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Rising to Meet This Moment

Atyani Howard & Arthur Mills IV

The New Teacher Center has more than 20 years of success in bringing about positive change for students in the classroom. We, along with our partners, have coached and built up educators in hundreds of school districts across the country to better engage with young people by prioritizing the rich humanity of education. But we also feel the lingering pain, uncertainty, and anxiety of the past few years – from the pandemic to stark societal inequities. We know that despite our efforts, there remains real disparity in education throughout this country.

We will not shrink back from the need. This is an extraordinary time for New Teacher Center to step up boldly. Our revitalized mission, relentless commitment, strategic priorities, and deep intentionality position us as never before to achieve a new vision for education equity.

It has been — and continues to be — a huge and exciting lift for us. Our work remains all the more critical and challenging. We’re redefining what instruction looks like, feels like, and how we can help schools implement it — especially for our prioritized student communities: BIPOC students, immigrant students, English-language learners, students experiencing poverty, and students with learning differences.

Our platform for change — professional support and care for educators — must be full of integrity and intentionality.

Our students and educators need to see, feel, and believe that we’re fighting to make optimal learning environments — thriving schools where everyone succeeds in heart and mind — the norm.

The building of our Equity Commission is a vital piece of that effort. We call on each other to connect the best of our lived humanity with what works from research and practice. The conversation isn’t about what’s missing from our technical toolkit — we’re working to put humanity at the heart of equitable teaching and learning experiences.

It’s also a natural continuation of NTC’s community-driven approach to our work. Students and educators are well-accustomed to having others come in to “fix” them. Our co-creative model is different. It lifts voices that are integral in finding and strengthening solutions. We lean into partnership as a deep process of discovery, assuming that assets surround us. That vision of being stronger together has helped NTC support almost 19,000 educators and over 2,000,000 students annually.

Our students need us. Our teachers need us. NTC is here to meet this moment and to sustain a movement.

Thank you for being on this journey with us to deliver rich learning experiences for educators and young people.

In partnership,

Atyani Howard, Interim Co-CEO and Arthur Mills IV, Interim Co-CEO

The Promise of an Open Doorway

Desmond Blackburn, Ph.D

Before former CEO Desmond Blackburn, PhD, departed NTC to take a role in the New York City Department of Education, he took time to reflect on his personal journey and how his experiences as an educator contributed to the sharpening of New Teacher Center’s vision and mission around advancing equity and inclusion among underserved student populations across the country.

As I write this, I am preparing for the next chapter in my life as an educator. I welcome this new challenge, particularly because I will once again be – as I have been at NTC – part of a team where diversity of race and culture and gender are lifted up and prioritized. These past several years at NTC have for me been transformative, creating the welcoming space that has allowed me to further define how I bring my identity as a Black man to my influence as an educator. For me, it all began with a community of men who took it upon themselves to lift up a boy with big dreams.

When I was little, a loving group of like-minded Black men formed a circle around me and locked arms. My dad. My grandpa. Uncles, coaches, pastors, cub scout leaders, and more. They set out to guard me and advise me. On how I talked and walked. Things I should say and shouldn’t say, what to wear and how not to dress. They molded me to a very specific end.

I can hear them all now. “Listen, Desmond. There is a door to prosperity: social, cultural, emotional,

financial, and mental. That door is shut to most people who look like us. We’ll never walk through it. But there’s a crack, a very thin crack, and we’re going to help you find your way to get to the other side.”

This wall of love, protection, and lived experience instilled in me everything they could so I might fit through that crack — the sliver of opportunity and acceptance offered to Black men.

And by making it to the other side, for many people, I’m what’s right with America.

But I’m an example of what’s wrong. Society didn’t want the full richness of me. I had to strip down, hide some of the best parts of me and play by the rules of the game. I had to lie about my zip code to get into the “right” school. The success I’ve achieved and where I stand today seem like a great story. Yet when I look at today’s kids — my children — I still see a mostly closed doorway and a playbook that remains unchanged.

Beginning when I was a young student, much of my life has been hiding parts of myself for fear that showing them would send me back through the crack. I learned to minimize who I am, which has followed me every step of the way.

I was 22 years old when I started teaching high school. I couldn’t see the incredible opportunity I was given to bridge the gap between my students and me. I cut off deep connections and our shared selfhood in fear of losing everything or doing something wrong in the system’s eyes. Instead of leaning into what I had in common with my students, who were primarily Black, I built walls and created distance from our shared truths, interests, and humanity.

When I became an assistant principal at a city school, my (unofficial) role was clear: maintain law and order. I was a people mover, a crowd controller. Despite a master’s in educational leadership and a mathematics degree, I was a bouncer. The conflict between who I was and who others wanted me to be started to come to a head.

Today, I regret not leveraging the opportunities I had then.

One of those was with a young Black student, Xavier, who had immense challenges at school and was labeled a “lost cause” and a “high-energy” disruptor. I played into the power dynamic and was all over him. If he breathed too hard, I was there. If he looked left instead of right, I was there. The consequences were a lot of punishments and time out of class. I used all of the wrong tools. I never asked him what was going on or why he was sad, angry, or having a hard time. At some point, he transferred to another middle school. On one occasion when I traveled across the city as a basketball team chaperone, I saw him on the court, smiling and wearing the other school’s uniform. When I asked my colleague at that school how hard it was to have her hands full with him, I swear she looked right through me. “Xavier’s been great,” she said. “We just give him a lot of love and care.” I felt the entirety of me shrink to nothing. I used my position to create distance between us and punish him — I didn’t know anything about him. She used her

position to extend him care and safety and a voice. And he was thriving. Who better to open themselves and deeply connect with a 13-year-old Black boy than me? But I didn’t.

When navigating life in the crack, this is what you’d expect. I own every choice I’ve made and acknowledge that fear drove too many of them. For too long, I stood in an untenable space that squashed the most authentic parts of who I was because I foolishly believed I’d eventually be accepted. But there was no freedom for me.

For over 26 years, I’ve called myself an educator. And even when I reached what felt like a peak — superintendent — I still couldn’t be me and bring about the changes for every student pushed to the margins. I had to stay in that crack. Be the model Negro. Every time I did stand up and share the raw parts of me, I got knocked back down. No matter what I did, people expected me to be that good little Black boy. The message was clear: safe space didn’t exist for me. Even now.

When your selfhood is predictably and repeatedly unwelcome, or you’re just one move away from having prosperity’s door permanently shut, there’s not much left to lose. Millions of kids, families, and communities out there share different parts of my story. For us, inequity is a given, an unsurprising part of our lives starting in school.

My work at New Teacher Center made me realize how much more is possible when we bring the richness of our full selves to the transformational work of education.

So when people ask me how I and my team landed on the New Teacher Center’s revised mission statement — to disrupt the predictability of educational inequities for systemically underserved students by accelerating educator effectiveness — I share my story. Because it isn’t hard to understand the new mission of NTC once you know my story.

I’m one of many changemakers who want to mess up our ability to predict that foregone future. Disrupt it. Turn that crack into an expanse where every person in the school building is valued, nurtured, and embraced. I will not miss another opportunity to leverage who I am to help every Xavier out there. I will not stand by and see students end up on a path where they’re constantly diminishing themselves to fulfill someone else’s vision of what they should be.

School isn’t transactional. It’s transformational. And we must do all we can to make it an enriching, life-changing experience for our students, teachers, and communities. We do this in service to a genuinely revolutionary act: supporting educators to excel in their craft, so our students are proficient and critical readers, writers, mathematicians, and more.

When I work in community with teachers, students, and leading-edge experts that represent NTC’s priority student communities, I feel joy. It’s the opposite of life in the crack. By welcoming the rich and full humanity of each student, family, educator and community, we can knock down inequity’s door and eliminate that persistent crack.

I’m excited to see NTC’s mission move forward with the leadership of my colleagues Atyani Howard and Arthur Mills IV. We labor toward a shared goal of realizing educational equity for all. We go through and forward together.

Letter from the Board Chair

Dear Friends,

Just months before the pandemic hit, New Teacher Center finalized its new mission — to disrupt the predictability of educational inequities for systemically underserved students by accelerating educator effectiveness.

It was a critical evolution of our work led by our former CEO Desmond Blackburn, PhD. It also established NTC at the forefront of groundswell changes occurring nationwide. As the Covid-19 crisis developed and the nation faced a public reckoning with racial injustice, many entrenched inequities in education became more visible, more heard, and hopefully more understood. Inequitable systems deny an equal share in the richness of the human experience to millions of children period.

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What matters now is that we come together to deliver an unprecedented response to meet the needs of our students, educators, families, and communities. The question is, where do we go from here? The answer is simple: Forward.

For more than two decades, New Teacher Center has used coaching as a lever for on-the-ground transformation. Each year, NTC serves millions of students nationwide through thousands of schools in hundreds of districts. We’ve supported tens of thousands of educators to help them build and refine their practices to make measurable, positive impact for students. The results are there.

But our goal is even more ambitious: we aim to make student-centered, equitable education the norm — predictable. That goal requires that we recalibrate our time-tested models.

We’re doing exactly that. Our new branding, launched in 2021, reflects humanity as our beating heart. It’s the foundation upon which we’re building our unrelenting vision for educational equity. Our work is evolving to actualize that mission at every turn.

And that momentum continues to carry us forward, with our co-CEOs Atyani Howard and Arthur Mills IV focused on our ambitious goals for advancing equity and inclusion in the year ahead.

We have prioritized five underserved student groups — BIPOC students, immigrant students, English-language learners, students experiencing poverty, and students with learning differences. While their needs have never been greater, every day we are inspired by their incredible potential and by the realization of impact with our supporters’ partnership. We’re re-imagining approaches to professional learning that honor educators as human beings. We’re sharpening and strengthening our strategies by putting students at the center of our work. And we’re looking far into the future, investing in our people so that the positive change we achieve sticks.

Last year, we were honored to partner with more than 437 school districts to serve more than 18,800 educators and 2,234,000 students. We are excited to deepen these relationships and kindle new ones. To all our donors, partners, Equity Commission members, and others who have let us share in their generosity, we appreciate you. Our progress is the product of your investment and belief in us.

Thank you for joining us to center students and advance equity.

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Onwards,

Shruti Sehra

Board Chair

Staff Reflections

At New Teacher Center, equity isn’t just a word. It’s a mission. But we didn’t get arrive here without big shifts along the way. We’ve made significant investments in time and spaces to do the slow — and at times chaotic and painful — work of understanding what it means and takes to live into our vision for equity internally and externally.

Throughout all the changes and transitions is an incredible group of people: our staff. We took a moment to capture a few of their reflections on what all of these changes and equity have meant to them and how they’re showing up in light of what’s ahead of us. Thank you to Keisha, Kenny, Lisa and Joyce for their vulnerability, wisdom, curiosity, and honesty.

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This past year, NTC formed an Equity Commission as another step to ensure we hold ourselves to the highest standard in actualizing equity for systemically underserved student communities. What are some of your takeaways on why it’s a special addition and how it will help the organization forward its work?

The development of the Equity Commission felt and looked different. The process was incredibly inclusive — we thought not only about who the research and/or policy experts in our field are and challenged ourselves to expand our definition of the word experts. With the expansion of that definition, we recognized that teachers, students, and school leaders should be seated at the table because they are the experts “on the ground.” From the very first meeting, we put value in people by choosing to focus on the importance of storytelling — getting behind the people who are doing the work — not just their resumes or lists of accomplishments. It set the stage for a deep and new kind of thinking and ideas about what really needs to happen in our work and approach to authentically center students and humanity in schools.

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Keisha Rattray

Director of Program Strategy and Delivery

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This past year, NTC formed an Equity Commission as another step to ensure we hold ourselves to the highest standard in actualizing equity for systemically underserved student communities. What are some of your takeaways on why it’s a special addition and how it will help the organization forward its work?

Often, it feels like organizations already have a predetermined answer to the question of why do we have persistent inequities in education. So they only engage in a very narrow conversation about inequity just to justify that predetermined answer, while failing to look at the entirety of the problem. NTC decided to amplify people living and carrying firsthand experiences of inequity in practice. It speaks to a commitment to understand the barriers to equity and all the complexity of it. We decided to actually dig into all of the layers to see learning from the perspective of the students and educators. It’s a messier process. But I can’t imagine that we’re going to make any meaningful progress if conversations and solutions aren’t led by the communities we’re working to support.

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Lisa Peloquin

Instructional Designer

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What’s it been like for you to see and experience the shifts at NTC as it doubles down on making equity the centerpiece of its work? How have you lived into this growth journey during your time with the organization?

When I started at NTC, equity wasn’t centered in what we do. We were pushing toward it, but it wasn’t the everyday focus. As a part of my focus on early learning, I’ve been able to see and participate in opportunities and efforts to put equity center stage. Our work to define and build professional learning around our Optimal Learning Environment framework was a huge step to begin to meet the needs of all the kids in front of a teacher. And now, through our developing Direct-to-Educator work, we’re doing more and more to figure out how to get good student-centered professional learning content for teachers. It’s been interesting to see how we’re also impacting equity for educators, especially those in early learning who have the greatest opportunity to create educational equity, yet are the least supported and trained educators in the field. We’re able to democratize access to high-quality learning and coaching so that they might grow themselves in pursuit of student-centered teaching. I feel fortunate to get to be a part of a group that’s obsessively working on this and having these conversations every day.

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Lisa Peloquin

Instructional Designer

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What’s it been like for you to see and experience the shifts at NTC as it doubles down on making equity the centerpiece of its work? How have you lived into this growth journey during your time with the organization?

Prior to NTC, I was never in a professional space where I felt like I could bring my full self to the conversations and to the table. For years I denied a certain part of me and I didn’t really want to talk about it or explore it — I had all kinds of reasons: being scared, worrying about retribution, and not knowing others perception. What would be the ramifications if what I shared was not valued or seen as important? To experience a professional shift at NTC where folks like me, from the LGBTQ+ community, are asked to be thought leaders around equity and the work that we do is really remarkable. We’re crafting this space where there’s room for everybody and really genuinely wanting to hear different perspectives to inform the work and to be advocates for change. It’s critical for my wellbeing, but it also is in service to the students our vision and mission is pointed towards.

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Kenny Kraus

Program Consultant

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What’s it been like for you to see and experience the shifts at NTC as it doubles down on making equity the centerpiece of its work? How have you lived into this growth journey during your time with the organization?

Probably five years ago, I remember the first time that I was in a room with everyone from our program delivery team — it was a national retreat in Chicago. And I was really struck by how much that part of our organization looked just like the teaching force: 80 percent white and female. And there were three or four dots in the room. I was one of those dots. What I’ve seen over the years is an effort to ensure there is more diversity. And when I speak of diversity, I think that there’s been a lot of attention to racial diversity, and I’m hoping that there’s also attention to diversity of thought. When I started my work in the org, we waited until the second year of training content to discuss equity. Now, we are engaged in equity-focused conversations and content right out of the gate with our partners, engaging in ways that are meaningful to our mission and the work from day one. Multiple shifts have happened in truly prioritizing equity. There’s still a lot of work that we need to do. It’s always going to be a work in progress. We won’t ever say, “We’ve arrived.” But I think it is reflective of how nuanced and complex it is to create equitable outcomes in schools, in district offices, and in systems. We are going through the mess of that because it’s messy.

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Keisha Rattray

Director of Program Strategy and Delivery

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What’s it been like for you to see and experience the shifts at NTC as it doubles down on making equity the centerpiece of its work? How have you lived into this growth journey during your time with the organization?

To be in a diverse workspace, where it wasn’t just folks who looked like me, but to know that there were allies, committed to the work in this space is refreshing. With NTC committing to the internal work and collaborating with others to support us, we really have the opportunity to make an impact. And at the same time it’s work that is messy and hard. It keeps challenging us in so many ways. Yet we need all of this to grow and it’s what will make us stand out as an organization. A lot of people and places stay in a safe space of theory and conversation. NTC shifted its mission and vision to be explicit about the students we’re supporting and how we plan to effect change — it was and is difficult and scary for many. But for me, it felt good, reaffirming and like I was in the right place, doing the right work. The reason why I got into what I do, for students, with aligned educators, is coming to fruition here and now.

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Joyce Smith

Program Consultant

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What can you share about how New Teacher Center’s work and approach are well-positioned to make meaningful changes for students?

The work we’re doing is adaptive in nature and it’s dependent upon the needs of the communities that we’re serving and the districts that we’re serving and the students within them. It’s really impossible to create a perfect product to deliver without really paying close and responsive attention to the needs of the students in different places.

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Kenny Kraus

Program Consultant

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What can you share about how New Teacher Center’s work and approach are well-positioned to make meaningful changes for students?

I understand schools and systems want something that they can hang their hat on and say: “We did it.” I think that as we move to responsive consultation, it becomes incumbent upon us to be very metacognitive to try to get at mindsets. And so when you’re talking about mindset shifts and doing things differently and attending to process, then that means that you need to be explicit about the process as you’re doing it. What does the process actually look like? When do we create those spaces to be able to reflect on where we were, where we’re going, how we’re going, so that you can really get to the belief? We need to get to the humanity underneath to figure out your needs, your assets, your areas of support. NTC is embracing all that must go into a process, a slow process, to drive equity-minded instruction.

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Keisha Rattray

Director of Program Strategy and Delivery

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What can you share about how New Teacher Center’s work and approach are well-positioned to make meaningful changes for students?

I can see a thread from when I first interacted with NTC as a newbie teacher in California to when I was an instructional coach in Chicago — we’ve always been working to cultivate practices and behaviors in educators that serve their students well. And now we’re centering equity as we try to build the kind of mindsets of teachers that are reflective and persistent. And we’ve fully acknowledged that specific communities of students continue to be underserved as a result of the systems that don’t make space for their needs. It is the sort of thing that a teacher has to work on every day to move a little further in that journey. NTC’s use of coaching — I had a coach and have been one — demonstrates that we’re here with you for the long haul of change and implementation. Because this work is hard, it demands partnership and collaboration.

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Lisa Peloquin

Instructional Designer

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What are some ways that your selfhood and NTC’s vision and culture have come together that are meaningful to you?

I feel like NTC has made and really continues to make some deliberate and intentional actions towards supporting and elevating the voices of affinity groups to inform our work internally and externally. As a co-lead of the LGBTQ+ affinity group, we’ve identified three focus areas that we wanted to attend to as we really aimed to humanize the teaching and learning experiences of students from that community. Building empathy. Engaging in knowledge building of challenges and assets. And enduring action. So as we’ve become more educated and increasingly empathetic, what are the implications for our work at NTC? We’ve identified the opportunity and desire for NTC to potentially add LGBTQ+ youth as a priority student community. We see this as an opportunity to really live further into that vision statement where every student receives an equitable education.

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Kenny Kraus

Program Consultant

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What are some ways that your selfhood and NTC’s vision and culture have come together that are meaningful to you?

One day as I was facilitating an NTC Professional Learning session, we were unpacking data around student success and race. I had an “Aha!” moment that I shared — I was a data point! This face, as a brown woman, I was part of the statistics in New York City public schools. One could have studied the impact of education on my life. For high school, I attended a predominately white boarding school in Massachusetts. I saw and experienced the discrepancies and inequities, daily, of what it meant to be in school, what it meant to learn, what it meant to be pushed, and what it meant to be in a space where high expectations were held and where the opportunities for growth and success were plentiful. It was hard to fathom that my peers, other young people of color who had skills and talents and potential were probably never going to experience a high quality education like this. So I went into education, with the hopes and goals of creating that. For me, it’s always so easy to come back to my “why” as an educator and someone supporting educator development, because it’s so personal and it’s so real. Look, when we know better, we do better. So we can’t get to that knowledge if we’re not ready to break down those barriers and look within, and confront biases and acculturated practices. It starts with the personal, and the local, and the immediate. I’m a part of that. I have to model that. I have to share stories of my personal learning journey. This isn’t a “you” challenge. It’s a “we” challenge. And I love that NTC tries to create spaces where teachers, coaches, and leaders are reflecting on their “why” as they develop and grow their craft, in service of students.

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Joyce Smith

Program Consultant

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NTC is focused on humanizing the teaching and learning experience for students and educators. What comes to mind for you when you think about centering a school community’s humanity? What needs to be true for the fullness and richness of a person to be prioritized in education?

It’s a really different approach to think about centering the humanity of the children and their teachers to make schools be places that nurture someone’s full self, their social sides, their academic sides, their emotional needs sides. Everything. But we’re working against the grain so much. The easy thing to do is say we can only do one little piece. It’s powerful that NTC is actually saying, “Well, let’s support making systems that serve and center people’s humanity.”

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Lisa Peloquin

Instructional Designer

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NTC is focused on humanizing the teaching and learning experience for students and educators. What comes to mind for you when you think about centering a school community’s humanity? What needs to be true for the fullness and richness of a person to be prioritized in education?

For me, I keep coming back to it as a feeling, as the lived part — emotional, intrinsic — of the experience. Learning should be filled with feelings of being valued, feeling that you belong, that you’re cared for, you’re invested in. That someone is seeking to understand you and appreciate you as they’re challenging and engaging you.

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Kenny Kraus

Program Consultant

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NTC is focused on humanizing the teaching and learning experience for students and educators. What comes to mind for you when you think about centering a school community’s humanity? What needs to be true for the fullness and richness of a person to be prioritized in education?

I think humanity and teaching and learning looks flexible. It’s recognizing that there is no one size fits all. It’s seeing the people that make up your space and recognizing that each person brings with them their own knowledge set. We all have something to teach and to learn. There’s flexibility. There’s discovery. There’s an authentic effort to recognize everyone’s brilliance so each person participating can be self-actualized.

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Keisha Rattray

Director of Program Strategy and Delivery

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NTC is focused on humanizing the teaching and learning experience for students and educators. What comes to mind for you when you think about centering a school community’s humanity? What needs to be true for the fullness and richness of a person to be prioritized in education?

There are places, there are schools, there are communities where teachers and students are thriving. It’s a beautiful, liberating and joyful experience for all of the constituents. We’re trying to create those moments. So for teaching and learning to be humanized, we need to ask ourselves: “Why do my kids need to learn this? Why is this important to them? How is it going to support them in developing their identity? In supporting their own communities?” And we need to fully understand what those answers actually mean to bring to help young people be critical thinkers and to stay curious and explore the world.

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Joyce Smith

Program Consultant

Deep Roots, New Growth

NTC’s evolution and innovation connect deeply to our origins. From the start, equity serves as a thru line in what we do and how we do it. As we focus our precision on disrupting inequities experienced by millions of students, we’re also building on two decades of human-centered design to lift educators at this pivotal moment. NTC founder and former CEO Ellen Moir joins interim Co-CEO Atyani Howard to talk about NTC’s past, present, and future as a catalyst for proven change.

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Community Portraits

Privilege process over product.

While it’s not quite a mantra, we firmly believe that dialogue, planning, problem solving and engagement leads to lasting transformation. NTC doesn’t promote a flagship tool or sellable “thing” — systemic inequities can’t be fixed with an off-the-shelf approach. Instead, everything we do is powered by relationships and coaching.

Every district is different. We believe they deserve to be treated that way. Our deep, multi-layered partnerships across the country focus on meeting unique community needs. We tailor our teams, our strategies, and our on-the-ground work to prioritize local conditions. We lead with listening. Educators, just like students, are whole human beings — they’re not data points. It’s on us as supporters to show up humble, curious, and open-minded.

Our overall reach and scale gives NTC thousands of perspectives across many contrasting situations. It’s ground-truthed data. We’re able to take learnings and enable new custom-fit solutions based on proven models for change. Over time, we’ve developed an inclusive, participatory approach to understand what our partners need and collaborate with them to design support for real people.

Each NTC partnership looks to disrupt old professional development in favor of humanized learning experiences for adults. We believe that is the only way to truly bring transformational, sustainable change to districts and students.

Nationwide, our work is evolving. In some places, we’re going deeper, taking our proven coaching model to tackle new challenges: curriculum implementation, school- and district-wide professional learning systems development, and co-crafting instructional cultures that are inherently and holistically designed to center students. In others, we’re tackling pre-K and early learning to ensure the bridge to lifelong learning starts strong. Everything we do is in service to nurturing educators’ crafts to be amplifiers for equity.

Our partnerships run the gamut: some decades-long and others brand-new. In every instance, we’re evaluating conditions and priorities through a local lens. NTC’s incredible supporting funders form mini-coalitions across regions, bringing more than a commitment to backyard investment. Changemaking innovation comes from collaboration — local and regional funders come together with districts, state departments of education, and other community partners to define clear priorities and goals reflective of their resident expertise.

Here are a few spotlights of NTC’s approach to building local partnerships:

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Credit: Houston Independent School District‘s Facebook

Houston

NTC has been a proud partner with the Houston Independent School District (HISD) since 2012. In 2019, NTC received a prestigious federal Education Innovation and Research grant to support students through our instructional coaching model. We’re supporting 27 schools across HISD to develop the capacity of district-based coaches to provide content-rich, rigorous support to teachers. The goal? Accelerate their practice and student learning over time. We aim to build a culture of instructional practice across the system. To do this, we are working closely with day-to-day district leaders, cabinet-level decision-makers, and a coalition of local funders. The community-based approach ensures we’re aligned to HISD’s strategic plans and has several champions building toward long-term scaling and sustainability across the district.

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Credit: Chicago Public Schools’ Facebook

Chicago

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) partnered with NTC in 2006. After starting with direct mentoring services to beginning teachers, the partnership has evolved into a collaboration to build the capacity of all educators’ careers. Together, we’re supporting educators at their earliest stages as pre-service and residency teachers, through their initial years as teachers of record, and as they grow into instructional leadership roles as mentors and instructional coaches. Today, we’re providing a throughline of supports centered on equitable student learning as part of four programs: district induction, school-level induction, and new teacher mentor development through the CPS ASPIRE new teacher support and CPS Teacher Residency programs. Additionally, we’re supporting coaching for career and technical educators and elevating instructional coaching in Opportunity Schools. Our work is possible due to the generous and longstanding support of the Chicago philanthropic community.

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Credit: Baltimore City Public Schools’ Facebook

Baltimore

NTC first started working with Baltimore City Schools in 2016, focusing on teacher induction to address teacher retention and student achievement challenges. After just one year, with high levels of program satisfaction and strong retention data (79 percent of beginning teachers reported that they planned to continue teaching at their current school), district leaders saw tremendous growth in their mentors. NTC “[doesn’t] feel like a vendor; they feel like a real partner in our journey to create high-quality teachers for our students.” When City Schools developed its Blueprint for Success and identified investment in Literacy Coaches as an integral part of the strategic plan, they chose to work with NTC to develop their coaching model. Leveraging our experience working with districts across the nation, we addressed systems-level challenges. One key was supporting a dedicated time for collaboration with peers and coaching one-on-one feedback. Coaching was grounded in grade-level standards and the curriculum to push impact. Over the last three years, NTC has applied these lessons, working closely with the district and Greater Minds to support the implementation of the Wit and Wisdom ELA curriculum. As highlighted in the Carnegie Corporation of New York report, teachers receive regular high-impact, job-embedded feedback.

2021
Credit: Pinellas County Schools Facebook

Florida

For years, NTC has supported long-standing partnerships across Florida. At the state level, we provide instructional coaching and professional learning opportunities for top teachers to continue building their capacity as leaders in their districts. Additionally, with the rollout of the new B.E.S.T Standards across the state, we know that educators across the system need support to provide grade-level, standards-aligned instruction that meets the needs of all students. Our work empowers districts to effectively support their teachers, coaches, and leaders in implementing the new state standards. We’re supporting Pinellas County Schools’ leaders, instructional coaches, and teachers to utilize academic and nonacademic data to deliver instruction that meets their underserved students’ unique needs.

Public Partnership

A Legacy of Innovation

Federal grants are a critical part of New Teacher Center’s history and legacy. Over 15 years and $76M, we’ve been able to test, validate and evolve our coaching-based professional learning model to support students. Four years ago, we completed a landmark study from a federal Investing in Innovation (i3) Fund grant showing students gained up to five months of additional learning with NTC-coached teachers. Our legacy of leveraging public investment to innovate practices and approaches to increase teacher effectiveness continues on today.

Currently, NTC is engaged in three federal grant supported efforts:

  • EIR — Advancing social and emotional learning (SEL) integrated with rigorous content through a whole-school professional learning model

Our diversified approach is enabling NTC to strengthen award-winning instructional coaching strategies to better support underserved students. In every instance, the goal is to build sustainable models of high-leverage practices that lead to improved and equitable outcomes.

Spotlight: Student-centered, whole-school professional learning

SEL is a critical mechanism to disrupt the predictable inequities experienced by our priority student communities: BIPOC students, immigrant students, multilingual learners, students with learning differences, and students experiencing poverty. NTC’s Education Innovation and Research grant amplifies our Centering Students Tool alongside our Analyzing Student Learning dashboard by incorporating student feedback and assembling whole-person data to inform

instructional practices. NTC is partnering with the New York City Department of Education, Minnesota Southwest West Central Service Cooperative, and Alabama A+ Best Practices Center.

We often don’t see students as dynamic — we’re often missing key breadcrumbs of whole picture data alongside assessments: attendance information, student voice through surveys, and more. Weaving together holistic information can humanize a teacher’s point-of-view of a students’ learning and how to craft instructional strategies to support them. Every student has a unique story that shapes their learning journey.

In the context of NTC’s professional learning model, job-embedded coaching supports teachers to strategize rigorous, inclusive instruction. Our Centering Students protocol puts students at the nexus of the professional development coaching cycle. We’re empowering teachers to document and understand their students using academic performance and contextual factors. By integrating motivators,

social-emotional competencies, and personal narratives alongside classroom performance, teachers are well-positioned to plan strengths-based and asset-minded learning goals for each student.

Not every student will need this level of inquiry. But when a school identifies its underserved student communities, it can develop professional learning support for teachers that blend social-emotional competencies with other key data. The grant sites will explore how enabling students to self-assess via surveys — grades 5 and up — can sharpen their learning goals and strengthen partnerships with teachers. The aim is to support the learner’s agency. Identifying their strengths and what they need from educators will create better conditions to facilitate instruction that meets their goals. Everything is in service to create an optimal learning environment where rigor, safety, and engagement are the norm.

The five-year grant will explore how to support district leaders in creating and sustaining the enabling structures and conditions for success. In addition, it will provide educators and school leaders with professional learning support that anchors SEL in instructional practice through the use of data. Developing the training for when and how to use the Centering Students Tool in conjunction with other information will enable educators to see how to align learnings with instructional strategies for underserved students at different grade levels.

The grant is in its first year of implementation, with select schools to receive NTC-led coaching through the 2023-24 school year. Schools serving as control sites will receive NTC coaching in the 2024-25 school year. SRI International will provide feedback on the implementation of the coaching model, assessing the impact of interventions made in the second and third years of the grant. The project will support 1,366 K-8 teachers and 64,920 K-8 students in 124 schools (with 50 percent of schools designated rural). Approximately 60 percent of students are high-need and quality for free or reduced lunch through the National School Lunch Program.

For the official announcement, visit the U.S. Department of Education website.

Collaborating for Change

Using Data to Drive Optimal Learning Experiences

Millions of students experience deep-rooted inequities, laid bare and made worse by the traumatic events of the last two years. National data shows students were, on average, five months behind in mathematics and four months behind in reading by the end of the 2020-21 school year, impacting systematically underserved students the most.

The bottom line? A high-quality education experience remains elusive to some of the students who need it the most. Educators taking a student-centered approach while using the right data tools can create optimal environments for learning.

We must equip teachers with appropriate instructional practices so students can access, learn, and build skills from on-grade resources and content. We must also reimagine how we address students’ most pressing needs in alignment with support for educators. Smarter Balanced and New Teacher Center believe an impactful way to optimize student learning is to use many kinds of data to create authentic and complete stories about students that drive educators to make better decisions.

Traditionally, school systems analyze summative data in isolation. This approach provides a limited understanding of students; they’re unique and complex people. Students drop breadcrumbs of data every day through their work — interim assessment performance, behavior patterns, and more. Stitching the summative, interim, and daily data together with student perspectives provides a clearer picture of our students’ unique learner profiles. Such a powerful, holistic view helps us identify the best instructional path forward.

Starting last year, Smarter Balanced and NTC are working across three state education departments to connect assessment system data to professional learning opportunities that support student needs and learning. We believe this approach empowers educators to consume, curate, and interpret data and increase school systems’ capacity for impact.

The Delaware Department of Education (DDOE) is working to support a differentiated professional learning experience for a group of six small to mid-sized districts and charter school organizations across the state to engage them in the use of the Smarter Balanced interim assessments. The goal is to create instructional and professional development approaches that build cohesive plans to address student learning across a system.

Through this work, the DDOE will meet the following objectives:

  • Strengthen instructional leadership across districts and schools to create multiple generations of educators who understand how to use the interim assessments alongside the standards and curriculum as a tool for educational equity
  • Produce deep understanding and ongoing implementation of the interim assessments through standards and curriculum-aligned, job-embedded professional learning opportunities

To date, the unique local context of districts has been an unexpected strength for the professional learning series. The diversity of teams, perspectives, and challenges is powering a rich knowledge-sharing collaboration. Sharing strategies from different classrooms and roles offers the opportunity to create innovative learning experiences and make more focused decisions. Overall, the work demonstrates how professional development’s triangulation with assessment and instructional strategies is not just an effective process — it’s a fast track for moving initiatives forward to iterative and adaptive implementation across district and school teams.

It is well-established that the key driver of student academic performance is a culturally relevant, socially appropriate, and academically challenging experience. Through NTC’s “demonstration of concept” with education departments in California, Hawaii, and Washington, we support a subset of districts and schools in each state using the Smarter Balanced performance tasks for learning. The goal is to create an instructional culture that understands, centers, and teaches to each student’s unique gifts and needs, by focusing on higher order cognitive skills. The work looks different for each state, district, and school in a highly adaptive and localized approach. However, the foundations are the same and attend to cultural competency, learner differences, and data-supported learning pathways.

As part of this work, 100-150 teachers will receive equity- and student-centered instructional professional learning supporting student learning. NTC’s research-proven coaching model provides the base; coaching is grounded in best practices in adult learning theory, focusing on the contextualized application of student assessment data to high-quality instructional materials and job-embedded support. The approach is one of knowledge sharing, collaboration and discovery, supporting:

  • Teachers and local education agency leaders to determine what information is needed to connect an interim assessment with instructional practice planning around student progress.
  • Development of instructional practices that support student learning of higher order thinking skills often associated with performance tasks.
  • Use of performance tasks to assess student learning in more authentic ways that puts thinking and engagement in real world situations and practical lenses.
  • A focus on higher order cognitive skills to demonstrate its application to contexts, situations, and the behavior and skill sets needed to achieve success.

Through this demonstration of concept, NTC and Smarter Balanced hope to distill key lessons on how to scale and implement this type of academically-focused professional learning. Together, they will analyze teacher survey responses, pre- and post-professional development lesson plans, and student work. This information will indicate the infrastructure needed at the classroom, school, and local education agency to support the implementation of instructional practices that honor student’s previous learning and experiences as well as focus higher order thinking skills.

Power of Partnerships

$1,000,000+

  • Jim Joseph Foundation Logo
  • Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies

$250,000–$999,999

$100,000–$249,999

  • The Covenant Foundation
  • GreenLight Fund
  • Hirsch & Associates
  • Houston Endowment
  • Imaginable Futures
  • Lloyd A. Fry Foundation
  • Morgan Family Foundation
  • New York Community Trust
  • Powell Foundation
  • Rainwater Charitable Foundation
  • Skillman Foundation
  • Sobrato Family Foundation
  • Stuart Foundation
  • W. Clement & Jessie V. Stone Foundation
  • Yellow Chair Foundation

$25,000–$99,999

  • Alan B. Slifka Foundation
  • Annenberg Foundation
  • AXA Equitable Foundation
  • Barnet Segal Charitable Trust
  • Campbell Foundation
  • Joseph Drown Foundation
  • Finnegan Family Foundation
  • William and Charlene Glikbarg Foundation
  • James P. and Brenda S. Grusecki Family Foundation
  • Intrepid Philanthropy Foundation
  • MSB Charitable Fund
  • McDougal Family Foundation
  • Oakland Education Fund
  • Peery Foundation
  • Polk Bros Foundation
  • Skoll Foundation

$5,000–$24,999

  • Giti and Jack Bendheim
  • Harrington Family Foundation
  • Johnson Family Foundation
  • Richard K. Lubin Family Foundation
  • Oracle Education Foundation
  • Peery Student and Family Support Program
  • Kelly Pope
  • Seth Sprague Educational and Charitable Foundation
  • Robert and Joanne Stein
  • Gary Syman

2021 Financials

New Teacher Center is deeply committed to fiscal management best practices, prioritizing resources to disrupt the predictability of educational inequities. Our impact and operations strategies work together to ensure sustainability and efficiency in delivering transformational learning experiences for educators and NTC’s prioritized student communities.

NTC has enjoyed five (5) consecutive years of exemplary financial audits conducted by Armanino and Associates, even with increasing operational complexity. With stable finances and a strong balance sheet, our engaging and deep relationships with philanthropic partners align values, vision, and investment to advance our equity-centered mission.

By 2025, NTC aspires to generate $30 million in revenue from its earned fee-for-service portfolio, philanthropic support, and federal grant programs. Together, we will expand our reach, innovate and iterate on our coaching model, and deeply analyze our approach.

Revenue

Revenue

$10.9M Philanthrophy $10.9M
$7.6M Federal Grants $7.6M
$6.2M Fee-for-Service Partnerships $6.2M
20212021

Expenses

Expenses

$15.2M Labor $15.2M
$3.3M Non-Labor $3.3M
$3.4M Federal Pass-through $3.4M
$1.3M Investments $1.3M
20212021