of their positions. Performance pay’s financial incentives also induce effective principals into transferring to traditionally harder-to-staff, persistently underperforming and Title I schools.”You can find more information here: www.bestnc.org/principalpay

Colorado Succeeds & ExcelinEd

Career Development Incentive Program (CDIP)

In 2016, the Colorado legislature passed the state’s first-ever incentive fund for career-connected learning. Colorado Succeeds joined forces with a broad coalition of advocacy partners, businesses, and school districts to pass this policy. 

The incentive fund was modeled after a similar policy in Florida that greatly increased the number of high-quality industry credentials earned by students. Colorado Succeeds worked in partnership with ExcelinED to bring this concept to Colorado.  

Now in its sixth year of implementation, learners have earned 31,466 industry credentials and career-connected learning experiences aligned with top jobs in their community. 38% of these credentials were earned by students of color, 29% qualify for FRL, and 63% are in rural districts. The program has awarded $16M to over 50 school districts, to date. 

Colorado Succeeds works closely with rural districts to help develop credentialing opportunities while engaging employers in annually updating the state’s list of high-demand credentials eligible for funding.  

The state legislature applauds the program’s high return on investment by increasing the program’s funding each year and integrating the program into other important statewide measures – including additional points for participating districts in the state’s accountability system. 

Learn more about Colorado’s Career Development Incentive Pilot (CDIP).

Additional partners: ​​St. Vrain Valley School District, Apple, Code.org

EdAllies, Great MN Schools, TNTP

Launching Minnesota’s First Alternative Teacher Preparation Programs

Minnesota has some of the worst teacher diversity rates in the nation—plus ongoing shortages in specific fields and a historically rigid framework for entering the profession. In 2011, EdAllies’ founding executive director, then at Teach for America, led the charge to change this—opening the door by authorizing alternative teacher preparation for the first time. In 2017, EdAllies and its partners at TFA and Lakes Country Service Cooperative (LCSC) revamped this law, finally allowing high-quality, alternative pathways to take root outside of traditional higher ed. By also passing a state grant program and leveraging Great Minnesota Schools’ philanthropy work, several programs launched and are sending graduates into the workforce.

Moving from legislation to implementation was no small feat. EdAllies, GMS, TNTP, TFA, LCSC, the Learning Disabilities Association, and others worked for four years to ensure rulemaking supported quality without undue barriers, and that the program approval process was fair and inclusive of alternative models. Sound public policy was the launching point, but it took a strong coalition of advocates, direct service providers, philanthropy, and policymakers to ensure successful implementation. In 2022, TNTP graduated their first cohort, and three homegrown programs are sending graduates into high-need fields, including CTE, ASD, EBD, and ABS.

Additional partners: ​​Teach for America-Twin Cities, Lakes Country Service Cooperative, Learning Disabilities Association of Minnesota

Empower Illinois

Invest in Kids Act Implementation

In 2017, Empower Illinois and Illinois education advocates passed the bipartisan Invest in Kids Act, which created an equitable funding formula for the state’s public school system and initiated a five-year pilot for the Tax Credit Scholarship Program. As a scholarship granting organization, Empower Illinois has awarded over 28,000 scholarships and raised $196 million to support kids from low-income and working-class families since the program began.

Demand for the program skyrocketed and Empower Illinois recognized the need for quality program administration. Our team built a custom, transparent, and user-friendly platform, EmpowerXChange®, whose novel capabilities secured a technology United States Patent in 2021. We routinely engage stakeholders and roll out system improvements to meet their requests quarterly. Our Customer Success Team consistently earns 98% satisfaction ratings, and 97% of families feel “extremely satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their decisions to pursue a tax credit scholarship with Empower Illinois.

The Tax Credit Scholarship Program continues to face organized opposition, and campaigns to end the program have been launched two times in the last three years. Empower Illinois not only protected the Invest in Kids Act Tax Credit Scholarship Program on each of those occasions but also secured a one-year program extension and got program improvements unanimously passed this year.

Mississippi First

Mississippi Early Learning Collaboratives: State-Funded Pre-K

Mississippi First was instrumental in passing Mississippi’s first state-funded pre-K law. In early 2023, the program established by the law will celebrate 10 years!

For almost a decade since 2013, Mississippi First has continued to advocate increasing funding to the program while also providing technical assistance to the Mississippi Department of Education to ensure quality implementation. In 2021, the Mississippi State Legislature doubled its investment to $16M and then added $8M more to the program in April 2022, for a total of $24M for the program. We secured an additional $3.25M for pre-K coaches to support every single teacher in a state-funded pre-K classroom. With each legislative funding increase, the number of impacted communities has grown. Beginning in the 2022-2023 school year, the state-funded pre-K program will be able to reach 25% of four-year-olds in Mississippi.

When we started this work, no one thought we would ever get a bill passed, let alone a bill that helps Mississippi’s program rank among the top programs in the country in terms of quality. Our outcome data show that children in Mississippi’s collaborative program outperform all their peers on the state’s kindergarten-readiness exam, with over 75% of program participants earning a score above the “ready” benchmark. We could not be more proud of this achievement!

HONORABLE MENTIONS

New America

GYO Educator Network

Over the past three years, New America has been engaged in comprehensive research and analysis of Grow Your Own (GYO) Educator Programs across the country. This body of work has explored the existing landscape of GYO program and policy, spotlighted new directions for GYO, and guided the agendas of national and state leaders as they look to GYO as a way to support community development efforts, address teacher shortages, and improve and diversify the educator workforce.

In 2021, New America launched a GYO Educator Network that brings together GYO programs and partnerships across 13 states to share best practices, develop advocacy strategies, learn more about data collection and program evaluation, and build connections with peers. We extended the strategy to start a separate professional learning community for state education staff who lead and implement GYO efforts at the state level; this group includes state education staff participants from eight states. We also awarded subgrants to three organizations to help build capacity for GYO educator programs in their regions (Indianapolis, northern Iowa, and northcentral Mississippi).

Our work has led to a wave of enabling policies and funding at both the federal and state levels. GYO as an educator preparation strategy has been included in federal plans and appropriations bills, and at least 4 new states plus the District of Columbia have initiated GYO programs in the last 18 mos. The number of states providing funding for GYO programs has also steadily increased over the past several years (now at 21 states).

Our GYO work currently serves: 

  • 3 new grantees (~$200,000 investment in local communities)
  • 14 programs in 13 states, including representatives from school districts, educator preparation programs, and community-based organizations
  • 1,200+ GYO candidates

The need for continued opportunities for practitioners to connect and learn together is stronger than ever. Our monthly learning sessions have only begun to scratch the surface of relevant topics, including program evaluation, candidate recruitment and mentoring, advocacy, funding for sustainability, data alignment, and building strong partnerships. Network members have become essential collaborators in the learning, with members presenting on and sharing their own work and expertise. They have also been exposed to how policymakers and advocates are advancing system and policy alignment to support high-quality GYO programs in the face of broader education, workforce, and economic and community development goals. We have built a community that is working together with the shared goal of sharing the impact of GYO and the value of preparing teachers from the local community.

At the same time, substantial gaps exist in the research base behind the strategy, alignment, and communication of efforts across programs, sustainability of program funding, and more is to be learned about how GYO intersects with other strategies of teacher preparation, including apprenticeship and community college baccalaureate programs.

PAVE (Parents Amplifying Voices in Education)

#MentalWellnessWins

PAVE parents have fought for school-based mental health (SBMH) supports since 2018, when the district passed, but didn’t have full funding for, a SBMH expansion. They worked with community partners, clinicians, schools, and advocacy groups to ensure the expansion was successful. Parents’ relentless advocacy year over year secured funding so that EVERY school had at least one mental health clinician, and more schools had access to trauma-informed training, social-emotional learning programs, and wrap-around support. 

That foundation was a game-changer when the pandemic hit. While other jurisdictions were scrambling to ramp up support, DC was able to both deepen support available and plan for more. Last year, parents secured an additional $2.4 million to right-size grants for community-based providers so they could afford continued work in schools given the increased cost of care, and secured $150,000 to complete a study to assess the costs of comprehensive mental health supports in our new normal. This will improve budget planning, engagement, care coordination, and workforce development. These smart, community-centered policy solutions allowed more students and families to receive the care that they needed during an unprecedented time and set DC up to be a trailblazer in expanding mental health supports at school.

Teach Plus California

Implementation of the English Learner Roadmap

The English Learner Roadmap was a landmark policy and guide adopted by the California State Board of Education in 2017. While it set the foundations for how schools might better meet the needs of multilingual leaders, the promise of this revolutionary policy has not yet been realized. Outcomes for English learner students have not improved and many schools and districts continue to struggle to recognize and address the diverse needs of multilingual learners.

Teach Plus California has been advocating for the last five years for additional legislation to refine the policy infrastructure, calling out the unique identities and experiences of students within the English learner title. While continuing to refine the state policy infrastructure, Teach Plus California launched the Emergent Bilingual Change Agent Network, supporting teacher leaders to lead change at the local level that reflects the principles of the English Learner Roadmap. Working with teacher leaders in ten communities throughout California, Teach Plus supported them in identifying barriers to implementation of the EL Roadmap and developing change ideas to overcome those barriers. Teacher Leaders led implementation efforts that addressed a range of issues, including educator awareness of the Roadmap, and more robust and integrated data systems. Teach Plus California has launched the second cohort of change agents and will continue to monitor progress at the local level.

See a complete list of 2022 nominees in all Eddies categories.

Anna McDaniel-Wyatt

Anna McDaniel-Wyatt

Analyst, Communications & Member Engagement