Building an Environment for Teacher Growth

It’s no secret that student learning, academic performance, and long-term outcomes are highly dependent on the educators who help support and teach those students. Study after study shows that educator quality is the most impactful school-based factor in student outcomes and district performance — in some cases accounting for up to 30% of the total variance in student outcomes when accounting for all the other influences. 

"It is what teachers know, do, and care about which is very powerful in this learning equation."

Dr. John Hattie

Teachers Make a Difference, What is the research evidence?, Australian Council for Educational Research, 2003

With that knowledge, ensuring that educators are properly equipped to grow in their practice and skills becomes a district’s core objective. But districts aren’t always supported with the right tools, and as a result this vitally important work becomes a compliance-driven exercise in frustration.

A common theme we’ve seen is that coaches and other PD facilitators aren’t themselves fully supported with systems. Teacher growth can become a process that’s heavily reliant on disconnected Google Sheets, jumbled meeting notes, non-standardized feedback, and other measures that seem useful but ultimately create more work for little payoff. When the systems are this disjointed, the insights that truly fuel teacher growth are tough to access. But there is a better way.

With students, districts take formative assessments to track progress in learning. Curriculum and assessments work together to personalize the experience for each student, so they have equitable support and opportunities for success. These systems also track and report data so educators can see exactly where each student is and what they need. Districts should be thinking about educator growth in the same way. With a centralized professional growth system, administrators can create a feedback loop that builds a culture of positive impact and continuous improvement.

"Job-embedded supports require actionable data—without it, we can’t have the critical conversations necessary to adapt improvement work and ultimately, affect student achievement."

Jen Abrams

Author, Having Hard Conversations

At KickUp, we believe in an asset-based approach to educator growth and learning. Every single teacher deserves support that works for them — which means districts need insightful data, so that everyone can be supported equitably across the talent pool. That’s why we built a system that keeps track of all professional growth efforts, capturing insights into what efforts are having success where. We paired the software with a world-class client success team that works with each partner to align PD efforts to district goals. 

With KickUp, coaches can easily keep track of each educator they work with, what was worked on, and where the next steps are going. Administrators can look across efforts to see which PD activities are providing the biggest proven impact, so that it’s easier to track the ROI of professional learning. And ultimately, teachers get what they need at scale — so each educator is prepared to make the biggest possible impact in preparing students to accomplish and achieve more. 

The fundamental purpose of a school district is to give students the tools to pursue their dreams. And they need high-quality teachers who are professionally fulfilled, directly supported, and continuously growing. It’s the best bet for investment to drive student success — we’re here to help you do that. 

Looking for examples of real-life districts solving for continuous teacher growth? Click here to visit the Actionable Data series, complete with six practical examples of how our partners are helping educators excel. 

From the blog