Educational Institutions

Teaching Matters, Inc.

  • New York, NY
  • http://www.teachingmatters.org

Mission Statement

Teaching Matters is a nationally recognized nonprofit organization dedicated to providing high impact professional learning experiences for urban school systems. Our mission is to develop and retain great teachers, and measurably increase their ability to give students in urban public schools an excellent education.

Main Programs

  1. Teacher Leadership Matters
  2. Math Matters, Literacy Matters, Writing Matters and Early Reading Matters
  3. Assessment Matters
Service Areas

Self-reported

National

Teaching Matters serves teachers and students in the New York City metropolitan region, and beyond.

ruling year

1994

Executive Director

Self-reported

Ms. Lynette Guastaferro

Deputy Director

Self-reported

Ms. Jane Condliffe

Keywords

Self-reported

K-12 teacher professional development, educational innovations, technology, disadvantaged students, education

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Also Known As

TMI

EIN

13-3770472

 Number

1402237689

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Educational Services and Schools - Other (B90)

Management & Technical Assistance (B02)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

Teaching Matters is a nationally recognized educational nonprofit whose mission is singularly focused on increasing teacher effectiveness in real and measurable ways. We develop and deliver comprehensive programs and services that target common barriers to student achievement. Our educational model is built upon proven, scientific and data driven methods: fostering collaboration, cultivating teacher leaders and using evidence to improve student results. We acknowledge a strong body of research that shows while many things affect young people's performance, once they walk through school doors teachers are the single most important factor to student success. In fact, spending three years with a highly effective teacher boosts student achievement over the long term – and the negative impact of poor teaching is equally long-lasting.

For more than 20 years, we have worked hard to promote real and lasting changes to teacher quality. Since our founding in 1994, we have coached 30,000-plus teachers who have served over 500,000 students across more than 900 schools. Our budget hovers at about $6 million. Teaching Matters is a New York City professional development market leader – one of the top ten providers that serve the City's schools.

An independent researcher has validated Teaching Matters' approach, and found that our pairing of an excellent curriculum with coaching and teamwork produced success. In schools with populations of greater than 80% poverty rates, students who were taught by teachers in our program achieved statistically significant and meaningful increases in writing performance and critical thinking skills. We are also making great strides in maximizing teacher retention. Our professional learning communities/teacher teams and approach to leadership give talented teachers a reason to stay in the profession.

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

Teacher Leadership Matters

Teaching Matters believes that high quality teacher leadership is pivotal to enhanced instructional effectiveness, improved retention, increased student achievement and shared accountability. To execute on our vision for success, our Teacher Leadership Matters program develops the competencies of existing teacher leaders to effectively facilitate high-functioning teams that integrate tools and resources calibrated to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) into a collaborative inquiry process. Both empirical research and international comparisons indicate that investments in collaboration through teacher teaming lead to powerful changes in student learning (National Center for Literacy Education, 2012; Beyond PD - http://www.literacyinlearningexchange.org/sites/default/files/ncleshortlitreview.pdf). Effective shared inquiry teams also build sustainable capacity in schools by giving teachers the skills, structures and support systems to continually learn from, and refine, their practice. In order to truly improve instruction, teachers need to come together through a rigorous process of shared inquiry, grounded in student learning data.

To further support this shared inquiry model, Teacher Leadership Matters integrates our organization’s micro-credentialing system: a first-of-a-kind vehicle in the education sector to support, assess and recognize teacher leaders’ advancement toward critical leadership competencies via “digital badges,” which are awarded as a result of observations and other forms of evidence linked to explicit criteria. We have developed 18 competencies based on the National Teacher Leader Model Standards – which are essential for leading high-functioning teacher teams toward improved Common Core instruction and student learning – and have codified this work. Ultimately, we know that providing normed, highly calibrated strategies for developing and supporting teacher leaders can provide a huge return on investment through higher teacher retention, developing a local pipeline for leadership, and sustaining efforts for greater impact on student achievement.

Category

Population(s) Served

Adults

Children Only (5 - 14 years)

Youth/Adolescents only (14 - 19 years)

Budget

Program 2

Math Matters, Literacy Matters, Writing Matters and Early Reading Matters

Our organization recognizes the critical need to address teacher instruction in a system where, in 2015, only 30% of grade 3 to 8 students citywide reached proficiency on the state English Language Arts (ELA) test, and just 38% were proficient in math. The Common Core State Standards require students to achieve greater mastery of core subjects – demanding more rigorous pedagogical approaches including ones with which teachers may be unfamiliar. Through these combined areas of programmatic impact, we advance K-12 math and literacy teacher instruction as well as student performance in accordance with the Common Core. Moreover, our high-yield interventions are designed to (1) demonstrate what good instruction looks like in targeted subjects and (2) make good teaching multiply.

Teaching Matters’ coaches and content experts work closely with teachers, teacher leaders, and school leaders by:

• Deepening content knowledge and pedagogy of teachers and teacher leaders based on research-based best practices
• Planning Common Core aligned curricula
• Implementing common assessments across the school
• Facilitating collaborative inquiry cycles focused on student data
• Mentoring teacher leaders to develop competencies critical for facilitating effective professional learning communities within the school

Category

Population(s) Served

Adults

Children Only (5 - 14 years)

None

Budget

Program 3

Assessment Matters

Formative assessment examines progress while students engage in instruction, as opposed to after it is completed. Among practices studied by John Hattie in Visible Learning (2009):

 Teacher use of formative evaluation to adjust classroom practice had the single greatest effect size of any teacher move (d=.90);
 Use of formative assessment improves outcomes across grade levels and types of students (English Language Learners and Students with Disabilities); and
 Furthermore, student learning gains were amplified when teachers used data visualization techniques and evidence based models to interpret findings.

We have developed our high-yield Assessment Matters program to support schools in establishing effective formative assessment practices that advance K-12 teaching and learning. Through this outcome-oriented professional learning program, our coaches support teachers and teacher leaders in establishing critical systems (using MasteryConnect, an innovative, standards-based data tracking platform) and an assessment informed culture for maximum scalability and sustainability.

Central to teachers’ success is identifying and implementing common assessments, refining instruction based on analysis of data and working together to continuously improve their practice. Teacher leaders guide their peers toward better teaching, grounded in a deep understanding of students’ strengths and challenges. School leaders support a school-wide culture shift where both teachers and students use formative data to direct and enhance their learning. As part of our networked program delivery approach, schools also share practices across settings. Ultimately, our aim is to, at scale across various contexts, build schools with assessment driven climates that promote data-based instructional decision-making as a key to improving teacher practice and student outcomes.

Category

Population(s) Served

Adults

Children Only (5 - 14 years)

None

Budget

Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    Teaching Matters has been an early leader in the nationwide effort to recognize, identify and support teacher leadership as a critical capacity building lever for increased teacher effectiveness, improved student achievement, elevated teacher voice and advanced data-driven practice, as well as effective distributed leadership models in school systems. There is broad consensus on the importance of empowering teachers to lead their peers in improving student learning and catalyzing school change (Berg, et. al., 2014). Teacher leaders can assume a wide range of roles to support success. Where these roles are supported and most effective, they build the entire school's capacity to improve. This takes on added significance due to New York City's ongoing challenge with meeting stringent achievement requirements in alignment with the Common Core.

    Our organization aims to offer professional learning and resources that (1) develop teacher leaders and (2) increase their capacity to lead the charge in increasing teacher effectiveness school-wide. Integral to this process is having qualified teachers collaborate with their peers, in teams and under the guidance of our coaches, to investigate and solve instructional problems – deepening their skills as educators. Principals, themselves, have daunting jobs. As a result, they are limited in taking on the professional learning needs of their entire instructional staff without outside support. Ultimately, schools not only develop but sustain the ability to facilitate professional learning, strengthen teacher quality and improve student outcomes via the teacher leaders that our organization helps to develop.

    A series of strategic investments in teacher leadership in recent years has positioned our organization to take center stage in nationwide efforts to advance teacher quality and performance. Beyond our work with schools, districts and systems to develop and implement scalable models for teacher leader support, we have taken a commanding role in advocating for the empowerment of teacher leaders to drive school improvement and communicating its importance to increasingly larger audiences.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    Most recently, we have engaged in such major teacher leadership and effectiveness initiatives as:

    • Emerging Teacher Leaders Program: A collaborative initiative between Teaching Matters and the NYCDOE that has put forth a high-yield, competency-based approach for supporting a pipeline of teacher leaders in the most under-resourced schools – the first of its kind in New York City.
    • The New York Teacher Leadership Summit: Co-organized by Teaching Matters, the NYCDOE Office of Teacher Recruitment and Quality (TRQ), United Federation of Teachers and Teach to Lead – bringing together dozens of teacher led groups throughout the area focused on collaboratively planning and implementing solutions to real, practical challenges in their schools, districts and communities.
    • Teacher Practice Networks: With support from WestEd in collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Teaching Matters is partnering with the NYCDOE to launch a Teacher Practice Network to facilitate high- and low-touch professional learning support that deepens Common Core responsive instruction for a total of nearly 16,000 City teachers and teacher leaders.

    Strong support in content and pedagogy that is responsive to the Common Core is at the center of our work. Our organization's coaches regularly support the following field-based activities:

    • Micro-credentialing: Our Micro-Credentials for Teacher Leadership program is a first-of-a-kind vehicle in the education sector to differentiate teacher leaders' skillsets and demonstrate their professional growth, recognition and advancement via digital badges and observations linked to explicit criteria.
    • Institutes: The teachers and teacher leaders that we reach regularly take part in sessions that provide grounding in effective professional learning community (PLC) practices as well as the tools and protocols needed to lead high functioning teams in building collaborative culture, analyzing data and student work, analyzing teacher practice and establishing high quality common formative assessments (tied to essential Common Core standards).
    • Onsite Coaching: Teachers who take part in our program often receive job-embedded support from a Teaching Matters achievement coach who is a content specialist. Coaching also focuses on supporting teacher leaders in leading effective PLCs and earning micro-credentials related to this work.
    • Personalized Feedback: One vehicle is via access to a series of online modules housed in the Teaching Matters learning management system (LMS). These modules include (1) extensive resources around teacher leader competencies and the work of leading high-functioning PLCs toward improved Common Core guided instruction, and (2) a digital platform for receiving one-on-one evidenced-based responses to their Teaching Matters coach. Further, we provide verbal feedback as part of the coaching process.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    Teaching Matters brings deep knowledge, experience and a commitment to effective support for schools and school districts that is grounded in both research-based professional learning practices as well as two-plus decades of experience working in urban public schools. In New York City, where our organization is headquartered, we are among the top 10 professional development service providers. As the nation's largest and most complex school district, the City has long served as a “projects incubator" in which we test-implement, validate and spread our ideas. Over the last two-plus decades, we have:

    • Worked with over 900 schools to advance academic achievement;
    • Coached approximately 30,000 teachers to improve teaching and learning;
    • Positioned nearly 300 teacher leaders to lead high-functioning learning teams to deepen teaching practice and drive instruction; and
    • Affected the learning of an estimated 2.3 million students.

    Our success is due to the high level of competency within our multidisciplinary staff and leadership. This includes our management team which has collectively advanced K-12 public education practice and outcomes for 100-plus years. Moreover, we have a distributed leadership model that not only includes our managers but senior coaches, who are strong instructional leaders. Further, our team of over 30 coaches provides top tier professional development to thousands of educators with the goal of strengthening teacher effectiveness and leadership to improve student achievement across disciplines. In addition to possessing at least a master's degree in education and at least five to seven years of teaching and/or administrative experience (preferred in local public schools), all are strong instructional leaders.

    Teaching Matters' 11-member active Board of Directors consists of widely regarded leaders in both the education and business sectors. An Advisory Faculty has also been instrumental to the work we are conducting today. Linda Darling-Hammond, Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education at Stanford University, was a founding member. The Faculty has included: Beth Lief, President, Petrie Foundation; Kim Marshall, Author of Rethinking Teacher Supervision and Evaluation: How to Work Smart, Build Collaboration, and Close the Achievement Gap; and Dr. Alan M. Lesgold, Professor and Dean, University of Pittsburgh School of Education.

    Hovering near $6 million, our annual operating budget is driven by needs of our educational programming and provides a realistic framework for spending. Further, we have established processes and controls for the safeguarding of assets and other financial matters. We are pleased to have achieved Charity Navigator's four-star rating for sound fiscal management for the past six years.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    Teaching Matters considers progress measurement a key priority; we conduct it in a number of ways – including both internally and in close collaboration with third-party evaluators. Our organizational work has evolved into a formalized and replicable model for educational improvement, noting how partner schools progress over time while participating in offerings. As a result, efforts have maximum efficiency, transparency and scalability.

    We have a computerized system through which we collect information on key program implementation inputs and outcomes. Qualitative and quantitative data of teacher and student experiences are measured on an ongoing basis including (but not limited to):

    • Attainment of priorities and specific SMART goals set with school leaders and aligned to the NYCDOE Quality Review rubric.
    • Evidence-based changes in the practice of individual teachers and teams based on our professional coaching (including those derived from our micro-credentialing system)
    • Student benchmark and formative assessments, work samples, grades and standardized test data

    These sources are processed to make specific recommendations to strengthen teacher leadership, instructional capacity and student performance. (Detailed indicators of progress for specific programs or initiatives are available upon request.)

    Teaching Matters has solid evidence that our strategic investments in teacher leadership are positively affecting key areas of impact. Two years of recent independent research have confirmed that programs leveraging our teacher team coaching model led to statistically significant increases in both ELA and math outcomes for more than 1,000 students. In addition to improving standardized scores, resulting changes in teacher practice have better positioned schools citywide to respond to the demands of the Common Core. We expand upon the progress we have made in the next section.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    We cite these recent accomplishments:

    Pioneering a nationally recognized, competency-based approach to teacher leader development – We have established the nation's first system for teacher leadership micro-credentials and issued 700 – more than any other education organization. A subset is hosted by Digital Promise on the Bloomboard marketplace, available to educators in all locales.

    Developing our highly successful Emerging Teacher Leaders Program in partnership with the NYCDOE's Office of TRQ – Grounded in competency-based, micro-credentialing coupled with professional learning supports, this year the program was implemented with 200 emerging teacher leaders with union support. It led to a 65% increase in teacher leaders in the City's most struggling schools and has become a permanent pathway into formal teacher leadership roles.

    Advocating for teacher leadership on the national stage – We have mobilized with nearly 70 organizations around Teach to Lead – spearheaded by the U.S. Department of Education and National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Further, we launched the New York Teacher Leadership Summit (http://nyteacherleadershipsummit.org/), powered by Teach to Lead, from June 17th - 18th. We are also part of the 50-member TeachStrong coalition which offers a nine-point prescription for improving the profession.

    Advancing teacher leadership and Common Core-aligned practices through highly effective networks – In October, we launched a Teacher Practice Network with funding from WestEd in collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Over the next two years we will impact nearly 16,000 teachers through high- and light-touch professional learning that improves ELA and math instruction aligned to the CCSS.

    We seek to build upon accomplishments as follows:

    Norming on micro-credentials – Our coaches must engage in “norming" to maximize reliability of teacher leaders' micro-credentialing results. This process will also increase the efficiency of determinations so that coaches can minimize time collecting and recording data – reinvesting such effort into providing support in areas that require strengthening and into other essential tasks, as needed. Ultimately, our process will be adaptable by other stakeholders.

    Engaging in strategic innovation for existing service delivery and growth – Our greatest need is for financial resources that give us the flexibility to both continue and innovate our existing programs – including engaging in the robust research and development that is required to improve professional learning opportunities for schools and districts. Along these lines, our strategic plan entails taking our Early Reading Matters program to 62 schools over a five-year term which includes a transition from seeding implementation with grant funds to self-sustaining, fee-for-service delivery. We have raised a major philanthropic award from the Brooke Astor Fund for New York City Education.

Service Areas

Self-reported

National

Teaching Matters serves teachers and students in the New York City metropolitan region, and beyond.

Social Media

Blog

Funding Needs

This organization is seeking funds from contributions and grants for program expansion as well as general operating expenses.

Videos

photos



External Reviews

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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

TEACHING MATTERS, INC.
Fiscal year: Sep 01-Aug 31
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Teaching Matters, Inc.

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2014, 2013 and 2012
  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
Need the ability to download nonprofit data and more advanced search options? Consider a Premium or Pro Search subscription.

Executive Director

Ms. Lynette Guastaferro

Deputy Director

Ms. Jane Condliffe

BIO

Lynette Guastaferro, Executive Director, has more than 20 years of experience in education. She possesses a unique blend of education, private-sector management consulting and technology innovation experience. Under her leadership and responding to both research and what is happening in real classrooms, Teaching Matters has quadrupled its reach and spearheaded the design of award winning, scalable learning environments that strike a balance between core-academic and 21st Century skills to over 700 schools. Ms. Guastaferro has worked as both a classroom teacher and a senior management consultant for Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC). At PWC, she led projects to innovate and improve the performance of government and educational agencies. Her work in education reform led her to Baltimore, where she took a classroom teaching position and designed her school's first technology based learning support lab for literacy and mathematics. Ms. Guastaferro holds an M.B.A. from Columbia University and a B.A. from Williams College.

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Olga Votis

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices. Self-reported by organization

Yes

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

Yes

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Yes

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Yes

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

No

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?