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Press Release - DCPS Achieves Honorable Mention Status in Great Districts for Great Teachers Initiative

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Laureen Ricks
                904.390.2211
 
Duval County Public Schools Achieves Honorable Mention Status in Great District for Great Teachers by National Council on Teacher Quality After Extensive Evaluation
DCPS - One of Just 12 Districts Nationwide Recognized for Policies and Practices
 that Support and Encourage Great Teachers
 
JACKSONVILLE, Fla., MAR. 13, 2017 – Duval County Public Schools (DCPS) announced last week that the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), a national leader on teacher quality, has named it an honorable mention in its first ever Great Districts for Great Teachers initiative. NCTQ chose DCPS after a rigorous evaluation process, including over 120 school districts with over 100 questions and an analysis of data, policies, and teacher feedback. 
 
“It is an honor and a point of pride that the NCTQ selected us as an honorable mention in its first Great Districts for Great Teachers initiative,” said Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti. “Over the last four years, we have revamped our thinking, strategy, and systems to become more intentional on recruiting and retaining great teachers. There is no investment more valuable than in our teachers and no better way to support our students’ futures and success.”    
 
Similar to Forbes’ Best Places to Work review of private-sector organizations, NCTQ evaluated 120 large districts across the country to find those that have the conditions for great teachers. NCTQ developed the criteria for this honor based on its experience stretching over a decade analyzing district human capital policies and practices, as well as input from teachers and other education leaders. 
 
“Great Districts for Great Teachers is a celebration of great teaching,” said Kate Walsh, President of NCTQ. “We celebrate the hard, often politically challenging efforts by a special group of school districts who have managed to put together policies and practices that make them great places for great teachers to work.”
 
The nonprofit organization selected eight winners and five honorable mentions who excelled on five criteria that research suggests connect to effective teaching -- compensation, professional support, effective management and operations, career and leadership opportunities, and support services for students. Some of the criteria included:
 
  • Salaries provide a good standard of living and the district finds ways to reward excellence.
  • Professional development and coaching are tailored to teachers’ needs and include plenty of collaborative planning time. 
  • Schools are run efficiently, with evidence that the district allows its schools to make the decisions that are in their best interest.
  • There’s plenty of opportunity for teachers to take on leadership roles.
  • Teachers get lots of support from the district when it comes to meeting the needs of students.
 
DCPS ranked as Tier 1 district in the areas of compensation, professional support, and student support; Tier 2 for management operations, and Tier 4 for career pathways. Career pathways is an area where the superintendent feels can be enhanced through teacher leader positions in the future, which would allow teachers to be compensated for additional opportunities to coach and mentor less experienced or struggling teachers. 
 
In choosing the winners and honorable mentions, researchers carefully evaluated data from the teachers’ contract, examined documents and data submitted by the district, surveyed teachers, and interviewed teachers. NCTQ staff verified the selected finalists through focus groups with teachers and interviews with district leaders in each district. The winners include: Boston Public Schools, Broward County School District (Florida), Denver Public Schools, District of Columbia Public Schools), Gwinnett County Public Schools (Georgia), New York City Public Schools, Pinellas County School District (Florida), and Pittsburgh Public Schools. Honorable mention districts include: Chicago Public Schools, Duval County Public Schools (FL), Indianapolis Public Schools, Newark Public Schools (NJ), and Osceola School District (FL).
 
Sponsors of this initiative include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, The Heinz Endowments, and the Walton Family Foundation. This is the first year the National Council on Teacher Quality has named Great Districts for Great Teachers. More details about the program can be found at http://www.greatdistricts.org 
  
About the National Council on Teacher Quality
The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) is a nonpartisan research and policy group, committed to modernizing the teaching profession and based on the belief that all children deserve effective teachers. NCTQ is the nation’s expert on the quality of teacher preparation programs and evaluates national teacher education against evidence-based criteria. More information about NCTQ can be found on our website, www.nctq.org 
 
About Duval County Public Schools
Duval County Public Schools is the 20th largest school district in the nation, educating more than 128,000 students in over 190 schools. Its mission is to provide educational excellence for every school, in every classroom, for every student, every day. Visit www.duvalschools.org to learn more.
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