TELL Survey Initiative

Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning (TELL)

New Teacher Center’s TELL Initiative helps state and district leaders gather, document, and analyze educator perceptions of teaching and learning conditions in schools and districts. NTC then guides school leaders in using the results to plan improvements that include professional development for teachers and school leaders.



To do their jobs well, educators need supportive school environments where they feel valued, trusted and empowered to collaborate, in order to improve instruction.

Teaching conditions matter for student learning. Specifically, school-level conduct management, manageable demands on time, ample professional autonomy, and effective professional development are found to be significant predictors of student perception, of support and rigor, and ultimately of value-added student learning gains. Additionally, teachers that work in more supportive environments become more effective at raising student achievement on standardized tests over time.

Teaching conditions matter for teacher retention. Studies find statistically significant relationships between teachers’ perception of school facilities and their plans to stay or leave.

Where you sit shapes how you see your conditions. Not knowing the perceptions of teaching conditions can make school improvement planning challenging.



NTC’s TELL Survey is an online, anonymous survey administered to all licensed, school-based educators in a district or state. Using an externally validated set of questions, which research has shown to be connected to student achievement and teacher retention, the TELL Survey is available on a dedicated website where educators may complete the survey 24/7 during the survey window of four weeks. TELL Survey results give schools, districts and states information about whether educators have the supportive school settings necessary to do their jobs well and to be successful.


NTC also provides a variety of consulting and training options to get the most out of survey results, including:

  • Coalition Building – NTC has vast expertise navigating a wide range of stakeholders to align behind a TELL initiative
  • Marketing and Communication Support – NTC has an extensive battery of successful materials, strategies and protocols to effectively message a TELL initiative
  • School-Level Data Interpretation – Data Use in School Improvement Planning; Change Management Skills; District Leadership Data Use and Support
  • Customizable Data Arrays and Analyses – Interactive dashboards enable user to target specific findings and school groups; National comparisons can be created to compare individual schools and district aggregates with other schools and districts exhibiting similar demographics and school characteristics (A, B, C) from NTC’s extensive 35,000 school database to provide a national context for how a school or district compares
  • Policy Consultation – NTC has more than a decade of experience across the country championing the survey

Since 2008, NTC has worked in more than 18 states and in several large school districts to implement the Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning (TELL) Survey. NTC has heard from nearly 1.5 million educators since 2008

Interested in bringing the TELL Survey to your state or district?

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