Atlanta Public Schools and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced a $10 million investment in the next phase of the district’s 10-year-old school reform program – the Effective Teacher in Every Classroom (ETEC) Initiative. The Gates Foundation committed to investing $10 million to help APS implement this new initiative to recruit, prepare, place and support effective teachers in every classroom throughout the district.

    The three-year Gates Foundation grant and partnership will allow for a more rapid implementation of the effective teacher initiative.  The Gates Foundation has previously invested $13.6 million in the APS High School Transformation Initiative.

    The effective teacher initiative includes 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.  It will also 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.

    The research clearly shows that the inclusion of an effective teacher in every classroom is the most important factor in escalating student academic achievement. The district’s school reform program began a decade ago with the elementary school reform program, followed by the high school and middle school transformation, and culminating with the Effective Teacher in Every Classroom 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 Atlanta Education Fund, which works with APS on funding, public engagement and communications programs, has agreed to administer the Gates Foundation grant.