November 30, 2020 — Midland ISD announced today that eight schools will be joining Opportunity Culture for the 2021-22 school year.
Opportunity Culture restructures pre-K–12 school staffing paradigms to extend the reach of excellent teachers, principals and their teams to more students, for more pay, within recurring school budgets. Yearlong, paid residencies make on-the-job learning possible before teaching and leading. The program has two major goals: to reach all students with excellent teachers more consistently, and to reach all educators with outstanding career opportunities.
Bonham, Greathouse, Fasken, Long and Santa Rita elementary schools; Pease Communication and Technology Academy; Lee Freshman; and Midland High will collaborate with Public Impact and the Office of Human Capital Management this spring to undergo the school design process to achieve these goals.
These eight campuses will join current Opportunity Culture campuses De Zavala, Emerson, Rusk, Scharbauer, South and Yarbrough elementary schools; Midland Freshman; and Lee High — all of which were part of the program's launch this year.
"Opportunity Culture is all about dramatically improving learning outcomes for all students," said Chris Hightower, MISD's Director of Opportunity Culture. "Students gain consistent access to excellent teaching through leadership and collaboration in
Multi-classroom Leadership (MCL) is the cornerstone of Opportunity Culture. Teachers with a record of high-growth student learning and leadership competencies qualify to become an MCL. They teach part of the time and lead small, collaborative teams of two to eight teachers, paraprofessionals and teacher residents in the same grade or subject to meet each MCL’s standards of excellence. MCLs establish each team member’s roles and goals at least annually, determine how students spend time and organize teaching roles to fit each teacher’s strengths, content knowledge and professional development goals.
"Independent research has shown that students in classrooms of team teachers lead by an MLC creates sizable academic gains," Hightower said. "Our great teachers get to advance in their profession by moving into MCL roles, and less-experienced teachers get more targeted support so they can keep improving."
For campuses to qualify for Opportunity Culture, they must:
Have strong principal leadership that is able to think creatively about staffing and classroom configuration.
Demonstrate persistent difficulty in securing quality staffing.
Demonstrate the need for better student performance.
Opportunity Culture teachers have the ability to earn a higher salary than their peers and are paid by campuses' existing budgets, which means a raise in teacher pay is budget neutral for MISD.
The program is made possible through the district's collaboration with Ector County ISD, the University of Texas Permian Basin, education consultants Public Impact and nonprofit US PREP.