Frequently Asked Questions
How did the Opportunity Culture concept begin?
In 2009, Public Impact, a national education policy and management firm, published a paper calling for more teachers to have paid, advanced roles while continuing to teach, in order to reach all students with excellent teaching. In 2012–13, the first two districts in the nation designed their Opportunity Culture models, adhering to five Opportunity Culture Principles, which call for teams of teachers and school leaders to choose and tailor models to:
- Reach more students with excellent teachers and their teams;
- Pay teachers more for extending their reach;
- Fund pay within regular budgets;
- Provide protected in-school time and clarity about how to use it for planning, collaboration, and development; &
- Match authority and accountability to each person’s responsibilities.
Where are there Opportunity Culture schools?
The Opportunity Culture initiative continues to add sites every year; see OpportunityCulture.org for a complete list and results. North Carolina, New York, Indiana, Texas, Arkansas, Illinois, Arizona, and Georgia are among the states with participating districts.
Why did Vance County Schools implement an Opportunity Culture?
We believe that the teacher in the classroom has the most impact on a student’s performance, so we implemented Opportunity Culture as a way to recruit, develop, retain, and reward excellent teachers. Teachers consistently say that they long to make more of an impact, have leadership opportunities that do not take them out of the classroom, and be paid commensurate with their level of responsibility and impact on students. Opportunity Culture addresses all of this. We also focus on supporting and developing our teachers, and an Opportunity Culture makes consistent, personalized, on-the-job, weekly or even daily support possible.
How do you know an Opportunity Culture is good for students?
Researchers from the Brookings Institution and American Institutes of Research found large student learning gains associated with Multi-Classroom Leadership. Teachers who were on average at the 50th percentile in student learning gains, who then joined teams led by teacher-leaders known as multi-classroom leaders, or MCLs (who had prior high growth as teachers), produced learning gains equivalent to those of teachers from the 75th to 85th percentile in math, and, in six of the seven statistical models, from 66th to 72nd percentile in reading. Teams had a median of five teachers in addition to the MCL.
Which schools in Vance County are participating, and what Opportunity Culture roles do they offer?
Click here for a complete list of schools currently implementing Opportunity Culture in Vance County
What is the selection process like?
We have a rigorous selection process that focuses on competencies, taking into account our mission and school fit. It includes a pre-screening that considers your submitted data that shows your record of success with student achievement, followed by interviews from leaders of a specific school.
How are these positions created within a school?
Opportunity Culture roles were chosen by a team of teachers and administrators at each school. Each school’s design team chose and tailored the roles that fit the school best, designed an innovative schedule, and determined how to pay for the roles.
How am I supported in these new roles?
Great support is a hallmark of Opportunity Culture schools. Multi-classroom leaders get intensive training before the school year begins in how to lead their teams, and all Opportunity Culture staff get on-the-job training and development, and scheduled, dedicated collaborative time for planning, coaching, and support.
What does a day in the life of an MCL look like?
An MCL sounds similar to an instructional coach/facilitator. What’s the difference?
Unlike most coaches, multi-classroom leaders are fully accountable for the results of all the students assigned to them and their team—and they continue to teach as well. And unlike many coaches/facilitators, MCLs lead small teams—typically two to five, although advanced MCLs may lead teams of six to eight. This gives them the protected, in-school time to provide the on-the-job guidance, co-planning, help with data analysis, and feedback that is a hallmark of the support in an Opportunity Culture. Additionally, many MCLs help select their teammates, help them advance in their own careers, and help principals lead instructional excellence schoolwide. Finally, additional pay for this advanced role does not depend on grants.
How am I evaluated as an MCL?
MCLs are responsible for the results of all the students on their team. They are evaluated using the North Carolina Educator Evaluation System along with an MCL-specific evaluation.
What does it mean to be an expanded impact teacher?
Expanded impact teachers on a multi-classroom leader’s team directly teach more students than usual, but typically without raising instructional group sizes. Students rotate among teachers and paraprofessionals (“reach associates”) or teacher residents, who may tutor individuals and small groups and supervise skills practice, project work, and limited, age-appropriate digital instruction. Teachers use their face-to-face teaching time for higher-order learning and personalized follow-up, often using small-group instruction. In elementary schools, teacher may specialize by subject.
How I am evaluated as an expanded impact teacher?
Expanded impact teachers are responsible for the results of the expanded number of students they teach and are otherwise evaluated under the North Carolina Educator Evaluation System.
How is a reach associate different from a traditional teaching assistant/paraprofessional?
The reach associate role is an advanced paraprofessional role. Reach associates take on greater levels of responsibility to support teachers with instruction. They are expected to support student learning through various activities such as leading small groups, working with students one on one, and managing larger groups of students while the lead teacher (such as a multi-classroom leader or team reach teacher) works with individuals or small groups. While working with students, reach associates often reteach concepts to students who have not mastered a skill, or extend and enrich instruction for students who are ready to move forward. Reach associates also must have some classroom management skills to supervise students independently. Reach associates do not create lesson plans, but implement plans created by the lead teacher. They may provide input for lesson plans based on their observations and data gathered on student performance. The reach associate role may be played by a teacher resident who is obtaining a degree or certification while working
What type of professional development to Opportunity Culture educators?
The district provides intensive summer training facilitated by Public Impact and guest facilitators from Opportunity Culture schools. Additionally, the district provides professional development throughout the school year, including sessions on specific topics related to each role, as well as monthly meetings with the district to discuss successes and challenges in the roles.
Are there additional application requirements for out-of-state applicants?
Yes. Out of state applicants must complete a teacher application through NC TeacherMatch for Vance County Schools. All applicants must be a highly qualified teacher with full teaching credentials recognized by the state they are coming from. All applicants must provide their two most recent evaluations, two years of data not to exceed the last 5 years, a narrative of the data and a leadership narrative.
For traditional teachers, how does becoming a multi-classroom leader impact the state performance bonus?
Because MCLs generally do not have a class of record, they are not eligible for the state bonus. MCLs are paid at least $6,000 more than traditional teacher positions.