The Best in Class (BIC) coalition, a joint venture between the Commit Partnership and Educate Texas of the Communities Foundation of Texas, engages and supports school districts across the state of Texas with macro-level systems change
What is BIC?
We work with districts to strategically define and measure educator effectiveness, utilize this data to create the conditions for educator and student success.
Our work has broad impact across school districts, and we support districts in multiple functions from cultivating student interest in the profession, to working with Institutions of Higher Education and Educator Preparation Programs to ensure the highest quality preparation and clinical experiences for the future teachers and candidates for employment who will join districts in the ever important work of improving student outcomes. Through what can be referred to as “boutique consulting” functions, the multiplier effect of meaningful professional convenings, and tools and resources to support the work, we strive to support school district and systems level leaders and teams to implement and manage changes that ensure the conditions are correct for educators to thrive, develop, and have rewarding, well compensated, and impactful careers. We do this in service to more positive, meaningful, successful experiences for students with the hopes of inevitably leading to greater success for students in realizing their dreams and increasing their access to effective, diverse teachers and school leaders who along with us have the North Star goal of growing the proportion of students across Texas who are on track for college and career success.
Why BIC Exists
Decades worth of educational research demonstrates unequivocally that the number one in-school factor related to a student’s success is the effectiveness of his/her teacher.
Despite this well documented fact coupled with the best intentions, too many of our students, particularly Black and Latinx students are simply not having their educational needs met by school. For this reason, the Best in Class coalition was established to and is hyper-focused on supporting the educational ecosystem in improving the effectiveness of teachers in Texas. Here in Dallas County, only 39% of our young people have achieved postsecondary degrees. For Black and Latinx residents, it’s only 22%. And only one in four young adults earns a living wage. This has major implications for our economy, democracy, and collective public health. So how do we ensure that more of our students graduate from the K-12 system ready for college and/or a living wage career?
Utilizing this student-centered evaluative data, school districts can not only develop systems that continuously improve educators in their craft but align compensation structures so these teachers and principals can earn a living that directly corresponds directly to the level of effectiveness at which they work.
By offering greater insight into what and where our most effective educators are teaching through these newly refined systems, we can then utilize strategic staffing to incentivize effective educators to take on roles in the historically underserved campuses that need them most. This hugely successful strategy can be implemented at the district level (with models such as Accelerating Campus Excellence, used across 13 districts) as well as through state policy (such as the Teacher Incentive Allotment).
Through the creation of strategic staffing, compensation, and professional development models, effective and successful teachers can increase their earning potential more quickly and district leaders can increase the likelihood these valuable educators will stay in the classroom for years to come. It is our hope that the ability to earn up to six figures will, in turn, encourage more students to enter our aforementioned pipeline, particularly students of color who remain underrepresented in our teacher corps. In the end, the teacher effectiveness data will be tracked back to that teacher’s certifying entity, which will serve to highlight those educator preparation programs with the highest quality process and cause behavior change amongst both the programs themselves and the candidates who select them, who will in turn earn even more as they better serve their students.
We directly support and convene 35+ districts, collectively enrolling one in five Texas students (~1.2M), in a professional learning communities of district administrators from across Texas who are already deeply engaged in this work. By signing on to work with Best in Class, you will receive not only our assistance, but the invaluable perspective and expertise of peer leadership. By working together, we will not only create a new generation of effective educators. We will create a new system by which those educators will inspire and inform the trajectory of the next generation they teach. Out of what was once a cycle of poverty and despair, we can fashion a new cycle of hope and possibility.
Methods of Support
The BIC approach to supporting our district partners in this work falls into three categories
1. Tools and Resources
BIC has created three specific toolkits to directly aid districts in this work: (1) Accelerating Campus Excellence (ACE) Toolkit, (2) Strategic Evaluation Toolkit, and (3) Change Management (Results Delivery) Toolkit. Each of these toolkits provide an in-depth view of the respective work streams, best practices and lessons learned, and many project management tools and documents for districts to access directly, to name a few of the toolkit features.
2. One-to-One Support
This is the category that consumes much of the BIC staff time, as our relationships with district partners is incredibly important and in our view, directly related to the ultimate success in implementing this work. This support falls into two categories:
- National and state expertise in evaluation and strategic compensation systems
- Project management and ongoing, responsive and reliable consulting support
3. Multiplier Effect
We know that in order for this work to be successful across Texas, our team needs to work to build the capacity and competency of “backbone organizations” in regions throughout the state who can effectively utilize the tools and resources created by BIC AND provide the volume and quality of one-to-one support required for districts to be successful in this complex work.