Redesigning Schools for an Opportunity Culture

How can every student have excellent teaching every year? Extending the reach of excellent teachers and their teams requires schools to redesign jobs, use technology in new ways, or both. In many cases, schools add paraprofessional support, too.

Here are school models that let excellent teachers reach more students and help peers succeed.  For more detail, see our school models page.

With these changes, schools can provide students with great teaching and all teachers with ways to advance in their careers without having to leave the classroom.

Opportunity Culture School Model Overview Table:

Click on any model name in the table to link to more information about that model. You can also view a PDF version of this table or this page.

In-Person
The teacher accountable for learning is in the school, teaching face to face, and may lead peers.
Remote
In schools with shortages, the teacher accountable for learning uses technology to teach and connect with students, and may lead peers. An in-person monitor is required.
Multi-Classroom Leadership
Excellent teacher leads a teaching team and is accountable for all students.

Multi-Classroom Leadership (In-Person Pods)

Multi-Teacher Leadership (Remote Pods)

Specialization
Excellent teachers specialize in high-priority subjects and roles, with new paraprofessional support.

Subject Specialization | Role Specialization

Subject Specialization | Role Specialization

Class-Size Changes (in combination with models that reduce group size)
Excellent teachers teach larger classes, within limits and by choice, ideally without increasing instructional group size.

Class-Size Increases | Class-Size Shifting

Class-Size Increases | Class-Size Shifting

Time-Technology Swaps
Digital instruction or offline skill practice and projects save teachers time to teach more students and collaborate. Students spend an hour (elementary) or more (secondary) daily in paraprofessional-supervised learning.

In-Person Swaps

  • Rotation*: Alternating teacher and digital or other instruction on a fixed schedule
  • Flex*: Digital, small-group, and large-group learning time individualized

Remote Swaps

  • Rotation*: Alternating remote teacher and digital or other instruction on a fixed schedule
  • Flex*: Digital, small-group, and large-group learning time individualized
Combinations
  • Schools committed to reaching every student in every valued subject with the excellent teachers will use Multi-Combinations
  • Combinations let schools optimize current students’ learning and teachers’ development on the job.

Note: Shaded items may require new technology. Students are in school buildings in all models in this table.
*The terms Rotation and Flex are widely used to describe “blended learning” models.
© 2012 Public Impact, Chapel Hill, NC. Copying and sharing all or part of this web page permitted with this line and link to OpportunityCulture.org.

The models must meet our Opportunity Culture Principles, for whole schools or individual courses.

Opportunity Culture Principles

Teams of teachers and school leaders must choose and tailor models to:

  1. Reach more students with excellent teachers and their teams
  2. Pay teachers more for extending their reach
  3. Fund pay within regular budgets
  4. Provide protected in-school time and clarity about how to use it for planning, collaboration, and development
  5. Match authority and accountability to each person’s responsibilities

Most models involve team-teaching, allowing all teachers to earn more and gain collaboration and development time during school hours, with leadership opportunities for excellent teachers that let them stay in the classroom—so that good and great teachers work together to bring excellent instruction to all students. Schools can combine models to make the best use of excellent teachers’ time and to put teachers in roles that are best for each person. Some models also make part-time work, reduced hours, and flexible schedules possible.

Schools may find an Opportunity Culture especially effective for recruiting and retaining excellent teachers and teams in hard-to-staff schools and positions, such as STEM teaching, that students sorely need.

Learn more: