Role Specialization (In-Person Teacher)

Role specialization happens in the context of other models, most easily under Multi-Classroom Leadership (there is no single career path for a “role specialist”).  The goal is to focus excellent teachers’ time on the instructional roles that are most challenging and critical for student success, and on high-value noninstructional work related to student outcomes. In addition, focusing excellent teachers’ time on the instructional roles in which each excels may magnify their effectiveness. All of these role changes require that other staff members or technological tools perform the instructional and noninstructional roles that excellent teachers no longer play. If enough excellent teacher time is saved, then these teachers can teach more students. Role specialization is already incorporated into other reach models, including Multi-Classroom Leadership, Time-Technology Swaps, and Subject Specialization. In these models, different teacher and paraprofessional team members play differing roles—not just teaching different subjects—to produce the best outcomes for the most students. Reach Effects: will vary widely.

Examples include:

  • Excellent teachers use their time exclusively for academic instruction and planning. This is enabled by having other team members cover noninstructional duties that do not affect student learning, and by using time-saving technology.
  • Excellent teachers focus on the most critical, challenging instructional roles in which each excels. Other team members perform remaining instructional duties. Instructional roles include (among others): planning instruction, lecturing, motivating, monitoring student progress, reviewing student work, providing feedback, diagnosing next-step student needs, monitoring students’ independent work, leading individual and small-group instruction, grading, providing instructional administrative work, addressing social/emotional/ behavioral learning barriers, and communicating with parents.

Examples of schools and school networks extending excellent teachers’ reach using role specialization include City Charter High SchoolFoundations College Prep and Rocketship Education.

See our case study of this or similar models in action:

  • Rocketship Education: Pioneering Charter Network Innovates Again, Bringing Tech Closer to Teachers details how Rocketship, a pioneering, rapidly expanding charter school network, planned to refine its blended-learning model in the 2013–14 year. It intended to give teachers more control over the students’ digital learning and hoped to further individualize the teaching. Watch for future updates to see how these changes do and don’t achieve the network’s goals for student learning.


View table with links to all school models