Empirical Data at it’s Best
Delia Stafford& Vicky Dill

In January 2008, the Haberman Foundation staff traveled to Long Beach Unified School District to conduct the Haberman Star Teacher and Star Principal Selection training. The Haberman Staff of National Trainers has been in LBUSD since 2003, with multiple return visits, training principals to select teachers for their individual schools. This year was no exception. The class was full of new principals eager to learn more about Dr. Haberman's research based interviews.

Near the end of the training day, all previously trained administrators were invited to attend a review hour if they wanted to do so. When we finished teaching, our hostess from the LB personnel office asked for a "shout out to the trainers" from the trainees. We smiled at the idea, not really knowing what would actually be shouted. Following is one "shout out testimony" from Wendy Claflin, Principal of the Hudson K-8 School who attended our first training session in LBUSD 2003.She spoke to thenew traineesin a very engaging and dedicated way about the children in her school. Dr.Haberman's teacher selection interview has been used toselect her teaching staff with incredible, consistent results!

Principal Wendy Claflin wrote, at our request, the following testimony. With her permission, we submitted this story to ednews.

"Hudson is a Kindergarten through 8th grade school. We have 1100 students. We are a school-wide Title 1 school. Over 75% of our students are on free or reduced lunch. Approximately 30% of our students are African American, 30% are Hispanic, and 30% are Filipino. The remaining 10% includes Pacific Islander, Cambodian, or other minority groups. Approximately 35% of our students are English language learners. We also have a large homeless population since there are 3 long-term transitional homeless shelters in our neighborhood.

When I first arrived at Hudson, the K-8 school was in the "500 club" in terms of our API score, which is considered the low end of achievement status. The goal set by the state of California was that all schools should aspire to reach a score of 800. Hudson reached an API score of 815 last year. Only 25% of California schools have reached or surpassed 800. This statistic is also consistent with the percentage of schools within our Long Beach Unified School District to have achieved that goal.

Proudly, Hudson K-8 has won the California Distinguished School Award two consecutive times, in 2002 and in 2006. (A school is only eligible to win every 4 years, and then only invited to participate in the process based on your Academic Performance Index or API.) We have also won the Title 1 National Achieving Schools award 4 consecutive years. And yes, I attribute our climb in test scores directly to the large influx of carefully selected, superstar teachers on staff. You need clear, concise, effective instruction with heart for student learning to accelerate!

I'm not sure how I would calculate teacher retention, but I can say that the teachers that I have recommended for hire based on the Haberman Star Teacher Selection Interview were all scored as "superstars". I have not recommended anyone for hire who fell into the "good" category on the Haberman Interview. Those superstars are either still at Hudson or have been promoted to positions within the district such as Literacy Specialists, Math Coach, etc. I don't think I know of anyone who I scored as a superstar and who was placed at Hudson School, who has left the teaching profession. I have no data on the candidates who scored "good" since I did not recommend them for hire."

The Haberman Educational Foundation will be forever grateful for her testimony!!!!

At the Haberman Foundation, we are always being asked for "empirical data" to once again affirm whetherthe research of Dr.Martin Haberman is truly valid, reliable, and on target in terms of selection of teachers and principals. As for those of us who travel and teach these research-based interviews, there is no better empirical data than what has been stated here by Wendy Claflin, principal of the LBUSD Hudson K-8 School. Ms. Claflin, along with her STAR teaching staff, are to be commended for their core beliefs which drive them every day to ensure every child has an opportunity to learn, feels valued and has a safe and nurturing environment to meet their educational needs.

What better empirical data do we need to continue our mission at the Haberman Educational Foundation; "Selecting teachers and principals of excellence for the children and youth of America who live in poverty"

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