The Indianapolis school board and teachers union recently became the first in the country to include Opportunity Culture roles in their new contract, offering pay supplements of up to $18,300—35 percent of the district’s average salary. That comes on top of a major base pay raise—the first in five years—for teachers across the board.
Extend the reach of excellent teachers and their teams to many more students, for more pay, within available budgets. Provide much more on-the-job, school-day collaboration, planning time, and support to teachers. When a district decides it wants to do this, then what?
Big changes demand big help, and we’ve just released our free Opportunity Culture Toolkit, which walks districts and schools through all the phases of building an Opportunity Culture. In an Opportunity Culture, great teachers and the teams they lead extend their reach to more students, for more pay, within budget and without forcing class-size increases. It’s happening now, in districts as diverse as Syracuse, N.Y., and Big Spring, Texas, and we’ve used lessons from all the Opportunity Culture districts in building the kit.
This toolkit will help leaders of districts, schools, and charter management organizations engage their boards, central staff, school leaders, and teachers in developing, implementing, and refining an Opportunity Culture in their schools. Partners helping education leaders with organizing, school design, technology, or other elements of the change process will also find this valuable.
From making the initial district commitment to making district- and school-level decisions, implementing an Opportunity Culture, and evaluating and refining it, the Opportunity Culture Toolkit shows users how it’s done, with multiple tools for each of the seven steps along the way.
The kit begins with an overview–an introduction to an Opportunity Culture and the school models and career paths at its foundation. The rest is organized into the key design and implementation phases, with related tools for each. Each phase includes a set of objectives, detailed action steps for accomplishing the objectives, and links to relevant tools and resources.
New and updated tools are added regularly, based on Public Impact’s work with leading districts nationally that are implementing an Opportunity Culture. The first Opportunity Culture schools in Charlotte-Mecklenburg and Nashville, Tenn., have been joined so far by many more Charlotte schools, the schools in Syracuse and Big Spring, and schools in Cabarrus County, N.C., and Indianapolis, Ind. The Texas Education Agency has announced that it will be choosing additional Texas districts in the coming year. Public Impact launched the Opportunity Culture initiative in 2011. See “Where is this happening?” on our revamped Opportunity Culture website for more information.
Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) is joining the Opportunity Culture initiative to extend the reach of its excellent teachers and teams they lead to more students, for more pay, within budget. With the support of Public Impact, IPS will lay the groundwork by June for up to six schools to opt into piloting Opportunity Culture staffing models, to reach many more students with great teaching and create career paths for teachers to join teams, advance their careers, and lead peers without having to leave the classroom.
In an Opportunity Culture, teachers lead the way to change their schools. Opportunity Culture models use job redesign and age-appropriate technology to extend teachers’ reach. A school design team of teachers and administrators at each school selects and adapts the models to fit their school best. IPS pilot schools will create these teams over the summer, and they will work toward implementing the new models in the 2016–17 school year.
“We’re delighted to give our schools the opportunity to give all teachers the support, on-the-job learning, leadership opportunities, and higher pay they deserve,” said Superintendent Lewis Ferebee. “I want all students to benefit from excellent teaching.”