Where We Are Going: Career Pathways


In our previous posts I introduced R3, including providing some historical context for the development of the initiative as well as some information on the first two elements of KeyBT and the Teacher Leadership Institute.  Today we’ll look at the first of the new elements: The Career Pathways.

Pitt County Schools developed Career Pathways to ensure its most effective teachers remain in the classroom working with students, as the ultimate goal of R3 is for all PCS students to be taught and influenced by highly effective teachers. The Career Pathways model is founded on the idea that incentives with support for collaboration and leadership will improve results.  While individual incentives are important, competition cannot, by itself, improve the learning of all students. Individual, highly-effective teachers can influence the learning of the students in their classroom, but when these teachers collaborate with others they can influence the learning of an entire school, making their influence exponential.

Teachers currently have the option to pursue a limited number of leadership positions within schools that increase both their influence and their compensation.  In developed the Career Pathways we realized that two paths are already present in the system because they were established by the State (even though they don’t call them “career paths”): Beginning Teacher (BT) and what we are calling the Professional Teacher (or teachers with a continuing license.)  Four additional paths, however, will be unique to Pitt County Schools, offering differentiated pay and responsibilities to teachers within the system.  These four path are: Facilitating Teachers (FT), Multi-Classroom Teachers, (MCT) Collaborating Teachers (CT), and Co-Teachers (Co-T).  Facilitating Teachers and Multi-Classroom Teachers represent new and proven roles highly effective teachers may choose to pursue while remaining in the classroom to receive increased pay and influence.  Collaborating Teachers receive differentiated pay to work with Facilitating Teachers, while both Collaborating and Co-Teachers are able to improve instructional practice through collaboration.

Think of it this way: the traditional career path was a linear model where teachers would begin their career as a Beginning Teacher; after successfully completing the BT program, teachers receive their continuing license and are then considered career teachers (or, using our language, Professional Teachers) for the rest of their time in the classroom.  And that was it.  It was simple, it was linear, and it was understandable.  With the addition of the new pathways that we’ve developed, however, teachers now can travel through their career in a non-linear way, expanding their influence and increasing their pay in ways that are beneficial to them.  Additionally, teachers might move in and out of these pathways over the course of their career, as best fits their specific needs.

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Specifically, teachers in the FT and MCT positions will be identified through multiple measures, including evaluations, classroom observations, student performance data, or peer feedback to be highly effective teachers.  It will be their responsibility to model, train, and mentor other teachers to help them improve their instructional practice.   The other two positions (CTs and Co-Ts) are designed to allow for recognition and reward for those teachers with whom the FTs and MCTs work.

The six paths illustrated below provide options for teachers in their career journey, leading to increased compensation and exponential influence over time.  Educators can choose, as professionals, to move towards increased effectiveness at a pace and on the path with which they are most comfortable.  This proposal seeks to answer the question, “How can schools keep their most effective teachers in the classroom, working with students?”  Leading hospitals experienced a similar crisis when they realized the need for their best nurses to remain bedside.  Their answer was to develop a nursing career ladder offering increased pay and influence. Similarly, the Career Pathways Model provides increased compensation and exponential influence – two things teachers are looking for.

The timeline for roll-out of these positions here in PCS is that Facilitating Teachers (FTs) and Collaborating Teachers (CTs) will begin in Fall 2017 and then Multi-Classroom Teachers and Co-Teachers will begin in Fall 2018. Our initial goal is to roll-out approximately 70 FTs at least 200 CTs next fall, with further expansion in the Fall of 2018.  Our goal is to have these positions in every school in the district, however, many factors will be involved in the final allotment decision, and some schools may have to wait until the Fall of 2018 to begin their FT/CT roll-out.

In the next post we’ll look more closely at the Facilitating Teacher responsibilities and reward, as well as the process for candidate selection and placement.

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