On September 27, 2022, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona announced that the Department of Education is addressing the teacher shortage, stating that they’re “treating our efforts to recruit, prepare, and retain a talented and diverse educator workforce with the same level of urgency we brought to reopening our schools during the height of the pandemic.” With 53 percent of all public schools reporting feeling understaffed entering the 2022-23 school year, it’s more imperative than ever to not only retain teachers but also develop them as leaders. At Springboard, we’ve long recognized the importance of supporting teacher development, which is why our model is based on building teachers’ capacity and leadership while delivering reading results.

Building leaders from within

We’ve seen long-term district partners develop their internal leadership pipelines through Springboard programming. In Baltimore City Public Schools, multiple teachers have since been promoted to school leadership positions after participating in Springboard programming. Before Springboard, Lorraine Richardson was a first-grade teacher at Dr. Bernard Harris Sr. Elementary School. After programming, Lorraine became an assistant principal. 

Lorraine says that her Springboard experiences helped prepare her for her new role. “I started as a Site Leader [Program Leader] and moved up to a Cluster Leader. It was challenging at first because this was my first experience in a leadership role,” she said. 

Lorraine named that she learned three key leadership skills with Springboard: how to build relationships with students, families, and peers; how to operate systems and manage logistics; and how to analyze data to improve student performance.

Fellow Baltimore City educator, Kerwyn Barbour, was an Education Associate and a Springboard Program Manager, supporting 19 Cluster Leaders during programming. Now he is also an assistant principal at Baltimore City

Springboard allowed me the opportunity to fine-tune my leadership skills and ability to lead teams while building, motivating, and fostering other leaders to see their potential,” Kerwyn said about the experience.

Our professional development approach

As part of our programming, teachers are given leadership and professional development opportunities that allow them to deepen their skills as educators and advance within their careers. Schools appoint their own Program Leaders, providing a pathway for teachers to gain administrative and community-building experience to drives student outcomes. Program Leaders are responsible for managing and analyzing student data to measure progress, monitor accountability, and guide decision-making processes. They also empower and coach multiple cohorts of staff, teachers, and families to collaborate and reach learning goals while managing logistics such as materials and inventory.

Our professional development includes ongoing coaching from fellow educators, Springboard Program Directors, and from within Professional Learning Communities on how to best engage families to support student learning. In addition, all teachers also participate in 6-10 hours of pre-programming professional development focused on our Family-Educator Learning Accelerator methodology.  Springboard’s professional development is based on the belief that the best way to learn how to do something is to try it with support and guidance. We coach teachers on how to engage and empower families so that students get higher quality reading time at home, a practice that we’ve seen lead to marked reading gains. In addition, partnering with families allows teachers to better leverage instructional time.

Want to take a glimpse at our professional development? Check out our micro-learning moments on YouTube!