The New Teacher Center (NTC), through its Teaching Conditions Initiative, provides a unique and valuable service to educators in schools, districts and states across the United States. The teaching conditions work consists of two parts: 1) administering an anonymous, online survey about teaching conditions in one year, and 2) working with the client to utilize results from the survey in school improvement plans and policies.

Using the school as the unit of analyses, the Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning (TELL) Survey consists of a core set of questions that address the following teaching conditions: Time, Facilities and Resources, Community Support and Involvement, Managing Student Conduct, Teacher Leadership, School Leadership, Professional Development, Instructional Practices and Support, and New Teacher Support.

Since 2008, NTC has heard from over 769,000 educators across twenty states. The survey results provide more than 19,000 schools with data to incorporate into school improvement planning as well as assisting state policymakers with information and research to reform policy and practice.

The NTC teaching conditions survey instrument consists of a core set of questions that have been externally validated by AIR with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This work is research driven and has shown connections between positive teaching conditions and student achievement and teacher retention. NTC works with each client to discuss relevant additional questions that can be incorporated to customize the survey for the client. The anonymous survey is administered online during a four- to five-week window; educators receive a seven-digit confidential access code and may complete the survey from any Internet location during the administration period. There is a real time response rate tracker for the state, district, and school so all stakeholders can view the response rates.

NTC provides the results of the survey on a website. Results are provided for the state, district, and schools that have reached the agreed-upon minimum response rate threshold (usually fifty percent). Results are posted in a variety of formats for the client to encourage thoughtful and easy use of the data in school improvement planning. All associated tools and reports also are posted on the identified client’s website, which has a link to NTC’s website. NTC maintains the websites in-house and warehouses the data collected since 2008, making NTC the only organization in the nation to house the responses from over one million educator surveys and provide longitudinal and cross state comparisons.

NTC identifies and works with a coalition of partners in each state to develop and integrate polices related to the findings from the survey. This is a multi-year process and builds on the positive relationships established as a result of this work. The independent research connections of TELL data between positive teaching conditions and student achievement as well as teacher retention have been the drivers of various policies across states.

NTC continues to be the national leader in addressing teaching conditions as a strategy for school improvement and student success. The comprehensive approach that is used, from high-level policy reforms to improving practice in schools and classrooms, benefits millions of students.