Teaching for the Long Haul

In July 2020, the North Carolina Advanced Teaching Roles program moved from a pilot to permanent statute. Currently in 2020-21, 15 districts across the state are taking part in the Advanced Teaching Roles initiative. Going forward, because of Senate Bill 681, the NC Department of Public Instruction will issue an Advanced Roles RFP each fall, and districts may apply to become approved.

The Advanced Teaching Roles program allows excellent teachers to extend their reach to more students through co-teaching or coaching fellow teachers or increasing student rosters. Early indicators show promise for improved student outcomes for schools that implement Advanced Teaching Roles models.

The Friday Institute for Educational Innovation’s Teaching for the Long Haul report is timely and relevant to both districts currently implementing Advanced Teaching Roles and those districts considering the initiative. Complementing the quantitative analysis funded by the state, the Belk Foundation funded report took a qualitative, deep dive into Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Edgecombe County Public Schools, and Pitt County Schools. While each district’s model is different, there are some universal lessons shared in the report. Additionally, it strongly advises prospective districts to have a long-term vision before embarking into Advanced Teaching Roles.

In addition to outlining Strengths and Challenges of Advanced Teaching Roles, the report includes these Lessons Learned:
Lessons Related to Initiative Planning:
• Districts—and to some degree, schools—need both flexibility and internal consistency;
• Initiatives must include a plan for sustainable funding;
• Districts benefit from external design and implementation support; and
• Initiatives should be integrated into a district’s larger set of plans.
Lessons Related to People:
• Successful school-level implementation requires collaboration and trust;
• Leadership stability is essential;
• School-level administrators need training and support;
• Teachers need training and support, too; and
• Lead teachers are not administrators.

Providing opportunities for districts to develop and implement teacher leadership programs appears to be a good move for our state. It is not, however, a move that can be made lightly and with only a short-term vision. We hope that the stories shared in this closer look will help other districts and the state as a whole to build the strong, sustainable, and successful teacher leadership programs that our teachers and their students both need and deserve.

—Dr. Callie Edwards, Laura Rosof and Dr. Trip Stallings, The Friday Institute for Educational Innovation

Teaching for the Long Haul: Professionalizing Career Pathways for North Carolina Teachers
A Closer Look at Three Advanced Teaching Roles Pilot Districts

June 2020
Authored by: Dr. Callie Edwards, Laura Rosof and Dr. Trip Stallings

In 2017, The Belk Foundation invested $99,894 in The Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at North Carolina State University for this report. Since 2013, The Belk Foundation has invested $1.2 million in NC districts for Advanced Teaching Roles.