Scalable Way for Middle and High Schools to Increase Teacher Pay, Planning Time

Recently I was chatting with a secondary school teacher who co-leads her school. In her school, which is a charter school run by teachers, scheduling and staffing are arranged to provide abundant time for teacher collaboration and teacher leadership. These are crucial if teachers are to innovate and improve as they serve the school’s high-need population. She asked, “Emily, how can we make models like this scalable and appealing to more schools, so that districts use them, too?”

We have just released our latest calculations to show how some new school models that include redesigned teacher roles can work.  The redesigned teacher roles extend the reach of excellent teachers and their teams to more students and also allow for increased teacher pay.

We find that middle and high school teachers who use blended learning and lead teaching teams can earn 20 to 67 percent more, within current budgets, and without class-size increases. Using these models, teachers also gain 5 to 15 additional school hours weekly to plan and improve instruction collaboratively.

These calculations are based on detailed models that use job redesign and technology to reach more students with excellent teachers, for more pay, within budget.

In our Time-Technology Swap—Rotation model, students alternate between learning with teachers and working in a digital learning lab, where they learn online and engage in offline skill practice, homework, and project work. Many secondary teachers include such time now in regular class periods. Instead, this model consolidates this time into alternating days with paraprofessional supervision, allowing substantial pay increases for teachers. This frees teachers to teach more students, adds 5 to 15 hours of weekly time to plan and review student work, and allows teaching teams to collaborate and learn on the job during school hours.

Adding Multi-Classroom Leaders (MCLs) provides a teaching team with an excellent teacher with leadership skills who is accountable for all of the team’s students in a subject and for team members’ job-embedded development. MCLs lead teams of teachers and paraprofessionals to deliver instruction that meets each teacher-leader’s standard of excellence to all students in covered subjects.

Teachers at pilot schools using these models have responded enthusiastically to new opportunities to lead teams and learn, as team members, from outstanding peers. The first two districts received about 30 applications per position last year in previously hard-to-staff schools—making sustainably higher pay and increased planning time good not just for teachers, but for districts, too. (See our case studies for more information, and watch for more case studies coming soon.)

By teaching more students and achieving excellence in teams, teachers can earn more from existing per-pupil funding, even after new costs for technology and additional paraprofessional support. Though the pay increases and savings made possible for any specific school will depend on local factors, this brief provides a starting point for districts, schools, and teachers to develop their own projections.

—Emily Ayscue Hassel

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