At Public Impact, we and our partners provide districts and charter schools with support in implementing models to extend excellent teachers’ reach based on the Opportunity Culture Reach Extension Principles. But we hope others can do this without outside support, and we publish all our models and design tools for free—and continue to add materials—to make that possible. In Nevada, we’ve found what may be the first district to go it alone, using our materials.
Clark County, home of Las Vegas, is making plans to launch the new job roles of its Project Reach-Extended 10 in fall 2014, as the district grapples with both crushing budget deficits and a strong commitment to improve learning outcomes for all 311,429 of its students.
The Clark County School District (CCSD) aims to provide a variety of job roles and career advancement opportunities for its teachers who extend their reach, paying them more through reallocated dollars, not special grants—thereby creating a sustainable program.
“Out of the 18,000 teachers in our district, we know we have so many who could have a greater impact on student achievement,” says Staci Vesneske, chief human resources officer. “We just need to create opportunities for them to do so.”
With growth projections suggesting a need for 2,000 more teachers for fall 2013, CCSD leaders have moved quickly but carefully to put the “RE-10” initiative in place. After a planning year in 2013–14, the district will select teachers based on two years of evaluation data, with the new roles launching in fall 2014. Researchers Dan Goldhaber of the University of Washington and Susanna Loeb of Stanford University will study RE-10’s benefits for students, tracking data on the performance of students in the participating teachers’ classes.
Since fall 2012, almost 400 teachers and 80 principals have participated in small-group focus sessions to share the concept of a career ladder and introduce Opportunity Culture reach-extension models; the district also shared materials from this website three times with all its principals. To gauge interest in a 2013 launch, the researchers surveyed all principals and found 75 percent of respondents were at a minimum somewhat interested. An advisory team of teachers will guide the project’s implementation.
Meanwhile, the district is planning professional development for principals and teachers in selected schools, and has begun visiting schools elsewhere in the U.S. to see some motivating examples of reach models in action.
Several large school districts that we and our partners are supporting, including Charlotte-Mecklenburg and Metro Nashville, are using these models to enthusiastic response from teachers: In Charlotte, 708 applications flooded in this spring for 26 new reach-extension jobs, and Nashville has so far received more than 30 applications for every open multi-classroom leadership position.