Ohio Appalachian Collaborative Blog

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Designing Instructional Leadership Opportunities for Teachers

by | Sep 23, 2013
By Tasha Werry, Marietta City Schools

A key focus of the Ohio TIF (Teacher Incentive Fund) work is recognizing and celebrating educator excellence, as well as cultivating opportunities for educators at all levels to grow as professionals. Responding to this, Ohio TIF Coordinators Tasha Werry (Marietta City Schools), JD Benson (Marietta City Schools), Debbie Ames (Rolling Hills Local Schools), Abby Baughman (Maysville Local Schools), and Barb Funk (Mid-East Career and Technology Centers) have formed a Career Lattice Design Team to propose and provide expanded instructional leadership opportunities for teachers through career ladders and lattices. 

What are career ladders and lattices designed to do?

Rather than traditional supplemental positions, such as athletics and drama, career ladders and lattices are designed to identify instructional leadership positions for teachers, allowing them to share their knowledge and instructional expertise with other teachers.

Why is this important?

The many shifts in education and roles of educators have increased the importance of providing instructional leadership opportunities for teachers. Just a few of these realities include:
  • The roles and responsibilities of principals are shifting.
  • The number of initiatives schools are responsible for implementing and managing are increasing.
  • Teachers want to be leaders in areas they excel, but need time to take on additional responsibilities. 
  • Distributed leadership helps bring clarity to initiatives that districts are implementing by involving teachers in the process, from the beginning.
  • The new tiered licensure structure in Ohio includes a leadership endorsement, Master Teacher portfolio, and National Board Certification. 
  • Teacher retention rates need to improve.
  • The importance and power of collaboration has increased.

Teacher Leadership Examples

In order to meet the new instructional and leadership demands, school districts are exploring ways for teachers to help build capacity in leadership, content expertise, coaching, and professional development in their buildings and districts. In our study of the Ohio TIF districts, school districts are leveraging teachers to provide leadership and share their expertise in the following roles:
  • Serving as a mentor
  • Participating in district leadership teams
  • Participating in building leadership teams
  • Serving as a team lead for teacher based teams 
  • Serving as a grade level leader
  • Serving as a professional development leader
  • Serving as an instructional coach
  • Serving as a technology leader
  • Serving as a community engagement leader
  • Leading research and evaluation around teaching strategies

A Shift in Role, Responsibility, and Salary

The main question for many teachers is how this new role will affect their current responsibilities and workload. Will new responsibilities will be added onto their already existing classroom responsibilities? Will there be an opportunity to change their schedule to accommodate these new roles? Or, will these roles no longer have classroom teaching responsibilities?  Each configuration has its own challenges in terms of affordability, capacity, and selection of individuals in order to fill these needed roles.  The most difficult shift may be that of keeping an existing teacher in the classroom and determining how they will pick up additional responsibilities to meet the district needs.  Some of these changes in responsibilities may require a change in scheduling, and some of the most frequently used approaches involve the following: 
  • Moving to a half day of teaching and a half day of coaching or leading
  • Becoming a full time coach or leader
  • Continue teaching full time, but extending the day by one hour in order to be available to other teachers for coaching or leading
With new responsibilities also comes changes in salary requirements. To help districts compare current and alternative salary schedules, Ohio TIF is using an Excel spreadsheet tool adapted from a version created by Mark Fermanich, a researcher at Oregon State University.  The tool can be found on our Collaboration Space (use your Ohio Portal username and password to login):
In order to use this tool, you will need the following information:
  • Current pay schedule
  • Current FTEs per lane
  • Alternative ideas to add to the spreadsheet
  • An understanding of how to use Excel and its features and functions
All suggestions provided by the Career Lattice Design Team must be negotiated at the local level, and all stakeholders need to be able to analyze concrete examples of alternate pay schedules that are being considered. 

Have questions? Leave a comment below or contact Tasha Werry.