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Public Impact’s Opportunity Culture initiative aims to provide more students with consistently excellent teaching by extending the reach of high-quality teachers. The model takes existing school staff and redistributes roles and responsibilities to leverage talent in ways that boost student learning and educator satisfaction. Multi-classroom leaders are excellent teachers who lead a team of about six teachers. With additional support and more specialized staff, teachers collaborate on instructional planning, share best practices around rigorous and personalized learning, and participate in just-right professional development sessions. This model ensures that teachers have access to more effective learning strategies and students receive consistently high-quality instruction.

Public Impact partners with K–12 schools and districts to support the restructuring of school design and operations to make this model work. Currently implemented across more than 10 states and 50 districts nationwide, Opportunity Culture has shown to provide approximately one-half year of extra learning in reading and math.

  • Academic Knowledge & Skills
  • Adult Capacity & Well-being
  • Learning Strategies & Habits
  • Positive Mindsets
  • Cognitive Thinking Skills
  • Flexible Staffing Structures
  • SEL and Well-being Supports
  • Tutoring or Mentoring
  • 1:1 Coaching & Consulting
  • Resource Toolkit
  • Direct Model Implementation
  • Professional Development

What Makes This Model Innovative?

Connection & Community
A positive, collaborative adult culture is at the heart of Opportunity Culture’s model. Teachers join teams to co-plan, colead, and codesign with excellent master teachers—in this model, everyone works toward excellence.
Rigorous Learning
Opportunity Culture’s mission is to improve student learning through high-quality teaching. This can only be achieved when students are appropriately challenged by their curriculum, receive more personalized content, and have happy and well-trained instructors.
Customization
Opportunity Culture’s principles support customization to fit schools’ unique needs. School-based design teams make context-specific decisions around schedules, budgets, and instructional priorities that leverage the expertise of its existing or new teaching staff.

Goals

The Opportunity Culture initiative aims to reach 75% of students and elevate learning to at least the 75th percentile of achievement while ensuring all educators are satisfied or highly satisfied with their roles and responsibilities. Opportunity Culture Goals and Principles

Academic Achievement & Growth

Students improve their achievement in core subjects by engaging in teaching and learning that is rigorous and culturally relevant.

Social-Emotional Attention & Growth

Students’ social-emotional needs are more readily supported through individualized attention from specialized staff members.

Highly Satisfied Educators

Teachers and staff are adequately compensated, have access to career growth opportunities, and receive more relevant professional development—all of which contribute to higher levels of satisfaction.

Experience

Opportunity Culture has designed a suite of staffing configurations and development opportunities for schools, and at its core is the Multi-Classroom Leader. Additional elements, including Team Reach, Paid Residencies, and Multi-School Leadership, are optional and schools can offer them as needed in order to address specific staffing needs. While a comprehensive implementation of Opportunity Culture includes all elements, schools first prioritize the center of Opportunity Culture’s design.

 

The Multi-Classroom Leader (MCL) is at the core of Opportunity Culture’s staffing design. MCLs are teacher leaders who lead small teams averaging five to six teachers and closely guide and coach all members of a collaborative grade or subject team while also teaching for part of the day. 

MCLs are teachers with a track record of high-growth student learning who are paid more for their leadership and instructional coaching. Some of their key roles and responsibilities include:

  • Leading professional development and instructional coaching for their team.
  • Coleading lesson planning, data analysis, and instructional changes.
  • Modeling teaching techniques and often co-teaching with more novice teachers.
  • Establishing each team member’s roles and goals at least annually, as well as organizing teaching roles to fit each teacher’s strengths, content knowledge, and professional development goals.

Multi-Classroom Leadership for Pre-K–12 Opportunity Culture in Early Childhood Education

An MCL may also be remotely located and virtually lead a team whose members are co-located or spread among several schools. Remotely-Located MCL

Opportunity Culture offers MCL + Team Reach when schools want to reach more students with the available teachers they have and increase teacher collaboration, pay, and career advancement opportunities. Better Together: Combining Multi-Classroom Leadership with Team Reach

MCL + Team Reach allows team teachers to reach more students than typical by rotating students through learning modalities or groupings during a class period. The Team Reach structure leverages additional, specialized staffing positions such as paraprofessionals, teacher residents, reach associates, and master team reach teachers, who support by running small-group rotations and further personalizing instruction. 

Team reach teachers (TRTs) can take on different roles and leverage various learning modalities to better reach more students. Key responsibilities and roles include:

  • Planning and delivering instruction for small-group tutoring and whole-group instruction. 
  • Planning how to leverage additional staff such as advanced paraprofessionals known as reach associates, who can supervise projects and skills practice, offline or digitally, and may tutor individuals or small groups.
  • Strategically dividing classes into manageable sizes to deliver learning modalities that best suit their students’ needs.
  • Schedules require time for individual planning, team planning and development with the MCL, monitoring student progress, grading, and improving instructional plans. 

Multi-Classroom Leadership + Team Reach in Elementary School Multi-Classroom Leadership + Team Reach in Secondary School

Opportunity Culture models allow schools to offer paid, yearlong teacher and principal residencies within regular school budgets in collaboration with nearby colleges, universities, and other accredited program providers. Teacher Residencies in an Opportunity Culture

Residencies ensure that prospective teachers learn elements of instructional excellence while on the job, attract an outstanding and more diverse pipeline of teacher candidates, and provide the district’s students with strong learning experiences from new teachers.

  • Residents pay the usual provider tuition and fees, which are offset by their district-paid salaries 
  • Residents participate in experiences aligned for rapid and purposeful development.
  • Coursework is focused on academic knowledge of key topics, such as student development, pedagogy, and subject content.
  • Residents receive on-the-job support on instruction from a multi-classroom leader.

Paid Teacher and Principal Residencies Summary Teacher Residency Job Description

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. Offering MSLs in a district helps build a strong pipeline of excellent instructional leaders, as well as provides advancement opportunities for excellent principals and supports their retention. Across schools, MSLs extend their excellent leadership to more teachers while support principals and teachers continuously improve their leadership and instruction. Multi-School Leadership Summary Multi-School Leadership Description

The key responsibilities of a multi-school leader include:

  • Leading a small, collaborative group of two to eight related or closely located schools. 
  • Guiding each school’s top instructional leader in key elements of instructional and administrative leadership.
  • Continuing to lead one school in the group directly.
  • Leading data review sessions for each school.
  • Supporting in creating plans to identify the best instructional, behavioral, and operational approaches to achieve student success. 
  • Observing and giving feedback, coaching, and leading performance data analysis and problem-solving throughout the multi-school team. 
  • Being accountable for the student outcomes at each of their team schools, their leaders, and teachers.

Multi-School Leadership combines with MCLs to create a career advancement path with multiple levels, all focused on instructional excellence and frequent guidance and support for teachers and principals. Multi-School Leadership Slide Deck Multi-School Leadership Critical Design Decisions

Supporting Structures

Below you will find both required and suggested supports that will help make the most of this model in your learning environment.

Instruction requires a curriculum that is aligned to rigorous standards and prioritizes subject matter content and skills, leverages interim assessments, and offers opportunity for personalization.

Though Opportunity Culture teachers can implement learning modalities and instructional strategies differently across schools and contexts, the model relies on content-rich and culturally relevant lessons that are aligned to rigorous learning objectives. Recommended High-Quality Curriculum

Teachers are encouraged to strategically leverage technology-enabled learning platforms. MCLs help teachers use differentiated lesson plans that provide frequent opportunities for teachers to reteach or provide accelerated learning paths for their students. Instructional Excellence Summary Students set personal learning goals and track their own progress through frequent diagnostic assessments and informal assessments such as checks for understanding and exit tickets. Executing Rigor and Personalization

Teachers must leverage positive student engagement practices—these build trust with students and families and aim to cultivate an environment where learning and respect are paramount.

Making strong connections in the classroom is essential to supporting students in their social-emotional growth and creating a welcoming classroom. MCLs and supporting positions leverage a variety of positive student engagement techniques to best support every student. Key Elements of Instructional Excellence for Multi-Classroom Leaders: Connect

Examples of these practices include leading informal morning meetings where students share highs and lows, get to know each other, and receive support from their teachers. Teachers also leverage interest surveys where students get to share what they would like the teacher to know about them at the beginning of the year. A common approach is a “fresh start each day” mentality where no one carries over unproductive feelings from the day before, and instead students are received with a warm welcome every day. 

To achieve this, teachers must maintain open lines of communication with parents, build trust by following through on actions, no matter how small, and celebrate achievements with the entire learning community.

Schools must clearly distribute roles and responsibilities across staff in order to more effectively collaborate, extend best practices across classrooms, and ensure that every teacher feels supported.

Each school creates a design team of teachers and leaders that make decisions about what roles, staffing, and scheduling will suit its school’s needs. This team designs teacher teams, the master schedules, pay supplements, and a communications plan to share with relevant stakeholders. Opportunity Culture’s Recruitment Toolkit Teacher and Staff Selection Toolkit

Scheduled, weekly common planning meetings and individual coaching and feedback time focus on the specific needs of each team of teachers. Led by MCLs, teachers are supported in lesson planning, instructional techniques, data review, leading small groups, and much more. 

Team Reach is often supported by additional and more specialized staff, such as paraprofessionals known as reach associates or teaching assistants. Reach associates are a key part of MCL teams who play a variety of roles, but the core is providing instructional support through tutoring small groups, supporting students on skills practice and other assignments, and providing release time for MCLs. Teams may also include yearlong, paid teacher residents, embedded in existing reach associate roles. Reach Associate Job Description

For schools who leverage supplemental staff, Opportunity Culture can help design paid residency programs to attract an outstanding, diverse pipeline of teacher candidates and ensure prospective teachers are learning instructional strategies in order to provide students with excellent teaching. Teacher Residencies in an Opportunity Culture

A school’s master schedule must shift to accommodate each staff members’ key role and responsibilities.

Opportunity Culture supports school-based design teams to develop schedules that are just right for them. Though tailored to the needs of each school, schedules with Opportunity Culture have a few required features. They include consistent common planning meetings that are built into the school day, offer ample time for MCLs to work independently and with their school leaders, and carefully take into consideration when Team Reach teachers can extend their instruction to more students. 

Explore additional scheduling resources made by Opportunity Culture when they pivoted to at-home learning. Multi-Classroom Leadership + Team Reach Schedule Example for At-Home Learning

Schools should provide support on using technology or new digital platforms when connecting teams across schools and/or districts.

Opportunity Culture’s online portal digitally connects participating team members to one another and offers one place to safely house student data, resources, and information. This platform supports providing feedback, uploading recordings for observations, eases collection of data for synthesis and analysis, and provides teachers with resources and other relevant information.

Schools must rework their existing budgets to account for new team and teacher-leadership salaries.

Opportunity Culture works with schools and their design teams to allocate existing funds differently to support new teaching or principal roles for the long term, instead of relying solely on supplementary funds or onetime incentives. 

That may mean, for example, using the funds from an unfilled vacant classroom teaching position on a team to pay for a reach associate (who earns a teacher assistant salary plus a stipend), the MCL’s stipend, and stipends for the remaining team teachers. Depending on the budget, Opportunity Culture schools frequently pay multi-classroom leaders about 20% more than the average teacher, often more. In districts, multi-school leaders remain as a principal of a school to receive base pay and participating schools each transform one assistant principal role into a lower-paid operations manager to supplement the pay for the MSL position.

Instruction requires a curriculum that is aligned to rigorous standards and prioritizes subject matter content and skills, leverages interim assessments, and offers opportunity for personalization.

Though Opportunity Culture teachers can implement learning modalities and instructional strategies differently across schools and contexts, the model relies on content-rich and culturally relevant lessons that are aligned to rigorous learning objectives. Recommended High-Quality Curriculum

Teachers are encouraged to strategically leverage technology-enabled learning platforms. MCLs help teachers use differentiated lesson plans that provide frequent opportunities for teachers to reteach or provide accelerated learning paths for their students. Instructional Excellence Summary Students set personal learning goals and track their own progress through frequent diagnostic assessments and informal assessments such as checks for understanding and exit tickets. Executing Rigor and Personalization

Teachers must leverage positive student engagement practices—these build trust with students and families and aim to cultivate an environment where learning and respect are paramount.

Making strong connections in the classroom is essential to supporting students in their social-emotional growth and creating a welcoming classroom. MCLs and supporting positions leverage a variety of positive student engagement techniques to best support every student. Key Elements of Instructional Excellence for Multi-Classroom Leaders: Connect

Examples of these practices include leading informal morning meetings where students share highs and lows, get to know each other, and receive support from their teachers. Teachers also leverage interest surveys where students get to share what they would like the teacher to know about them at the beginning of the year. A common approach is a “fresh start each day” mentality where no one carries over unproductive feelings from the day before, and instead students are received with a warm welcome every day. 

To achieve this, teachers must maintain open lines of communication with parents, build trust by following through on actions, no matter how small, and celebrate achievements with the entire learning community.

Schools must clearly distribute roles and responsibilities across staff in order to more effectively collaborate, extend best practices across classrooms, and ensure that every teacher feels supported.

Each school creates a design team of teachers and leaders that make decisions about what roles, staffing, and scheduling will suit its school’s needs. This team designs teacher teams, the master schedules, pay supplements, and a communications plan to share with relevant stakeholders. Opportunity Culture’s Recruitment Toolkit Teacher and Staff Selection Toolkit

Scheduled, weekly common planning meetings and individual coaching and feedback time focus on the specific needs of each team of teachers. Led by MCLs, teachers are supported in lesson planning, instructional techniques, data review, leading small groups, and much more. 

Team Reach is often supported by additional and more specialized staff, such as paraprofessionals known as reach associates or teaching assistants. Reach associates are a key part of MCL teams who play a variety of roles, but the core is providing instructional support through tutoring small groups, supporting students on skills practice and other assignments, and providing release time for MCLs. Teams may also include yearlong, paid teacher residents, embedded in existing reach associate roles. Reach Associate Job Description

For schools who leverage supplemental staff, Opportunity Culture can help design paid residency programs to attract an outstanding, diverse pipeline of teacher candidates and ensure prospective teachers are learning instructional strategies in order to provide students with excellent teaching. Teacher Residencies in an Opportunity Culture

A school’s master schedule must shift to accommodate each staff members’ key role and responsibilities.

Opportunity Culture supports school-based design teams to develop schedules that are just right for them. Though tailored to the needs of each school, schedules with Opportunity Culture have a few required features. They include consistent common planning meetings that are built into the school day, offer ample time for MCLs to work independently and with their school leaders, and carefully take into consideration when Team Reach teachers can extend their instruction to more students. 

Explore additional scheduling resources made by Opportunity Culture when they pivoted to at-home learning. Multi-Classroom Leadership + Team Reach Schedule Example for At-Home Learning

Schools should provide support on using technology or new digital platforms when connecting teams across schools and/or districts.

Opportunity Culture’s online portal digitally connects participating team members to one another and offers one place to safely house student data, resources, and information. This platform supports providing feedback, uploading recordings for observations, eases collection of data for synthesis and analysis, and provides teachers with resources and other relevant information.

Schools must rework their existing budgets to account for new team and teacher-leadership salaries.

Opportunity Culture works with schools and their design teams to allocate existing funds differently to support new teaching or principal roles for the long term, instead of relying solely on supplementary funds or onetime incentives. 

That may mean, for example, using the funds from an unfilled vacant classroom teaching position on a team to pay for a reach associate (who earns a teacher assistant salary plus a stipend), the MCL’s stipend, and stipends for the remaining team teachers. Depending on the budget, Opportunity Culture schools frequently pay multi-classroom leaders about 20% more than the average teacher, often more. In districts, multi-school leaders remain as a principal of a school to receive base pay and participating schools each transform one assistant principal role into a lower-paid operations manager to supplement the pay for the MSL position.

Supports Offered

Opportunity Culture offers the following resources and supports to help you implement their approach.

Open-Source Resources
Free

Opportunity Culture creates many resources to better understand their model’s design. Many of these can be accessed directly through their website. These resources include monthly newsletters; frequent webinars that bring the model to life through implementation stories, educator testimonials, and blogs; and more.

  • Curriculum and instructional materials, assessments guidance, planning documents, and more.
  • Organizational tools, planners, and meeting templates.
  • Data analysis and monitoring tools and resources
  • Similar tools for principals
  • COVID-response supports
  • Educator columns and blogs
  • Newsletters 
  • Webinars
Professional Learning Programming for Educators
Cost Associated

Opportunity Culture offers a professional learning program for participating educators. Sessions prepare educators to leverage research-based practices and deliver rigorous content to students through their new roles. Sessions are grounded in adult learning principles and participants engage in group reflections, collaboration, and problem-solving to learn from one another.

  • Opportunity Culture offers three years of programming to participating educators.
  • Sessions are differentiated based on roles and can be virtual or in person, and are offered at different times during the year to accommodate many schedules.
  • Sessions have built-in time to collaborate and share expertise and resources with educators from across the country.

Registration for Opportunity Culture’s national professional learning program is limited to individuals in Opportunity Culture roles. Pricing Information

Comprehensive Implementation Support for Districts, Cohorts, CMOs
Cost Associated

Opportunity Culture offers support for districts in implementation of this new staffing structure across multiple schools. These include but are not limited to: 

  • Site visits and feedback
  • Analysis of outcomes and results
  • Funding supports
  • Professional development and training for teachers and relevant staff
  • COVID-response supports
  • Recruitment and selection supports
  • Virtual planning and communications support
  • Professional development and training for district leaders

Reach

640
Schools
4500
Teachers
120000
Students
10
States

Impact

Schools implementing Opportunity Culture’s model show positive learning outcomes in reading and math for students as well as increased collaborative experiences and retention rates for teachers. Explore Opportunity Culture’s impact data in more detail: Backes and Hansen, 2018 and Wiseman, Gottlieb & Kirksey, 2021.

Students with teachers who participate in MCL teams tend to experience extra learning instruction in reading and in math. 

  • Students in schools implementing MCL teacher teams received an extra 0.2 to 0.8 years of learning in reading (Backes and Hansen, 2018; Wiseman, Gottlieb & Kirksey, 2021).
  • Students in schools implementing MCL teacher teams received an extra 0.3 to 0.7 years of learning in math (Backes and Hansen, 2018; Wiseman, Gottlieb & Kirksey, 2021).

Teachers who participated in MCL teams tend to improve their student learning in math and reading. 

  • Teachers who joined Opportunity Culture multi-classroom leaders’ teams moved from producing 50th percentile student learning growth to 77th percentile student learning growth across two years (Backes and Hansen, 2018; Wiseman, Gottlieb & Kirksey, 2021).
  • After joining the teams, teachers produced learning gains equivalent to those of teachers in the 75th to 85th percentiles in math (Backes and Hansen, 2018).
  • After joining the teams, teachers in seven schools with statistically significant results produced learning gains equivalent to those of teachers in the from the 66th to 72nd percentiles in reading (Backes and Hansen, 2018).

Contact

Public Impact Team