Relying on teachers as culture leaders is a solution embraced by many high-performing charter schools. In this profile, we focus on the design of the Grade Level Lead roles at Pritzker College Prep, a member of the Noble Network of Schools in Chicago. The successes of this school and network are well-documented: Of non-selective public high schools in Chicago, the Noble Network had the nine highest scores in the city on the ACT test, a marker of college readiness. Ninety-one percent of the Noble Network’s student body receives free and reduced lunch, yet 100 percent of its graduates go on to college or post-secondary school.
Much has been written about the “no excuses” culture and extended instructional time of high-performing charter schools. Less, though, has been written about the staffing structure of these schools and the ways in which teacher leaders play a critical role in their success. Many high-performing charters rely on teacher leaders to construct and maintain the culture that is crucial to improving student outcomes. Because the creation and maintenance of a strong aspirational culture requires constant monitoring and reinforcing of expectations throughout a school, it is an impossible task for a principal alone.
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Leading Educators and the Aspen Institute partnered to tell the story of teacher leaders at Pritzker College Prep as they built a culture to support adult learning and greater student outcomes.