The state should support teachers to take on leadership opportunities that allow them to continue teaching. This goal was new in 2017.
State Support for Teacher Leadership: Maryland does not have state policy supporting teacher leadership.
Support teacher leadership opportunities.
Maryland should initiate policy that encourages teachers to assume leadership or advanced career positions while allowing them to remain in the classroom. This will enable teachers to aspire for professional growth opportunities and increased involvement in educational decisions for their school and community and may ultimately result in a more confident, empowered, and professionally satisfied teaching force.
Base criteria for leadership roles on effectiveness and content knowledge.
Maryland 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 incentives or supports to teachers who assume leadership roles.
Maryland should offer—or encourage districts to offer—either financial incentives or nonmonetary supports to assist teacher leaders. To allow effective teacher leaders to remain in the classroom, Maryland should 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.
Maryland recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis. The state added that, currently, a work group has been established to discuss teacher recruitment, retention, and advancement. One topic under consideration is the creation of career lattices to provide additional leadership opportunities for teachers. Teacher leadership is encouraged in Maryland's Every Student Succeeds Act Plan.
Maryland further noted that it empowers teacher leaders through its State Master Teacher Network and the annual Maryland State Teach to Lead Initiative in partnership with the U.S. Department of Education. The state has also included teacher leadership as part of its Title IIA ESSA plan. In consultation with districts, Maryland will develop a statewide definition of teacher leaders that defines leaders both emerging and established, and describes the characteristics of effective teacher leaders.
In collaboration with districts, Maryland is creating a leadership framework that develops pedagogy, content, community, and collaboration; builds capacity of principal supervisors and principals to grow, maintain, and support teacher leaders; and capitalizes on established principal and teacher leaders.
Finally, the state recognizes mentors/coaches as a teacher leadership position, and specifies that mentors "be assigned school-level administrative duties only on an emergency basis." Also, mentors' "sole responsibilities are to support teachers."
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.