JPS Strengthens Teacher-Leader Effectiveness Through STLE Grant

Jamestown Public Schools is launching new programs to strengthen the effectiveness of teachers and principals beginning this September, supported by a competitive grant sponsored by the New York State Education Department.  The district was notified last February that they had been awarded the Strengthening Teacher and Leader Effectiveness (STLE) 3 Program grant in the amount of $623,067. The grant funds will be applied to develop and implement a career ladder program for teachers and principals who will provide on-the-job training and support for colleagues working to strengthen their knowledge and skills.

The purpose of the STLE Program is to support school districts utilizing a comprehensive approach to recruitment, development, support, retention and equitable distribution of effective teachers and school leaders as part of their implementation of an Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) plan. JPS was one of 42 school districts statewide to receive the STLE grant.

“Our district has extremely skilled and talented teachers and principals,” said Jessie Joy, JPS Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment. “We also have many teachers and principals who are working hard to adjust to higher standards of teaching and learning. Our goals for the STLE grant are to recruit our most effective teachers and leaders to provide job-embedded coaching for their colleagues.”

In conjunction with the STLE program goals, the district has selected two teachers to serve as full-time instructional coaches for teachers in the district’s eight elementary and middle schools. Chad Bongiovanni (Love Elementary School) and Laura Burstrom (Lincoln Elementary School) will focus their efforts on helping teachers in grades K-6 to better understand and align their instruction to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for ELA and Math. The district has also selected nine teachers who will remain in the classroom, while taking on formal leadership roles in their schools in support of curriculum modules and teacher collaboration to diagnose and improve student learning.

“We will also be recruiting some of our principals to provide additional leadership for their colleagues, particularly since the role of the principal has changed significantly in recent years.” said Ms. Joy. “The STLE grant is a great opportunity to promote leaders from within. We hope to continue to identify more coaches in the years to come.”

“This is about supporting our educators and helping our students succeed,” said State Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr. “Districts across the state are already using the STLE grant to successfully develop and support effective educators. Research shows the best way to help students succeed is to have effective teachers and principals in every school building.  The STLE grants are an important part of our implementation of the higher standards we’ve set for our students.  The grants will help more students graduate from high school ready for college and careers.”

A list of school districts, charter schools and BOCES- and district-led consortia that have received preliminary STLE 3 grant award notification is available at: A map of grantees from all three cohorts is available at:  This is the third and final cohort of the Race to the Top funded STLE grant. To learn more about the STLE grant program and the awardees, visit  The STLE grants and activities are supported, in whole or part, by New York State’s Race to the Top federal funds.

posted on 09/11/2014 - filed under: Academics, Elementary School, JHS, Middle School, Spotlight, Staff