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ERIC Number: ED535871
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Apr
Pages: 36
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Beyond Classroom Walls: Developing Innovative Work Roles for Teachers
Kowal, Julie; Brinson, Dana
Center for American Progress
The teaching profession has long been structured around full-time classroom responsibilities that are defined by the location, timing, and schedule of the school day and a ubiquitous one-teacher-per-classroom model. In most districts, the only option for highly successful teachers to advance in the profession or serve more students is to leave the classroom to serve as an assistant principal, principal, or district administrator. Exceptions to this traditional approach exist in many schools and districts across the country. According to a 2009 national survey, more than half of teachers (56 percent) and nearly half of principals (49 percent) report that at least some teachers in their school combine part-time classroom teaching with other roles or responsibilities in their school or district. But evidence does not suggest these nontraditional roles are particularly innovative, focused on enhancing teacher quality, or designed to extend the reach of the best teachers to more students. Across the country, interest is increasing in alternative approaches to school staffing that provide more flexible work roles and advancement opportunities for highly effective teachers--both as a means to recognize and retain teachers in hard-to-staff schools, and to allow the best teachers to have a positive impact on larger numbers of students. With this growing interest, the field needs to learn what it can from early adopters of role-shifting reforms. This paper profiles two organizations--a small charter management organization based in California and a large school district in Virginia--that have recently pursued staffing innovations designed with these goals in mind. While they have taken very different approaches, both study sites offer examples of the types of roles that other districts, schools, and charter organizations can pursue to open up and professionalize teachers' work, while revealing several critical limitations related to design and implementation that the next generation of innovators should heed. (Contains 4 figures and 25 endnotes.)
Center for American Progress. 1333 H Street NW 10th Floor, Washington, DC 20005. Tel: 202-682-1611; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Joyce Foundation
Authoring Institution: Center for American Progress
Identifiers - Location: California; Virginia