Educational Institutions

Teaching Matters, Inc.

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

Mission Statement

To develop and retain great teachers, and measurably increase their ability to give students in urban public schools an excellent education.

Main Programs

  1. Teaching for Impact
  2. Writing Matters
  3. Voices & Choices
Service Areas

Self-reported

National

Teaching Matters serves teachers and students in New York City, the surrounding metropolitan area as well as other select localities.

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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EIN

13-3770472

 Number

1402237689

Also Known As

TMI

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

We're committed to real, measurable results for students. From nearly 20 years of working in New York City's public schools, we've developed an understanding of realistic and lasting ways to make a difference.
• Preliminary evidence of our programs' effectiveness has been promising: Independent research shows that schools with populations of greater than 80% poverty rates taught by teachers in our ELA support program achieved statistically significant and meaningful increases in writing performance and critical thinking skills.
• We're also making great strides in maximizing teacher retention. Our PLCs and approach to leadership give talented teachers a reason to stay in the profession.
• Going forward, new teacher evaluations will measure our direct impact on teacher effectiveness and the retention of effective teachers.
• More specifically, we will measure how many students have gained proficiency and how many teachers have increased their effectiveness, and we'll also evaluate the school conditions that support teacher effectiveness through surveys.

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

Teaching for Impact

Conceived and planned in 2011, Teaching for Impact is a teacher coaching and leadership program that is aligned to Common Core standards and produces results. We work with schools to create the conditions for teachers to succeed and accelerate student gains by:

• Preparing the most effective teachers to lead data-driven teacher teams;
• Ensuring the use of evidence-based instructional practices; and
• Supporting school leaders to drive a culture of continuous improvement which increases teacher retention.

Teachers work side-by-side with our mentors and each other. They develop a common understanding of what students must know or do, and how to tell if they are improving.

Finally, we give teachers and principals what they need to hold each other accountable through a common set of high expectations and shared analyses of students' work.

Category

Education, General/Other

Population(s) Served

Adults

Children Only (5 - 14 years)

Youth/Adolescents only (14 - 19 years)

Budget

Program 2

Writing Matters

Launched in 2006, Writing Matters offers a powerful new way to improve student outcomes in writing. It utilizes 21st century resources, such as exciting animations and interactive tutorials, to capture the imagination of today’s “digital learners.” The Common Core aligned program engages upper elementary and middle school students in the writing process through a series of four to six week units: Mastering the Essentials, Writing Editorials, Writing Memoir, Writing Poetry, Writing Short Fiction, Writing Feature Articles, and Response to Literature.

Rich content and interactive technology are seamlessly integrated, helping students develop their writing skills as they generate ideas and topics, organize, compose, revise and publish their work online – from school or from home. (A comprehensive professional development program offers teachers the support they need to implement the curriculum and assess student performance.)

Writing Matters has been implemented in one-in-five of New York City’s middle schools and has helped previously struggling students (the lowest 20% of scorers) to post statistically significant English Language Arts standardized achievement gains relative to all other students.

Category

Education, General/Other

Population(s) Served

Children Only (5 - 14 years)

None

None

Budget

Program 3

Voices & Choices

Established in 2000, Teaching Matters' Voices & Choices program explores the role of civics and active citizenship in our democracy. The program provides students with the opportunity to engage in critical thinking – and to develop role playing, debate, research, writing and oral presentation skills. Young people also strengthen their understandings of current public issues while utilizing technology and the Internet. Moreover, Voices & Choices is aligned with New York State Learning Standards for Social Studies.

Voices & Choices introduces students to the foundations, issues and responsibilities of democracy and citizenship in a series of units:

• Democracy in Ancient Greece (6th grade)
• Constitution Today (7th grade)
• Civil Rights (8th grade)

Throughout the four- to six- weeks, students develop critical-thinking, collaboration and other essential skills. Technology-based resources enhance instruction in multiple ways, starting when teachers log on to each unit's website to access lesson plans, classroom texts, visual materials and interactive content. In every lesson, students consider critical topics in today's world by interacting with authentic sources and curriculum-based multimedia activities. Lesson plans, available in both digital and print formats, include scaffolds for students.

Each year, when hundreds of participating students present their work in our annual citywide Civil Rights Summit or Constitution Today Town Meeting, they showcase the results of their learning – and the lessons of civic responsibility.

Category

Education, General/Other

Population(s) Served

Children Only (5 - 14 years)

None

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?
    In 2011 Teaching Matters developed a six-year strategic plan with the Bridgespan Group that has guided our direction to more strongly emphasize teacher professional development, quality, assessment, retention and leadership. Teaching for Impact, our model for intensive school-based professional development, was a direct byproduct of this process. We conceived the program as our primary mechanism to support and spread effective teaching in challenged urban schools.

    Research consistently shows that once young people walk through school doors, teachers are the single most important factor for student performance. In fact, spending three years with a highly effective teacher boosts student results over the long term—and the negative impact of poor teaching is equally long-lasting. Teaching for Impact emphasizes retaining and developing the highest performing teachers to advance midlevel peers. Ultimately, our approach results in a wide and deep set of positive student outcomes based on measurable goals that schools have, themselves, established.

    Below are our organization's areas of intended impact which are achieved via Teaching for Impact delivery:

    1) Fostering opportunities for teachers to take on more leadership: Visible opportunities for collaborative teamwork, problem-solving and clear pathways to leadership so common in the private sector. (Moore, 2005) are essential to teacher retention. We expect Teaching for Impact schools to have significantly engaged teachers who are more heavily and broadly invested in student outcomes.

    2) Providing teacher coaching that has a measurable impact on student achievement: As a result of our efforts, over time we expect improved performance in Common Core aligned student assessments – specifically performance on New York City and State English Language Arts (ELA) and math assessments that is significantly (p<.05) and meaningfully (>1/3 SD) higher than that of students in demographically similar City schools.

    3) Using new assessment frameworks to advance teaching: We will also be well positioned to respond to a number of groundbreaking methods for teacher (and student) evaluation that are being introduced to New York such as the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC. These new assessments have instructional implications for the concepts, skills and approaches that teachers must (1) gain or strengthen knowledge of through professional development and (2) impart to their students via successful classroom practices.

    4) Incubating best practices within our network schools for broader dissemination: Each year we will embed Teaching for Impact throughout the growing network of schools we serve which will allow us to develop prototypes for sharing promising practices, control variables and better understand what is working in our model. Our strategically planned target is to have 115 City schools adopt the program by 2017.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    Teaching for Impact embodies our near-term strategy to achieve our long-term goals. The program features job-embedded, intensive, data driven and content specific professional development. This work takes place within collaborative inquiry teacher teams and ongoing interaction with school leadership to create shared accountability with the ultimate goal of strengthening results. Our model improves school culture by creating second-tier instructional/teacher leaders to sustain and improve classroom practice and increase student proficiency. Teaching Matters is an expert at creating and supporting inquiry-based teams that shift the conversation from “I teach" to “we teach." Schools demonstrating collaboration, leadership and student success are more likely to get to results—and also retain their effective teachers over time.

    Our program has a comprehensive yet flexible design. Some schools may participate in the full sequence (presented below) but others may concentrate their efforts on a few facets only. Milestones include, but are not limited, to:

    • An intake process comprised of a readiness assessment and program orientation.
    • A one-year cycle that emphasizes either: intensive guidance on Instructional Foundations, which typically focuses on the adoption of: common and coherent curriculum, assessment protocols and pedagogical practices; or the launch of Collaboration for Impact, focusing on establishing two model grade level collaborative inquiry teams of 4 – 7 teachers per school. This takes the form of active professional development over the school year led by Teaching Matters' coaches in one core content area. To ensure sustainability of this work, school-based teacher leaders in this subject area will begin receiving training during this time period.
    • A second year cycle begins, once inquiry teams are established in one content area, with Teaching Matters/external coaches working with model grade level teams in a second content area – mentoring first year teacher leaders onsite and virtually, and building a new cadre of teacher leaders in a second content area. Principals receive specialized coaching focused on expanding professional learning communities (PLCs) and creating action plans for school-wide improvement. In Year Two the progress of previous cohorts will also be assessed.
    • A third year that responds to noted progress gaps of previous cohorts, co-develops PLC expansion/action plans with principals and trains teacher leaders in other content areas. Teacher leaders will be mentored virtually and teams of teacher leaders will be established in each school to sustain the work going forward.

    In addition, we regularly hold forums and learning institutes that give educators the opportunity to collectively share about their professional cultures and engage in facilitated conversations.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    Teaching Matters' success to date is largely due to the dedication and deep expertise of our leadership and staff. Our organization has a ten-member Board of Directors. In addition, we have 53 employees: eight senior managers, 42 educational coaches and three support staff. Our senior management team is headed by Lynette Guastaferro, Executive Director. Together, members have worked to advance K-12 public education practice and outcomes for a combined 100-plus years.

    Based on past experience, Teaching Matters provides an average 4,000 days and 28,000 hours of professional development services (based on a seven-hour day) each year. These services are largely delivered by our 42 educational coaches. The team has a successful history of providing professional development to thousands of New York City teachers with the overall goal of improving student achievement. Upon hire, each must possess:

    • A master's degree in education
    • At least five to seven years of teaching and/or administrative experience – with preferred local public school experience
    • The ability to be certified as a school teacher in New York City
    • Full security clearance by the NYCDOE

    Educational coaches are expected to be strong instructional leaders as well as capable site-based managers. In line with Teaching for Impact, our educational coaches are expected to support schools in establishing student outcome-focused PLCs. Coaches also empower teachers to achieve measurable student outcomes through a process of collaboration to set and accomplish common instructional goals.

    Teaching Matters brings a number of external strengths to bear upon efforts to achieve our goals. We have partnered with the NYCDOE on several major grants and initiatives for the City. In addition, we were recently awarded network status by the NYCDOE to provide a wide array of operational support to the Teaching Matters Network which consists of 24 schools. Our organization is committed to working closely with thought partners who are widely recognized in the field. We have established an Advisory Faculty of experts including Beth Leif, President Petrie Foundation; Kim Marshall, Author of Rethinking Teacher Supervision and Evaluation: How to Work Smart, Build Collaboration, and Close the Achievement Gap; Josh Thomases, Deputy Chief Schools Officer for Academics at the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE); and Dr. Alan M. Lesgold, Professor and Dean, University of Pittsburgh School of Education.

    For Fiscal Year 2014 our organizational budget is $8,065,433.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    Teaching Matters' Director of Performance Measurement and Evaluation assesses outcomes in close collaboration with external evaluator ALTA Solutions Group. As a matter of course, we assess the instructional foundations that are necessary for success (such as adoption of common curricula and assessment); school culture; teacher impacts (with retention of the most effective teachers expected to begin showing by the end of the year and teaching skills gains expected to begin showing in Year Two); student achievement beginning with the baseline preceding the first year (with gains expected to begin showing in Year Two); and annual milestones for scaling Teaching for Impact to schools throughout the City. Results are used to continuously refine the model.

    A significant focus of our evaluation activities involves documentation of school conditions at various points during the year, which are then used to assess changes over time. Specifically, before our coaches visit a school for the first time, we collect extensive information about baseline conditions through official, secondary data sources obtained from the NYCDOE and New York State Education Department: including State Accountability Reports and School Report Cards; New York City School Quality Reviews, Progress Reports and School Environment surveys; and baseline class- and student-level achievement data. These baseline conditions are documented in a "Pre-visit Analysis" form that is completed for each school prior to the school walkthroughs.

    In addition, objective conditions – such as which curricula and assessments are used, and whether the school has a system for tracking teacher observations – are documented on each school's "Basic Inventory" prior to and during initial school visits. More qualitative assessments of each school's strengths and challenges are documented via instructional walkthroughs. Finally, shortly following initial school visits, Teaching Matters' staff and school leadership collaborate to complete an "Action Plan" form that identifies a focus area for the start of the work and includes indicators of success for work.

    Further, objective conditions – such as which curricula and assessments are used, and whether the school has a system for tracking teacher observations – are documented on each school's "Basic Inventory" prior to and during initial school visits. More qualitative assessments of each school's strengths and challenges are documented through monthly surveys of educational coaches and semiannual surveys of school staff and educational coaches. Finally, shortly following initial school visits, Teaching Matters' staff and school leadership collaborate to complete an "Action Plan" form that is updated periodically throughout the year. These plans specify measurable goals on which support services will focus, and what indicators of success will be used to assess progress towards each goal.

    A table of detailed indicators is available upon request.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    Teaching for Impact has demonstrated a strong evidence base to help the highest performing teachers further grow, increase the effectiveness of their midlevel performing peers and boost student outcomes. The program employs a teacher coaching model that is highly collaborative, team-focused and inquiry based in service of making sound instructional decisions. Our approach is based on the success we recently achieved with Writing Matters—our flagship literacy program—that showed, via third-party evaluation, significant improvements in the writing skills of 300 participating 6th graders in 2010 – 2011 and 2011 – 2012 when paired with this type of coaching. Moreover, this achievement was comparable to that of students in non-participating schools that had fewer challenges.

    In addition, we piloted Teaching for Impact with a third-party evaluator from January 2012 through August 2013. The pilot achieved positive results in terms of scope and outcomes – reaching a total of 42 teacher leaders in six schools, 11 teacher inquiry teams and over 1,000 students.

    Key findings include the following:

    • The most successful Teaching for Impact schools had the foundations in place to support teacher leadership of collaborative inquiry teams from the very beginning of the pilot.
    • Teaching for Impact improved the breadth and depth of instructional leadership in schools with at least one highly functioning teacher inquiry team.
    • Comparisons of state test results for students of Teaching for Impact participants with those of other students in similar schools and citywide were positive enough to hold promise for the program.

    Beyond the pilot, ongoing evaluations are being conducted in implementing schools to determine the overall effects of Teaching for Impact and to measure teacher- and student- specific progress. Based on our continued findings, we will adjust goals, strategies and objectives as necessary.

    Teaching Matters' organizational strategy calls for scaling Teaching for Impact to 115 schools throughout New York City by 2017—impacting approximately 73,600 learners, 6,325 educators and 115 principals. During the current school year, we are completing a powerful step by offering the program to 24 schools in our recently established Teaching Matters Network – benefitting approximately 16,895 students, 1,150 teachers and 24 school leaders.
Service Areas

Self-reported

National

Teaching Matters serves teachers and students in New York City, the surrounding metropolitan area as well as other select localities.

Social Media

Blog

Funding Needs

This organization is seeking funds from contributions and grants. These funds will be used for unrestricted operating expenses and special projects.

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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, Board Co-Chair and Board Members
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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?