Innovators in Education is brought to you by MAPSA, the Michigan charter school association. MAPSA has worked closely with their charter school membership over the last 20 years and identified a need to provide resources and tools to charter school leaders and teachers. Through the development of events, including Charter Connection Meetings that provide regional support to the Michigan charter school sector and Symposiums that are offered three times each year for educational leadership, teachers and school business professionals to provide unique opportunities to discuss innovative approaches to education. In our experience within the charter sector, it seems that no matter how successful a school is, school leadership sees opportunity for more! And, it’s that exact reason we are so proud to be a part of it!

The Upper Pennisula: Title IIA grant to increase teacher capacity. 2013-2015
The absolute priority of this collaboration of 15 charter and traditional campuses was to increase the effectiveness of teachers and principals. The kick-off year (2013) of this partnership required leadership teams to reflect on the functions of instructional delivery that include professional practice at the classroom level. Teams examined the areas of rigor and relevance of what students are learning, the professional practice inside (and outside) the classroom, and how student performance and learning is measured. They also reflected on the functions of instructional delivery as it relates to mindset, school culture, and climate. 

The partnership provided detail and insight to the level of engagement that permeates the school and excellence that each team aspired to. The following reflects the key leverage points identified as areas of opportunity in which the partnership addressed:

  • Instruction is differentiated to accommodate varied learning styles and developmental levels.
  • There is a common vocabulary to support the school’s intended culture.
  • There is a plan and system of recognition and rewards for students, parents and teachers that addresses effort and excellence.
  • The faculty uses a standardized and measured approach to providing effective feedback to students.

Teacher Excellence and Academic Milestones 2011-2016
The Teacher Excellence and Academic Milestones for Students (TEAMS) project is Michigan’s first substantial effort to pilot a strong school-improvement model for school leaders and teachers that includes pay-for-performance led by MAPSA. Twenty Detroit charter schools have become the proving ground for this innovative and unprecedented work. Although the schools were divided into two groups, all schools and campuses received the same opportunities and access to resources and tools. TEAMS annually worked with over 800 teachers, 27 campuses and 30 school leaders.