Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support Atlanta Public Schools’ ETEC Initiative with three-year, $10 million grant


Atlanta Public Schools today announced a three-year grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support the next phase of the district’s 10-year-old school reform program, “Effective Teacher in Every Classroom” (ETEC). The $10 million investment will assist APS’ work to recruit, prepare, place and support effective teachers in every classroom throughout the district.

“Our vision for the continued success of our school reform efforts is centered on the effective teacher initiative,” said APS Superintendent Dr. Beverly L. Hall. “The new ETEC programs will provide our teachers with fair and transparent evaluation and support mechanisms that are in line with our effective teaching goals, and we are grateful for the Gates Foundation’s support in this endeavor.”

Research shows that the inclusion of an effective teacher in every classroom is the most important factor in escalating student academic achievement. The three-year Gates Foundation grant and partnership will allow for a more rapid implementation of APS’ ETEC initiative. The Gates Foundation has previously invested $13.6 million in the APS high school transformation.

The district’s school reform program began a decade ago with the elementary school reform program, followed by the high school and middle school transitions and culminating with the ETEC initiative. The school reform initiatives that have been implemented to date have all resulted in escalating student academic performance as indicated by the results of state and national standardized tests.

The latest efforts under the ETEC initiative include the development of an evaluation system for teachers that is focused on student achievement and growth and classroom practice, including the development of the Teacher Effectiveness Dashboard (TED) as a tool to maximize teacher effectiveness in the classroom. The district will also work to strengthen the capacity of principals to successfully monitor teacher effectiveness; build a pipeline of effective teachers through an urban teacher residency program; and develop a performance compensation system that incorporates student achievement and growth.

“Research over the past decade indicates that teachers are the most important school-based factor in raising student achievement,” said Vicki L. Phillips, Director of Education, College-Ready for the Gates Foundation. “We are excited to continue our partnership with APS and Dr. Hall and support their efforts to put an effective teacher in every classroom to help prepare students for life beyond the classroom.”

The Atlanta Education Fund, which works with APS on funding, public engagement and communications programs, has agreed to serve as the fiscal agent for the grant.

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