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SAFFORD CAREER LADDER PROGRAM
It is the mission of the Safford Career Ladder Program to develop and reward teachers who effectively maximize the individual potential of their students to function as contributing and responsible citizens in our changing global society. The retention of quality teachers in the classroom and improvement of student achievement is the ultimate goal of the Safford Career Ladder Program.
The Safford Career Ladder plan consists of four levels: (1) Establishment, (2) Adaptation, (3) Extension, and (4) Leadership. All teachers new to the Safford District participate in Establishment activities. As their careers develop, access to higher levels with increasing Career Ladder compensation is available to those who meet the criteria.
At the Establishment Level, less experienced teachers will gain competencies in basic instructional skills. They participate in specific staff development activities and are assigned a mentor to assist them and insure teacher success. Adaptation Level teachers make decisions about how to adapt their knowledge and skills to changing situations. They are teamed with other teachers to encourage developing and sharing of expertise. Extension Level teachers acquire responsibilities that enable them to extend their knowledge and skills. They have mentor and evaluation responsibilities. Leadership Level teachers demonstrate competency of instructional skills and declare an area of focus for district research and support.
Placement and Advancement
Placement of teachers on the Career Ladder is accomplished through classroom observation and a review of documentation submitted by the teacher. This provides the best possible objective assessment of a teacher's performance and potential success on the Career Ladder. The teacher is able to show evidence of instructional performance, student progress, and verification of level qualifications.
Evaluation of instruction plays a basic role in assuring quality instruction for all students. The Safford Teacher Evaluation has been developed through a collaborative process involving district teachers and administrators. All Career Ladder participants are evaluated by their supervising administrator using the Safford Teacher Evaluation instrument. The basic purpose of Safford Teacher Evaluation is to improve teacher performance and effectiveness. Career Ladder participants must maintain adequate marks in order to participate in the the Career Ladder Program.
As teachers develop skills and move to higher levels of the career ladder, the focus on student progress and accountability grows. Evidence of student progress is assembled annually by the teacher. At the beginning of the academic year, the teacher submits for approval a student progress plan based on detailed guidelines. Generally speaking, a pretest-instruction-posttest model is advocated. A variety of assessment methods can be used to document student progress during the year. Evidence of student progress is presented by the teacher at the end of the year. The ultimate concern is on student outcomes rather than solely on the teaching process.
Participating teachers are required to perform higher level instructional responsibilities at higher Career Ladder levels. These additional education-related activities strengthen the overall educational program and have a direct impact on improving student academic growth. A teacher may participate in curriculum or program development, teacher evaluation, peer mentoring, committee work or staff development. As teachers move to higher levels, the focus of responsibility shifts from classroom performance to greater leadership responsibilities at the building and district levels.
The Career Ladder compensation is based upon an alternate salary schedule in which a teacher's contract amount reflects their ability to demonstrate professional excellence and compensates for added responsibilities. Each of the program levels has their own salary schedule.
An important aspect of the Career Ladder Plan is to encourage teachers to continue their professional development. Ongoing staff development workshops are available to all staff in areas such as instructional strategies, methods of assessment, content area focus, district procedures and policies, classroom management, student self esteem, technology usage, and special needs areas.
The Career Ladder Advisory Committee and Career Ladder Coordinator work to facilitate the ongoing implementation, evaluation, and revision of the program. General administrative supervision is under the auspices of the Superintendent.
Program Review and Evaluation
The Career Ladder Advisory Committee has the responsibility of reviewing the Program. Data is collected through surveys and structured interviews of participants. The information and data gathered is used as the basis for making program modifications and improvements. Informal input can also be provided through building representatives to the Advisory Committee.
Current, up-to-date information is critical to the success of the Safford Career Ladder Program. Communication is also promoted through Career Ladder Orientation meetings, electronic and written communiques, and surveys. Additionally, representatives from each school serve on the Advisory Committee, and a participant at each school site serves as a Site Liaison.
Further information may be obtained by calling (928) 348-7000 ext.3288.