Better working conditions build better high school communities

A new research brief from the Center for Teaching Quality reports on how teacher working conditions can improve trust and relationships among professionals in high school communities.

The report, published in the May 2007 issue of Teaching Quality: Best Practices and Policies, describes how a group of traditional North Carolina high schools with high student achievement levels are implementing specific strategies to build trust regardless of school size. The research brief also tells how the teaching and learning environments in a group of “redesigned” and “early college” high schools (with smaller student populations) promote meaningful relationships among faculty that lead to improved student learning.

Among the report’s conclusions:

The empowerment of teachers serves as the core strength of many of these high schools. These teachers’ ability to influence and take ownership of many critical instructional decisions, not only in their own classrooms, but also in the broader schools where they work, has contributed significantly to student success. However empowerment is an often amorphous and elusive concept. Administrators and teacher leaders need to better define what empowerment actually means, how it can be enacted, and what new skills administrators and teachers both must possess to be successful in a distributed leadership environment.

To find out more about CTQ’s ongoing research around teacher working conditions, including survey results from more than 150,000 teachers in three states, visit the TWC pages at the CTQ website.

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