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: New York does not have state policy supporting teacher leadership. The state offers a master teacher program for those who are National Board certified and work full-time in a low-performing school. However, this certificate does not appear linked to any career advancement initiative or leadership opportunities.
New York also makes funding available to support eligible public school teachers seeking their first National Board Certification, which provides teachers with opportunities to engage in leadership roles in their schools and/or districts. In addition, eligible candidates who have National Board Certification may obtain an initial certificate in a comparable title.
Further, through the Teachers of Tomorrow program, funding for school districts is available for the New York State Master Teacher Program, which provides "funds for Master Teacher Awards in order to attract highly qualified, experienced, expert teachers to teach in low-performing schools. Teacher applicants for the award must be Nationally Board Certified and employed full-time in a low-performing public school."
Support teacher leadership opportunities.
New York 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.
New York 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.
New York 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, New York 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.
New York was helpful in providing NCTQ with facts that enhanced this analysis. The state also noted that its Career Ladder Pathways align with most of NCTQ's goals. Teachers who hold the professional certificate are required to successfully complete 100 clock hours of acceptable Continuing Teacher and Leader Education (CTLE) requirements during each five-year registration period. Acceptable CTLE must be taken from a department-approved sponsor and must be conducted through activities designed to improve the teacher or leader's pedagogical and/or leadership skills and targeted at improving student performance, including but not limited to formal CTLE activities. Such activities must promote the professionalization of teaching and be closely aligned with district goals for student performance. Acceptable CTLE must also include study in the content area of any certificate title held by the individual or in pedagogy and include any required study in language acquisition addressing the needs of English language learners as described in section 80-6.3 of Commissioner's Regulations.
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.