The state should support teachers to take on leadership opportunities that allow them to continue teaching.
State support for teacher leadership: The District of Columbia offers teachers the opportunity to be part of the Educator Talent Pool.
Additionally, teachers can be part of the Superintendent's Teacher Advisory Council (TAC). This council consists of 17 teachers from across the District representing both DC Public Schools and public charter school teachers. Their 18-month term serves as an opportunity for teacher leaders to work alongside the Superintendent of Education and provide insight, feedback, and advice on issues that impact classrooms and schools across the city. Additionally, teachers will share their learnings from OSSE meetings with their networks and colleagues.
Selection criteria: The District of Columbia requires selection into the Educator Talent Pool to be based on criteria such as exceptional educational talent as evidenced by effective instructional practices and student learning results in the classroom and school, and exemplary educational accomplishments beyond the classroom that provide models of excellence for the profession.
Selection criteria for the Superintendent's Teacher Advisory Council is not indicated.
Incentives and supports: The District of Columbia offers teachers in the Educator Talent Pool the opportunity to provide service and expertise to the educational community by "participating in communities of practice, serving on peer review panels, helping to select outstanding educators for recognition awards, and participating in statewide stakeholder engagement committees."
Educator Talent Pool https://osse.dc.gov/service/district-columbia-educator-talent-pool
Base criteria for leadership roles on effectiveness and content knowledge.
The District of Columbia should ensure that teachers selected for leadership roles have a record of effectiveness in the classroom and bring substantial teaching experience and subject-matter knowledge.
Offer additional incentives or supports to teachers who assume leadership roles.
Although the District of Columbia is on the right track in offering leadership roles to its teacher leaders, the District is encouraged to strengthen its policy and offer—or encourage districts to offer—either financial incentives or more substantive nonmonetary supports. The District of Columbia should also ensure that principals provide time and space for the tasks of both teacher of record and teacher leadership roles, which may be accomplished, for example, through a reduction of class loads.
The District of Columbia indicated that it offers several teacher leadership opportunities. Teachers can be part of advisory groups such as the: State Advisory Panel on Special Education (SAP), Title I Committee of Practitioners (T-I CoP), State Title III Advisory Committee (STAC), Secondary Transition Community of Practice (ST CoP), DC STEM Network, and the DC Teachers of the Year Alumni Network. The District asserted that it has an ambitious vision to close the achievement gap and ensure people of all ages and backgrounds are prepared to succeed in school and in life, believe it is critical to elevate teacher voices to reach this vision. The Superintendent's Teacher Advisory Council will serve as a brain trust to the Superintendent to ensure Office of the State Superintendent of Education's (OSSE) policies are informed by a classroom perspective.
The District of Columbia also stated that each teacher leadership opportunity has its own selection criteria, but include exceptional educational talent as evidenced by effective instructional practices and student learning results in the classroom and school, and exemplary educational accomplishments beyond the classroom that provide models of excellence for the profession.
The District of Columbia indicated that it does not currently offer teachers financial incentives or nonmonetary supports. Teachers who engage in the above teacher leader opportunities provide service and expertise to the educational community by "participating in communities of practice, serving on peer review panels, helping to select outstanding educators for recognition awards, and participating in statewide stakeholder engagement committees."
9C: Leadership Opportunities
Research from the past four decades widely supports leadership roles for teachers. Teachers aspire to engage in leadership and professional growth opportunities, and desire more participation in decisions about instruction. Research suggests teacher leaders should be involved in policy and decision-making at some level.
Research has not found a relationship between teacher leadership and student achievement; however, the presence of teacher leadership opportunities in schools has benefits for individual teacher leaders, as well as the school-wide teacher community. Teacher leaders feel more confident, empowered, and professionally satisfied; they also feel that leadership roles allowed them to grow professionally. Teachers in schools with teacher leadership opportunities report that such opportunities contribute to greater teacher empowerment, professional community, and collective responsibility. For their school community, teachers in leadership roles have the capacity to increase teacher collaboration, spread best practices, encourage teacher professional learning, and focus on content-specific issues. Teacher leaders support professional learning communities by conducting formal professional development or assisting other teachers in classrooms. By concurrently serving as teachers, teacher leaders are likely to be more effective in both roles.
Teacher leaders selected for these roles should bring substantial teaching experience and knowledge of the curriculum, as well as effective instruction. Insofar as strong teacher leadership systems should ensure that teacher leaders also remain in the classroom as teachers, principals should provide time and space for the tasks of both teacher of record and teacher leadership roles, such as reducing class loads.