Continuous Staff Improvement Impacts Student Achievement

Sep 27, 2019

Frisco ISD is developing a Community-Based Accountability System (CBAS) with the help of community members and staff on the Long-Range Planning Committee (LRPC). Each week through October 2, the District will provide information about each of the seven CBAS pillars. A catalog of these pillars can be found on the CBAS website as they are published. 

cbas-graphicProfessional Learning and Quality Staff

Every student has a right to high-quality, invested teachers and staff who know the name and need of every student.

The Community-Based Accountability System Professional Learning and Quality Staff subcommittee wanted to know more about the 2018-19 7,455 total employees and 4,052 teachers.

Frisco ISD teachers are constantly learning new strategies to implement in the classroom. Professional learning in Frisco ISD focuses on learning, collaboration and results. Professional learning is an intentional, ongoing and systematic process meant to align with district, campus and individual goals that impact student learning. 

Cindy Hons served on the Professional Learning and Quality Staff subcommittee as a retired Frisco ISD teacher with nearly 30 years of experience in education. She understands the link between professional learning, quality staff and student outcomes.

“Parents and residents have high expectations of Frisco ISD staff. Citizens would expect the teachers and staff of one FISD school to be the same high quality as another school,” Hons said. “Staff training should also be based on the need of a specific teacher and on that particular campus. The District cannot have a one-size-fits-all model and staff members should be excited about innovative training opportunities.”

As the Professional Learning and Quality Staff subcommittee searched for relevant sources of evidence, they focused on three key questions:

  • To what degree does Frisco ISD recruit and retain teachers and staff?

  • To what degree are Frisco ISD teachers qualified beyond state certification requirements?

  • To what degree does Frisco ISD expect teachers and staff to participate in ongoing professional development?

While sub-committee members laid out a foundation for information they would like to receive, the District has gathered preliminary data from the 2018-19 school year and will expand and update the data provided to the community in 2020 based on recommendations from the CBAS committee. The following is a sample of evidence that will be provided in relation to the requested data.

To what degree does Frisco ISD recruit and retain teachers and staff?

The District reaches out to potential staff in a variety of ways. In 2018-19, the District recruited prospective employees at over 50 colleges and universities across the country. The District also found success with these 2018-19 recruitment initiatives:

  • Professional Conferences

  • FISD Meet and Greets

  • Substitute Teacher Pool

  • Student Teachers

  • Word-of-Mouth

  • Candidate Visits to FISD

The District hosted 94 student teachers in 2018-19 and hired 35 educators from this pool of candidates. In 2019-20, the District also hired 69 staff members who were originally substitutes in our District in 2018-19.

It is the goal of the District to keep staff consistent from year to year. The retention rate for all staff was 87% in 2018-19, while teacher retention was at 89%.

In the 2018-19 school year, with 7.2% of teachers being first-year teachers, mentorship and support of staff new to the profession is prioritized.

First and second-year teachers are provided ongoing support through mentorships and institutes. The goal is to retain quality teachers, improve beginning teachers’ skills and performance, support teacher morale and communications, build a sense of professionalism and positive attitude, put theory into practice, prevent teacher isolation and build self-reflection.

The first-year teacher and mentoring program is more than a buddy system. It is a districtwide system to support teachers as they become more confident in their craft.

The District keeps conversations active with new teachers by conducting regular needs assessments so that staff can be provided with relevant and meaningful learning opportunities. Topics requested so far include:

  • Future-ready profile and skills

  • High-yield instructional strategies

  • Classroom management

  • Instructional technology

  • Supporting students in the least restrictive environment

Salaries and Incentives
A comprehensive compensation study was conducted in 2017-18 and adjustments were made as a result. In addition, there is an annual compensation review that is conducted by the Texas Association of School Boards that helps Frisco ISD stay competitive in the local market. The District consistently responds with compensation adjustments based on feedback. 

While the annual salary for a teacher with zero years of experience is $54,500, there are a number of additional benefits many are eligible to receive:

  • Annual Classroom Teacher Supply Stipend: $250

  • Annual retention incentive to all employees

  • Stipends for teachers in critical needs areas, advanced degrees for teachers, coaching/fine arts

  • Wellness reimbursement

  • Matching 401a, volunteer retirement plan

  • District contribution for health benefits

  • Incentives for additional certifications in areas of need

To what degree are Frisco ISD teachers qualified beyond state certification requirements?

While additional certifications and additional schooling do not directly translate to more impressive student outcomes, knowing teachers are qualified for their jobs is extremely important.

2018-19 Teachers by Years of Experience

  • Beginning Teachers - 7.2%

  • 1-5 Years Experience - 28.8%

  • 6-10 Years Experience - 23.3%

  • 11-20 Years Experience - 31.4%

  • Over 20 Years Experience - 9.4%

Average Experience of teachers - 9.7 years
Teachers With Advanced Degrees - 28.8%

The District also offers a Leadership Seminar to provide aspiring leaders with an opportunity to develop professional competencies expected of effective Frisco ISD campus educators. This year, the training will focus on spotlighting leadership behaviors that create schools focused on student-centered learning.

In 2018-19, the District also hosted a Leadership Seminar to ensure staff members were informed about local educational opportunities to help them advance their careers.

All teachers participate in a number of trainings at the beginning of the year, including but not limited to:

  • Bullying Prevention

  • Child Abuse

  • Child Find


  • Health Emergencies: Diabetes Awareness

  • Health Emergencies: Life-Threatening Allergies

  • Standard Response Protocol

  • Student Mental Health

  • Suicide Prevention

To what degree does Frisco ISD expect teachers and staff to participate in ongoing professional development?

Professional learning activities are developed to achieve performance objectives.

Staff members work over the summer, after school and on weekends to continually grow in the profession. 

A successful continuous improvement cycle is dependent on student achievement results that serve as evidence of professional growth. Results may also identify opportunities for professional learning. The Frisco ISD professional learning cycle provides a visual link.

Professional Learning Cycle.Individuals holding a State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) certificate are responsible for obtaining the state-required training hours and maintaining documentation towards SBEC certification renewal requirements.

While the District offered over 220 courses in the summer of 2019 for staff, learning can occur through many different designs and platforms including technology and digital platforms that expand access to high quality, ongoing job-embedded opportunities. Learning designs include but are not limited to the following:

  • Action research

  • Articles/books

  • Coaching

  • Collaborative discussions (face to face or virtual)

  • Conferences

  • Edcamps

  • Learning Walks

  • Microteaching

  • Online and blended learning courses

  • Personal learning network

  • Podcasts

  • Webinars

  • Workshops

  • Yet to be discovered…

What’s Next for Professional Learning/Quality?

High standards for professional learning and quality staff directly impacts the Frisco ISD community.

“For many parents, the classroom teacher is their primary point of contact to learn more about the techniques and strategies with which their greatest asset, their child, is being educated,” Hons said. “For residents of a city who aren't parents, the classroom teacher is their next-door neighbor, fellow volunteer or friend from their religious house of worship.”

  • Quality staff also includes quality substitutes. The District is currently working with ESS, a staffing company, to ensure that educator absences are regularly filled. ESS is professionally developing substitutes through online training modules and in-person training sessions. ESS trainings are developed and administered by a former superintendent of schools. The District will continue to review this partnership to ensure that campuses are benefitting. Learn more about the current partnership here.

  • The District will provide a thorough explanation of the certification process and standards for hiring non-certified teachers under the District of Innovation plan. The plan will include everything from hiring considerations to how parents will be notified.

The Student Learning and Progress sub-committee continues to work hard on creating a locally-developed accountability system that provides stakeholders data that is important to the community.

Thank you to these 2018-19 Student Learning and Progress sub-committee members for their work.

Community: Peter Burns, Jason Cooley, Tony Felker, Cindy Hons, Courtney Jauregui, Stephanie Reid, Ed Szczebak, Michelle Tuite

Faculty: Amanda Biggers, Jordan Carlisle, Jeff Crowe, Chase Fickling, Michael Heald, Duana Kindle, Pam Linton, Heather Miller, Ashley Moody, Heidi Pease, Brittney Piatt, Amanda Turlington, Sherri Wakeland

District staff and community members are encouraged to use and follow #CantTestThat on various social media platforms to follow how students in Frisco ISD are taught more than what they are tested on each spring.

Click here to learn more about the background behind the Frisco ISD CBAS initiative or go to the official CBAS website where you can find information on each of the individual pillars.

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