The Multi-Classroom Leader Role
In this role, educators known as MCLs form the cornerstone of Opportunity Culture implementation.
MCLs are teachers with records of high-growth student learning who lead a small teaching team in lesson planning, data analysis, instructional changes, and the creation of a tutoring culture, for higher pay. MCLs observe and coach team teachers, co-teach with them, and model instruction, while continuing to teach some portion of the time.
MCLs have protected time to work intensively with a small teaching team (typically 4 to 6 teachers).
MCLs don’t hold back on guiding teachers. In really high-growth Opportunity Culture schools, they write the lessons, or heavily edit them, and they provide similar guidance on teaching methods.
MCLs continue to teach students directly in a class of their own and/or by co-teaching, modeling instruction in other classrooms, and leading small groups. They may be “full release”—meaning they have no classroom of record, so they can lead a slightly larger team—or “partial release,” in which they still lead their own classroom for part of the day, but have the support of advanced paraprofessionals to leave the classroom to lead the team.
MCLs have “skin in the game”—they are accountable for results of all the students on the team.
MCLs earn an extra 20 percent, on average—and some earn far more.
In 2023, six districts in a North Carolina cohort began a test of the Remotely Located Multi-Classroom Leader role, in which a teacher with a record of high-growth student learning and leadership competencies chooses to lead some, or potentially all, team members located in schools where the MCL does not work in person. This remotely located MCL may be based in a different school in the same district, in another district, or from home or another location. Public Impact learned much from a prior test of this concept; check out the video below.
The videos below present real-world examples of the MCL role:
- Days in the Life: The Work of a Successful Multi-Classroom Leader
- Partial-Release Multi-Classroom Leader Role
- Remotely Located Multi-Classroom Leadership Pilot: this video highlights a previous test run of this concept; watch for more to come based on the 2023 pilot!
- Laketha Ebrahim-Blackwell on Being a Multi-Classroom Leader
Check out these resources for more about the MCL role:
- Vignette: Days in the Life: The Work of a Successful Multi-Classroom Leader
- Blog: “What Is My Job, Anyway?” Teacher Hindsight From a Multi-Classroom Leader
- Blog: From Action Plan to Teacher of the Year—in One Year (see also: One Teacher’s Message for Secretary Cardona)
- News: Multi-Classroom Leaders Find Unique Niche
- Audio: Making the Most of Opportunity Culture Innovations
Being an MCL in Opportunity Culture is literally like my dream job.
—K-8 Multi-Classroom Leader
The Team Reach/Master Team Reach Teacher Role
More than half of MCL teams include teachers in varying Team Reach Teacher (TRT) or Master Team Reach Teacher (MTRT) roles.
TRTs directly teach more students than usual—but typically without raising instructional group sizes—for higher pay. MTRTs have a track record of high-growth student learning and assist an MCL with leading a larger team. They reach significantly more students and may also coach one or more other teachers on the team.
Years of data analysis indicate that schools with more than one TRT per MCL team are more likely to produce high-growth student learning schoolwide than schools that restrict this role.
Like all teachers on an MCL team, TRTs and MTRTs receive the MCL’s powerful, ongoing, on-the-job support and guidance, and they have the support of advanced paraprofessionals in the role of Reach Associates or teacher residents. In collaboration with their MCL team, they support the building of a tutoring culture with increased small-group tutoring and teaching time.
Watch the video below to see Team Reach Teachers in action:
[The TRT role] gave me the opportunity to learn and to grow.
—High School Team Reach Teacher
The Reach Associate Role
Paraprofessionals can serve in the advanced Reach Associate role, supporting one or more MCL teams by providing key support and release time to the MCL and teachers, with a focus on small-group tutoring.
RAs play a variety of roles, but the core role is to provide instructional support, with the strong guidance and coaching of the MCL. Typically, they will tutor small groups or individuals, as the MCL and team determine, in a learning lab or in a teacher’s classroom. While directly working with students as much as possible, RAs collaborate with the MCL team when schedules allow on planning and student data analysis, to strengthen their support in team efforts to build and lead a tutoring culture.
The videos below illustrate the importance of the Reach Associate role:
Read (and listen!) to more about the Reach Associate role:
- Audio | Dramatic Student Growth Follows Focus on Data, Small-Group Tutoring, and Collaboration
- Perspective | How one educator used a paraprofessional role to become a stronger teacher
- Column | Teacher Collaboration Time That Students (Yes, Students) Love
- Column | No More “Zoo Wallace”: Becoming a Welcoming, Successful School
- Blog | Opportunity Culture Models Bring a Team Approach to the Science of Reading
- Blog | In a Texas Opportunity Culture District, MCLs and Reach Associates Build Partnerships
It was what I needed to be a part of — the best decision I ever made in my life.
—High School Reach Associate
The Teacher and Principal Resident Role
Aspiring teachers serve as yearlong, paid teacher residents on MCL teams, supporting teams as RAs do as well as co-teaching, learning student data analysis, and receiving MCL observations and feedback to learn the full teaching role.
Similarly, the Multi-School Leadership model, in which excellent principals lead two or more schools, creates the potential for paid, full-time residencies for aspiring principals—particularly ones who have already led instructional teams as MCLs.
See examples below of teacher residents working in Opportunity Culture schools:
For more about the resident role, check out these resources:
It’s a great opportunity. You learn so much and you also have the whole year long.
—Elementary Teacher Resident
The Multi-School Leader Role
Opportunity Culture Multi-School Leaders (MSLs) are excellent principals with a record of high-growth student learning who lead a small group of two to eight related or closely located schools for more pay, funded within the budgets of their schools. MSLs lead a team of their schools’ principals, guiding each in key elements of instructional and administrative leadership; observe and give feedback; and lead performance data analysis and problem-solving throughout the multi-school team. MSLs are accountable for student learning, teacher satisfaction, and other outcomes in all schools led.
The MSL would typically continue to directly lead at least one school—in some cases two—acting as its senior instructional leader, with the help of an instructional assistant principal or principal resident. MSLs rotate working in person in the schools they lead, connecting personally with teachers, staff, and families. Watch for more details as districts begin to use this role!
District Role: Opportunity Culture Director
Most Opportunity Culture sites name a director to lead their district’s/CMO’s effort to extend the reach of excellent teachers, principals, and their teams to all students, to support schools in implementing well. The Opportunity Culture director:
serves as the Opportunity Culture content expert for the district and manages the Opportunity Culture design process for the district design team and school design teams, ensuring alignment;
collaborates closely with district leadership and all Opportunity Culture teams to organize and disseminate information about Opportunity Culture implementation;
develops the leadership of Opportunity Culture educators; and
contributes and monitors data about the quality and outcomes of Opportunity Culture implementation toward the district’s goals, using the School Excellence Portal.