September 06, 2012
DCPS Launches New Teacher Career Ladder
A new initiative to help recognize and retain great teachers
DC Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson today announced a new initiative to help recognize and retain great teachers. The program, known as the Leadership Initiative for Teachers, or LIFT, is a five-stage career ladder that provides high-performing educators with opportunities for advancement both inside and outside the classroom, as well as additional compensation and increased recognition. DCPS is the first urban public school system to implement such a comprehensive teacher career ladder.
“Our teachers shape the future for our children,” said Henderson. “At DCPS, we demand excellence from our educators and we work hard to honor and recognize them as the professionals they are. LIFT takes that one step further, making career advancement, a standard practice in every other profession, a reality for DCPS teachers.”
“LIFT is a step in the direction of retaining and rewarding high-performing DCPS teachers,” said Nathan Saunders, President of the Washington Teachers’ Union. “Our members now have a clear path that gives them the recognition they deserve.”
How LIFT Works
LIFT has five career stages: Teacher, Established Teacher, Advanced Teacher, Distinguished Teacher, and Expert Teacher. As teachers move up the career ladder, they will become eligible for additional leadership opportunities, additional compensation, and a reduction in the number of evaluative classroom observations.
Teachers’ annual performance evaluations under the IMPACT system will determine movement up the LIFT stages. To move from Teacher to Established Teacher, an educator must earn one “Highly Effective” rating or two consecutive “Effective” ratings. The same is true to move from Established to Advanced. To move to the higher stages, teachers must earn two Highly Effective ratings.
Benefits of LIFT
As teachers advance up the LIFT career ladder, they will become eligible for additional compensation, with opportunities to earn more than $100,000 in just five years, and more than $130,000 in just seven years. They will also become eligible for additional leadership and career opportunities that will not require them to leave the classroom. For example, through LIFT, teachers will be able to participate as curriculum writers, serve in policy fellowships, and even help recruit and select new teachers for the school system. Finally, as teachers advance up the LIFT stages through continued success in the classroom, they will have fewer observations under the IMPACT evaluation system.
Development of LIFT
More than 300 DCPS teachers participated in the development of LIFT during the 2011-2012 school year. In addition, principals and other school system leaders played an active role in shaping the program.