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Our Theory of Change

By promoting differentiated roles and responsibilities for teachers along a career continuum, talented teachers will be recruited and retained, effective teaching will increase, and students’ learning and development of 21st century skills will improve. To accomplish this theory of change, NNSTOY is focused on two goals:

  1. Transform active teachers’ roles, responsibilities and compensation to attract and retain highly effective teachers.
  2. Become a trusted voice representing highly effective teachers to advance the new vision of the teaching profession.

Goal 1: Strategies and Activities

To accomplish its first goal to transform what it means to be a teacher, NNSTOY will spend the next three years focused on four strategies:

  • Research and identify models and practices of teacher leadership and career advancement opportunities

  • Share and promote these models and practices with policymakers

  • Educate stakeholders about these models and practices

  • Support states, districts and schools in implementing these models and practices

The first strategy begins with clearly articulating a new definition of teaching by researching existing models of teacher leadership and career advancement in action. By the end of 2012, NNSTOY will have identified 2-3 models of career advancement and examples of effective practices aligned to NNSTOY’s vision. NNSTOY will research national and international models and innovative solutions as part of this work. These models and examples will clearly illustrate:

  • teacher leadership opportunities that allow teachers to stay in the classroom

  • opportunities for collaboration among teachers

  • increased and differentiated responsibilities for teachers

  • strategic compensation based on roles, assignments and effectiveness

Essential to NNSTOY’s work is informing policymakers about these new models and effective practices. Beginning in 2013, NNSTOY will widely disseminate NNSTOY’s perspective on the selected models’ strengths and weaknesses, and ideas for moving these models and effective practices forward to implementation in schools and districts. This work will revolve around building relationships with policymakers at the federal and state levels, educating NNSTOY members about informing policymakers at the federal level of models and effective practices aligned to NNSTOY’s goals, drafting and disseminating position statements, and building partnerships with other organizations focused on teachers to create broader support for the selected models and practices.

Transforming active teachers’ roles, responsibilities and compensation will also require educating teachers and other stakeholders about the new definition of teaching. In 2012, NNSTOY will focus on a public engagement and media strategy to build awareness of and support for NNSTOY’s vision for America’s schools and the new definition of teaching. NNSTOY will also spread the word about NNSTOY’s plan to NNSTOY members and other STOYs through networks, events, existing online platforms and other communications efforts.

NNSTOY will focus on supporting implementation by building tools to help states, districts and schools put these models and practices into action. By the end of 2013, NNSTOY will create an action plan to help support state implementation, and in 2014, NNSTOY will create a similar plan for districts. These plans will include the identification of policy/contractual barriers to successful implementation (and innovative solutions to overcome these barriers), case studies, and toolkits to help states and districts implement these models and practices. Additionally, NNSTOY will provide input on the impact of these models and practices on individual classrooms. This teacher perspective provides policymakers with evidence of the value of these models and practices and helps to close the policy implementation gap.

Goal 2: Strategies and Activities

NNSTOY’s second goal is about becoming a trusted voice representing highly effective teachers and focuses on two strategies:

  • Build NNSTOY’s organizational capacity

  • Expand and engage NNSTOY’s membership

As an organization that lacks significant visibility and infrastructure, building NNSTOY’s capacity is essential to achieving its mission. In its first year, NNSTOY will affiliate with a fiscal partner to provide back-office support while retaining NNSTOY’s independence. During this time, NNSTOY will raise funds to implement the strategic plan using a realistic and sustainable fundraising strategy. NNSTOY will develop its new board of directors and hire staff during this time as well.

To truly represent effective teachers across the country, NNSTOY must expand and engage its membership. By the end of 2012, NNSTOY will increase its membership by communicating NNSTOY’s goals to new STOYs during their year of recognition, working with state STOY networks, using existing online platforms and building the organization’s reputation through a public engagement and media strategy. NNSTOY will focus on membership engagement through conferences and work teams designed to accomplish specific tasks, such as developing the criteria for identifying effective models and practices, drafting white papers and other materials, and searching for an executive director.

Following are several figures that outline various pieces of the theory of change:

  • Figure 4 provides an illustration of the organization’s theory of change

  • Figure 5 details NNSTOY’s strategies and activities by year

  • Figures 6 and 7 focus on NNSTOY’s evaluation plan. Figure 6 aligns NNSTOY’s strategies to unmet needs in the field and Figure 7 shows the organization’s expected outputs and outcomes, as well as specific metrics designed to identify successful attainment of those outputs and outcomes

  • Figure 8 lays out a short-term launch plan for the theory of change

Figure 4: Theory of Change (Click for larger version)

Theory of Change Refresh

Figure 5: NNSTOY'S Goals, Strategies and Activites

GOAL 1: Transform active teachers’ roles, responsibilities and compensation to attract and retain highly effective teachers
NNSTOY will advance a new teacher definition based on fluid pathways for active teachers that support increased teacher leadership based on effectiveness and skills
Strategy 1 Research and identify examples of effective practices aligned to NNSTOY's vision
Activies By the end of 2012, identify 2-3 models of teacher leadership and career advancement opportunities and examples of effective practices that are aligned to NNSTOY's vision

  • Convene a task force of STOYs to expand on the criteria for models of teacher leadership and effective practices aligned to NNSTOY’s vision
  • Research potential models and practices, identify 2-3 specific models, and examples of effective practices that will be the basis of NNSTOY’s advocacy work
  • Identify policy/contractual barriers that need to be modified to implement these models and effective practices (e.g., salary schedules do not align to differentiated roles and responsibilities, teachers lack time for collaboration, etc.)
  • Identify 3-5 districts that have successfully implemented these models and/or practices
Strategy 2 Inform national and state policymakers about models and practices
Activies Beginning in 2012, build relationships with policymakers

  • Meet with U.S. House and Senate Education Committee and Subcommittee chairs and members
  • Participate in federal conversations – e.g., participating in conversations around ESEA reauthorization, participating in conversations around Teacher Incentive Fund grants, engaging with USED staff, etc. – around changes that need to be made to teaching policies to ensure a fair and meaningful system for teachers
  • Beginning in 2013, widely disseminate NNSTOY’s perspective on the selected models’ strengths and weaknesses, and ideas for moving models and effective practices forward to implementation in schools and districts
  • Draft a white paper that identifies federal policies that could be amended to better support models and practices aligned to NNSTOY’s vision
  • Disseminate the white paper through national events (such as a symposium at the National Press Club), presentations, blogs and meetings with national teacher organizations
  • Inform national and state organizations about NNSTOY’s vision and point of view
  • Participate in national education organizations’ conferences and meetings
  • Build partnerships with other organizations that focus on teachers to create broader support for models and practices aligned to the vision
  • Beginning in 2013, educate NNSTOY members about informing policymakers at the federal level of models and effective practices
  • Inform teacher unions and district leaders of benefits of new compensation structures aligned to the models and processes to implement these structures
  • Identify common policy/contractual barriers that need to be modified to implement the models (e.g., single salary schedules)
Strategy 3 Educate stakeholders about NNSTOY’s plan
Activies By the middle of 2012, engage the public/media

  • Target messaging to specific groups through a variety of means (Education Week op-eds, letters to the editor, strategic advertisements, etc.)
  • Develop a significant web presence and online network
  • Enhance state networks
  • Educate STOYs to serve as ambassadors
  • By the end of 2012, communicate NNSTOY’s vision and plan to all NNSTOY members
  • Use emails and newsletters to communicate the vision
  • Use existing online networks to discuss and communicate NNSTOY’s vision
  • Roll out NNSTOY’s vision at the 2012 NNSTOY annual conference
Strategy 4 Support states, districts and schools with implementation of these models and practices by building and providing tools
Activies By the end of 2013, create an action plan to help support states with implementation of these models and practices

  • Perform a gaps analysis to determine states’ capacity and readiness to implement models and practices aligned to the vision, and use the results to develop a subset of targeted states for NNSTOY’s state-level focus
  • Draft a guide to implementing models and practices aligned to the vision, targeting state policymakers, that identifies common state barriers, issues, etc.
  • Present the guide at targeted state events (leveraging state STOY networks)
  • Draft and disseminate case studies of lessons learned in implementing the models and effective practices
  • Develop a toolkit for state leaders on developing policies that support these models and effective practices

By the end of 2014, create an action plan to help support districts with implementation of these models and practices

  • Perform a gaps analysis to determine districts’ capacity and readiness to implement models and practices aligned to the vision, and use the results to develop a subset of targeted districts for NNSTOY’s district-level focus (with a particular focus on districts with active NNSTOY members)
  • Draft a guide to implementing models and practices, targeting district policymakers, that identifies common contractual barriers, issues, etc.
  • Draft and disseminate case studies of lessons learned in implementing the models and effective practices
  • Develop a toolkit for district leaders on building policies that support these models and effective practices
GOAL 2: Become a trusted voice representing highly effective teachers to advance the new vision of the teaching profession
NNSTOY will build organizational capacity to enhance its reputation and increase the organization’s impact as well as build capacity of members to move the organization’s agenda
Strategy 1 Build organizational capacity to enhance NNSTOY reputation and increase the organization’s impact
Activies By the end of 2011, affiliate with a fiscal partner

  • Enter into a one- or two-year fiscal partnership for back-office support, (e.g., finance, accounting, human resources, insurance, taxes, etc.)
  • Retain NNSTOY branding and build up NNSTOY’s organizational capacity (especially membership strength) while using fiscal partner’s services

By the middle of 2012, raise multi-year funding to implement the strategic plan

  • Develop a realistic and sustainable three-year budget to implement the strategic plan
  • Draft NNSTOY’s detailed fundraising strategy
  • Develop list of targeted foundations and write grant proposals
  • Raise dues and increase membership

By the middle of 2012, align the NNSTOY executive board and committee structure with the new strategic plan

  • Recruit new board members
  • Update the articles of incorporation and by-laws
  • Organize committees to oversee the implementation of the strategic plan (e.g., research and policy; executive search; membership; development)

By the middle of 2012, hire professional staff

  • Launch a search committee, hire search firm and recruit executive director with national reputation as an education advocate
  • In the interim, contract out for needed staffing to launch the organization (such as a “program director” to design and staff the task force process and identify opportunities to engage in national policy discussions)
Strategy 2 Expand and engage NNSTOY’s membership to build broad understanding of and commitment to NNSTOY’s strategic plan
Activies By the end of 2012, increase NNSTOY membership

  • Upgrade the membership database by capturing email and contact information for all STOYs in last 20 years
  • Use the 2012 annual conference (and beyond) to attract more members
  • Determine relationship between NNSTOY and state STOY networks in order to use the networks to promote NNSTOY
  • Promote NNSTOY membership through STOY year of recognition activities

By the end of 2012, improve engagement of NNSTOY members through the use of online platforms and strategic outreach

  • Use online platforms to engage members in the organization’s overall work and gather input on the career advancement models and effective practices aligned to NNSTOY’s vision
  • Call on a broader group of STOYs to lead certain areas of the organization’s strategic plan as work teams (e.g. to lead the executive director search committee)
  • Communicate NNSTOY’s vision, models and effective practices to members regularly to increase support for NNSTOY
  • Seek members’ feedback on NNSTOY’s vision, models and effective practices
  • Support NNSTOY members to establish and/or enhance state-level networks of STOYs

Measuring NNSTOY's Impact

Even the most carefully-constructed plan can fail to influence change if it is not monitored for fidelity and refined over time to reflect implementation lessons and a changing external environment. NNSTOY aligned its strategies to unmet needs in the field and developed outputs for measuring those strategies (Figure 6), and then NNSTOY developed an evaluation plan based on specific metrics aligned to its outputs and outcomes to ensure the organization stays on track toward realizing its goals (Figure 7).

Figure 6: NNSTOY'S Strategies and Outputs Aligned to the Needs of the Field

Problem/Unmet Need in the Field NNSTOY Strategy Output
Too few examples of high quality models or practices that allow teachers to advance in their career while staying in the classroom Research and identify examples of models and effective practices that provide career advancement opportunities while allowing teachers to stay in the classroom NNSTOY endorses and advances for the field career advancement models that create new roles for teachers without leaving the classroom as measured by at least two specific NNSTOY-endorsed models
Teachers do not have a collective voice around strategies to attract and retain highly effective teachers Educate teachers about NNSTOY’s vision to attract and retain highly effective teachers by providing career advancement opportunities; build organizational capacity to enhance NNSTOY’s reputation and increase the organization’s impact NNSTOY is a viable organization as measured by professional staff, funding sustainability, grants from at least two to three funders, and growth in membership
Policymakers do not regularly involve teachers in discussions around recruitment and retention Inform national and state policymakers about these models and practices for teacher career advancement NNSTOY provides trusted advice and offers perspective from teacher leaders to federal and state policymakers as measured by number of meetings NNSTOY members have with policymakers (both those requested by NNSTOY and those requested by policymakers) and media hits; NNSTOY is a visible organization in policy debates and deliberations as measured by media hits, blog posts, and at least three national education organization’s endorsing and referencing NNSTOY’s vision
States, districts and schools admit to recruitment and retention problems, but lack credible, teacher-supported solutions Build tools to help states, districts and schools implement models and practices for teacher career advancement NNSTOY provides states, districts and schools with materials and tools as measured by the publication of state- level and district-level “lessons learned” implementation guides

Figure 7: NNSTOY's Outputs, Outcomes and Metrics

NNSTOY - Theory of Change - Figure 7

Fall 2011 Winter 2011-2012 Spring 2012 Fall 2012 Spring 2013 Fall 2013 Spring 2014 June 2012
Affiliate with a fiscal partner
Align the current NNSTOY governance structure with the new board and structure
Raise funds to implement the strategic plan*
Research and identify models of career advancement and examples of effective practices
Communicate vision and plan to stakeholders
Increase NNSTOY membership
Improve engagement members
Engage public and media around vision
Build relationships with policymakers at the federal and state levels
Widely disseminate NNSTOY’s perspective on selected models’ strengths and weaknesses, and implementation recommendations for schools and districts
Educate NNSTOY members on informing policymakers at the federal level of models and effective practices
Create an action plan to help states implement models and practices aligned to the vision
Create an action plan to help districts implement models and practices aligned to the vision
Create tools for states
Create tools for districts

*Note that NNSTOY will be engaged in many of these activities, such as fundraising, year-round. The timeline represents the concentrated periods of time that the organization will emphasize specific activities.



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