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Professional Learning Partnerships Initiative Funded by the Gates Foundation

NTC is excited to announce that we are part of the Professional Learning Partnerships Initiative, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Professional Learning Partnerships Initiative is an effort to advance professional learning services to support the equitable implementation of high-quality instructional materials.

Our mission is to disrupt the predictability of educational inequities for systemically underserved students by accelerating educator effectiveness. One key strategy to accomplish this is to help our educators deepen their understanding and practice using high-quality aligned curricula in the classroom.

Curriculum-Aligned Professional Learning for Middle Grade Educators

As one of the 12 organizations in this inaugural cohort, NTC is partnering with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) to ensure that middle grade educators are receiving rigorous curriculum-aligned professional learning and coaching to implement their Open Up Resources (OUR) mathematics curriculum–authored by Illustrative Math–with high quality, marrying principles of adult learning and social and emotional learning to advance teacher practice and student learning.

“Having the opportunity to receive this Gates Foundation Grant will enable Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools to continue placing quality and equity at the center of our learning and teaching efforts through partnering with organizations like the New Teacher Center and Open Up Resources,” said Bring G. Kingsley, chief academic officer for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. “As the Chief Academic Officer for one of the Nation’s largest school systems, I see the potential to improve math instruction at scale, and believe this grant opportunity puts vastly improved mathematics outcomes within reach.”

Deepening Impact With Proven Coaching Support

Through this partnership we seek to deepen impact for CMS by integrating a math curriculum focus to our proven coaching supports, thereby supporting approximately all 460 middle grades teachers in the district, across 43 schools. Over the two year grant period, this effort will work to impact approximately 32,000 middle grades students. CMS represents 71% students of color, 60 percent FRPL, district-wide.

“No matter how high quality the curriculum product, teachers need training and support with effectively implementing the curriculum for their students,” said NTC’s Chief Program Officer Atyani Howard. “They need opportunities to internalize the intention of the curriculum lesson, they need to pre-plan with a coach, have someone observe their instruction and give them feedback, and they need guidance on analyzing student learning and addressing gaps. Linking efforts to effectively implement high-quality curriculum with high-quality school-based coaching can promote coherence for teachers, and can shift teacher mindsets to enable the conditions, classroom culture, and learning environment that students need to be successful.”

Partnership Goals for High-Quality Aligned Curricula

Research shows that HQAC (high-quality aligned curricula) is most successful when aligned with strong professional learning and job-embedded coaching to ensure implementation ultimately translates to student learning. Thus, the goals of our partnership are:

  • To create NTC’s OUR-aligned professional learning and coaching program to train/support coaches to seamlessly assist with teachers’ implementation of the district’s OUR math curriculum in their everyday practice
  • To improve the quality of high-quality aligned curriculum instruction in middle school math in CMS
  • To improve student learning in middle school math in CMS
  • To create a sustainable and scalable strategy between partners in this initiative to deliver and implement products/services created through this partnership to other grades, districts, and states.

Ultimately, under this work with CMS, our partnership will build an understanding and replicable/scalable model of the critical levers a district must move to successfully implement high-quality curriculum to improve instruction and student learning.

More information on our collective work can be found on the Gates Foundation website.

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