70% of Oakland teachers leave within 5 years

To address the problem of teacher attrition, we propose changing the career pathways available to teachers. As other districts around the country have done, we think that Hybrid teaching positions are one solution to maintaining effective practices and impactful teachers near the students that need them most, while providing an avenue for professional growth beyond the traditional career ladders.


Hybrid Teaching Positions

High Impact

Hybrid positions are designed to:

Maximize impact on student learning.

Increase retention of effective teachers and promote professionalism within the teaching profession.

Allow teachers to influence systems-level decisions with their knowledge current classroom experience.

Hybrid positions are designed to utilize a teacher’s experience and to reflect the needs of the school site.

Most positions will operate at the school site level and be determined by school need. A select number of positions

Recommendations for OUSD

While we recognize that many issues factor into teacher retention and attrition in Oakland Unified, we are confident that the district will retain more effective teachers if it capitalizes on the efforts already underway and develops a high quality system of career pathways that is accessible to all Oakland teachers.  Additionally, if new teachers know that they will have these opportunities for professional growth in OUSD, the district will attract more of the driven and hard-working teachers to Oakland schools.  This section of the report offers both longer- and shorter-term recommendations for how OUSD can better attract, support, and retain high performing teachers.


Longer-Term Recommendations for OUSD

Oakland Unified should work to develop a high quality system of career pathways that is accessible to all teachers in the district.  Teachers should know when they become employees of OUSD, they will have a variety of opportunities to grow as professionals while serving Oakland youth both inside the classroom and out.  A high quality career pathways system will:

  1. Be Sustainable: This means:

    1. Teachers will feel incentivized to remain in specific hybrid roles for a minimum of three years because they will feel adequately supported and compensated (both in terms of release time from the classroom and monetarily) to perform the roles and responsibilities expected of high quality job performance.

    2. Clear processes will be developed by which teachers successfully transition into and out of hybrid roles, so as to maintain the sustainability of the program and services their hybrid work provides Oakland students and schools.  Teachers will be adequately compensated (both in terms of release time from the classroom and monetarily) to complete this transitional work.

  2. Be Transparent: This means:

    1. Hybrid role and other career pathway opportunities will be open and available for all OUSD teachers to pursue.

    2. Positions will be filled through a rigorous and competitive application process that requires teachers to prove their competency and qualifications for the positions of interest.

    3. OUSD and school administrators will post job openings that clearly outline the specific roles and responsibilities of the job as well as the desired qualifications and compensation information.

  3. Be Accountable, Evaluative, and Impactful: This means:

    1. Teachers will prove their candidacy for the position through a rigorous and competitive application process and be held accountable for their job performance once in the position.

    2. Teachers will be fairly and comprehensively coached and evaluated for their effectiveness in the position. The coaching and evaluation process and criteria will be clearly outlined before the teacher assumes the role and coaches and evaluators will be held accountable for fulfilling their responsibilities completely and fairly.

    3. Teachers will work with their coaches and evaluators to reflect on and adjust their practice (if needed) in order to have the greatest impact in their roles.

  4. Be Innovative and Invested in Teacher Leadership: This means:

    1. Teachers will be given the support but also the trust and autonomy to meet the expectations of their work.  They will have the power to determine how to best meet the needs of their students, school, and community while working to meet the expectations clearly outlined in their job descriptions.

    2. Teachers will be treated and appreciated and trusted professionals and experts in their field.


Shorter-Term Recommendations for OUSD

As discussed in previous sections, Oakland Unified has many efforts already underway on which it might capitalize to begin this challenging yet critical work.  We recommend that OUSD begin by focusing on two existing programs in which teachers are already serving in important hybrid leadership roles and work to expand the structure of these programs to meet the high quality criteria listed above.  Given the current urgency around the district’s transition to the Common Core State Standards and its interest in developing a more comprehensive and effective teacher evaluation system, we recommend that OUSD:

  1. Work with LCI to expand and adjust the structure and organization of its Teacher Leader Cadres, particularly the English Language Arts and Math Cadres, to meet the high quality criteria of hybrid roles described above.

  2. Negotiate an agreement with OEA to include current OUSD teachers as peer evaluators in the 2013-2014 teacher evaluation pilot.  These would be treated as hybrid teacher roles that also meet the high quality criteria presented.

We’ve chosen to recommend these particular efforts because they are district-wide, timely, and relevant.



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