• Glossary of Terms

    AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) Award: An award of $1,000 for all teachers at the top step of salary schedules in each year the District achieves the AYP Standard.

    Career Ladders: career opportunities with greater earning and promotional opportunities for highly effective teachers.

    Certified Teacher: a teacher who has earned credentials from an authoritative source, such as the government, a higher education institution or a private source. These certifications allow teachers to teach in schools which require authorization in general, as well as allowing educators to teach in particular content areas and across the curriculum.

    Clinical Resident Instructors (CRI): career ladder teachers who in our original Empowering Effective Teachers plan were charged with mentoring new teachers at The Teacher Academy and who now serve in a significantly modified role at The Teaching Institute. CRIs play a pivotal role in the Instructional Quality Assurance and Certification Process, serving as master scorers for the videos that form the basis for Level 1 Certification. The annual differential for the CRI role is $13,300. (Note: the CRI role launched in the 2011-12 school year.)

    Collective Bargaining Agreement: a written agreement between an employer and a trade or labor union setting forth the terms and conditions of employment or containing provisions in regard to rates of pay, hours of work or other working conditions of employees.

    Corrective Action: an improvement status under the No Child Left Behind federal legislation that is given to a public school district and/or public school if it fails to make Adequate Yearly Progress for four years in a row and are required to provide both "School Choice" and "Supplemental Services" as well as choose one of the following: replace responsible staff, Implement a new curriculum, decrease a school’s management authority; appoint an external expert to advise school, or restructure the internal organization of the school.

    Electronic Referral Process: an on-line student discipline referral process that simplified communication between administrators and teachers.

    Employee Improvement Plan: a plan that is implemented, at the discretion of the school principal, when it becomes necessary to help a teacher improve his or her performance. The principal, with input from the affected teacher, develops an improvement plan. The purpose of the activities outlined is to help the teacher to attain the desired level of performance. The Employee Improvement Plan process is kept separate from the RISE process.

    Excellence for All: the reform agenda released in May 2006 by former Superintendent Mark Roosevelt that outlined priority areas of focus for improving the academic performance of all students in Pittsburgh Public Schools.

    Experienced Teachers: a teacher who has been in practice for at least three years (if hired before July 1, 2010) or four years (if hired on or after July 1, 2010) and has been awarded tenure.

    Instructional Teacher Leaders 2 (ITL2s): career ladder teachers who serve as content experts, ensure instructional quality and support teacher effectiveness at secondary schools (grades 6-12 and 9-12) and K-8 schools. In addition to teaching 3-4 periods per day, ITL2s are responsible for formatively evaluating their content peers in their school, designing and delivering customized/differentiated professional development based on those formative evaluations, and serving as a RISE rater of teachers in their content area at other schools. The annual differential for the ITL2 role is $11,300.

    Instructional Quality Assurance and Certification Process: a two-year process that will be administered at The Teaching Institute, located in two District schools, and will focus on ensuring (1) inter-rater reliability and validity in the RISE evaluation process (Level 1 Certification) and (2) the quality of instructional feedback and support (Level II Certification). Every RISE evaluator will participate in this process, including school leaders and Instructional Teacher Leader 2s.

    Inter-rater Reliability: the degree of agreement/ consensus among raters/judges that is useful in refining the measure given to the raters. If various raters do not agree, either the measure is defective or the raters need to be re-trained.

    K-8 Turnaround Teachers: career ladder teachers who will be selected based on their demonstrated abilities (e.g., content knowledge, instructional delivery, classroom management, student engagement, and the ability to effectively teach African American students) who will agree to be placed in low-performing K-5, K-8 or middle schools for “turn-around” assignments of up to three years. Turnaround Teachers will serve in teams of four, with each team assuming three teaching vacancies at a school. The annual differential for the Turnaround Teacher role is $12,200. (Note: the K-8 Turnaround Teacher position is scheduled to be launched in the 2013-14 school year.)

    Learning Environment Specialist (LES): career ladder teachers who were selected based on their demonstrated abilities in classroom management and who have received specialized training in student behavior management. Learning Environment Specialists serve in high need schools and assist their school’s Student Services staff in (1) providing professional development sessions on current best practices in classroom organization, behavior management, and other related strategies; (2) modeling best practices for teachers; and (3) working closely with the centrally-based Teaching and Learning Environment leadership team to design and implement school-based strategies for improving their school’s learning environment. The annual differential for the LES role is $9,300. (Note: the LES role launched in the 2011-2012 school year.)

    Measure of Effective Teaching/Teacher Effectiveness Measure: the Summative Rating of a teacher’s performance that is comprised of a measure of teacher practice (RISE), academic growth (value-added measures), and other student outcome measures (e.g., learning environment survey).

    New Salary Schedule: the salary schedule that applies to teachers hired after July 1, 2010. The schedule provides the opportunity for accelerated earnings by recognizing and rewarding differences in teacher practice based on multiple measures of teacher effectiveness accumulated across years and grounded in student growth. The new schedule enables effective teachers to assume roles and responsibilities that reward them for working with students who need them most and improving the practice of other teachers. The salary structure recognizes tenure as an important milestone in a teacher’s career and features cycles and clear decision points for progression in a teacher’s career. The salary schedule spans four (4) professional growth levels which correlate with higher earnings opportunities as teachers demonstrate higher levels of performance on components of effective teaching practice and who attain desired student growth.

    New Teacher: a teacher who has been in practice for less than three years (if hired before July 1, 2010) or four years (if hired on or after July 1, 2010) and has not yet been awarded tenure.

    New Teacher Center: a national non-profit dedicated to improving student learning by accelerating the effectiveness of new teachers. NTC works with schools districts, state policymakers, and educators across the country to develop and implement induction programs aligned with district learning goals. NTC induction programs include one-on-one mentoring and professional development, all taking place within school environments that support new teachers.

    Non-certified teacher: a teacher who has not earned credentials from an authoritative source, such as the government, a higher education institution or a private source. The individual could be new to the teaching profession and in the process of obtaining certification or on staff at a school or in a school system that does not require teacher certification.

    Novice Teacher: see “New Teacher”.

    Performance Pay: a system of employee payment that links compensation to measures of effectiveness in the employee’s respective position.

    Pinnacle Student Information System (SIS): developed and marketed by GlobalScholar, Pinnacle SIS is a comprehensive student information tracking system that captures a wide spectrum of administrative and instructional student data (e.g., enrollment, attendance, health, transportation and discipline)

    Positive Teaching and Learning Environment: a key initiative of the plan, this strategy will help to ensure positive teaching and learning environments are in every school that establish and reinforce positive student behaviors and a culture of Promise-Readiness.

    Power Components: twelve (12) components of the RISE Rubric that receive additional focus, due to their concentration on student learning. Teachers earn a rating of Unsatisfactory, Basic, Proficient, or Advanced on each of these twelve components, which currently serve as teachers’ Summative (end-of-year) Rating until the 2013-14 school yar.

    Promise-Readiness Corps Cohort Award: the award is based on value-added modeling of a team"s contribution to student progress over the two (2) year looping cycle, rewarding better-than-expected results in student academic achievement, attendance and course credits earned. The school’s counselor/social worker who participates on the PRC team is not eligible for the pay differential but is eligible to receive the cohort bonus.

    Professional Growth: the District’s system of measuring teacher and administrator performance, including RISE, PULSE, value-added measures, and other measures of effective teaching and administration.

    Promise-Readiness Corps (PRC): the largest of our career ladder teacher roles, which is charged with focusing on our most critical area of need: ensuring that each 9th and 10th grade student is shepherded to 11th grade Promise-Ready®. Each PRC consists of one counselor/social worker and 6-8 teachers (1-2 Language Arts teachers, 1-2 Mathematics teachers, a Science teacher, a Social Studies teacher, a Special Education teacher) with strong records of effectiveness who will be linked with a cohort of approximately 100-120 9th grade students with whom they remain for two school years, until the cohort is promoted to the 11th grade. In addition to earning a pay differential for their work, PRC members are eligible to share a cohort bonus. (Note: see Promise-Readiness Corps Cohort Award for more details.)

    Promise-Ready®: being eligible for The Pittsburgh Promise®, a scholarship program to help students and families of PPS pay for education beyond high school by offering any graduate who meets its academic and attendance requirements as much as $5,000-$10,000 annually in “last-dollar” scholarships for up to four years, applicable at over 100 of Pennsylvania’s postsecondary institutions.

    PULSE (Pittsburgh Urban Leadership System of Excellence): the District"s comprehensive accountability system to recruit, train, support, evaluate, improve, and compensate principals in order to enable their success toward the academic achievement and growth of students. While PULSE is fundamentally about developing and constantly improving principal leadership, the system also encompasses principal evaluation and compensation that rewards principals based on school-wide student achievement growth.

    RISE (Research-Based Inclusive System of Evaluation): the District’s system-wide method of teacher evaluation and professional growth that assesses four levels of performance across 24 components of practice and classroom-based observations conducted at least twice per year.

    RISE Software/Tool: an online software portal through which teachers are able to document self-assessment of practice, self-assessment of a lesson for formal evaluation, and have the opportunity to submit non-observation based evidence.

    STAR (Students and Teachers Achieving Results) Schools Plan: a plan that rewards schools that create a culture of collective problem solving in order to achieve significant growth in student achievement. The annual growth in student achievement of PPS schools is compared, by level, to the growth of schools in Pennsylvania. PPS schools that fall within the top 15% of the rank-ordered PA schools for growth, by level, receive a school team bonus that is distributed to PFT-represented staff (Counselors/Social Worker; School Nurses & Dental Hygienists; Psychologists; Sign Language Interpreter/COTAs/PT Assistants; Preschool Teachers; Preschool Early Intervention Teachers; Family Service Specialists/Special Service Coordinators/Parent Involvement Coordinators/Health Coordinators/Nutrition Specialists; and Paraprofessionals/Technical Clerical Staff). In the case of secondary schools, significant student growth is determined by multiple measures and may be based on relative growth. It is the intention of the STAR Schools plan to reward at least eight (8) schools a year. Accordingly, if there are fewer than eight (8) schools in the top 15% of State-wide growth, then PPS school(s) up to that number are identified in order of student growth, as long as such schools are within the top 25% of growth in the State, by level. Schools identified in this manner receive a pro-rated award to distribute. Award amounts for schools in the top 15% of State-wide growth are as follows: PFT-represented fulltime professionals receive $6000; PFT-represented paraprofessionals and technical clerical receive $2000; and PFT-represented professionals who are assigned to the building for at least one full day receive a pro-rated amount. (Note: STAR Schools will be selected for the first time after review of 2011-12 student achievement data.)

    Student Learning/Academic Growth: student academic progress over time.

    Supported Growth: a rigorous, year-long period of study in which one-third of the District’s experienced teachers participate each school year. Study is targeted specifically toward improving their practice in one or more components of the RISE framework. Teachers meet with their principal regularly throughout the school year for support and feedback.

    Teaching and Learning Conditions Survey: an on-line survey developed by the New Teacher Center that has a proven track record of successful administration in 12 states. The survey design is based on a validated set of questions, through which respondents share perceptions related to student achievement and teacher retention by answering questions focused on the presence of critical teaching conditions across key constructs including: Time, Facilities and Resources, Community Support and Involvement, Managing Student Conduct, Teacher Leadership, School Leadership, Professional Development, and Instructional Practices and Support.

    Teaming Standards: standards that detail the options for structuring the time each Promise-Readiness Corps team formally spends together as a professional learning community.

    The Teaching Institute: located at Pittsburgh Brashear High School and Pittsburgh King PreK-8, The Teaching Institute is a professional development model and is staffed by highly effective teachers, while focusing on establishing inter‐rater reliability and validity in teacher evaluation and certifying principals and teacher leaders in evaluation of teaching practice.

    Tenure: a career status that provides job security for PPS teachers who have successfully completed a probationary period of three years (if hired before July 1, 2010) or four years (if hired on or after July 1, 2010).

    Validation Engine Project: a component of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s two-year Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) project to rigorously develop and test multiple measures of teacher effectiveness. Developed by Empirical Education Inc, an education research company, the validation engine is a web-delivered software tool that allows users to view classroom observation videos, rate those videos and then receive a report that evaluates the predictive validity and rater consistency for the protocol.

    Value-Added Measure: a rigorous statistical method of measurement that examines the trajectory of achievement of a student or group of students (school-wide or classroom-wide) from a baseline, while accounting for other factors (e.g., prior performance, socioeconomic status and special education designations) that may affect student achievement but are outside the control of schools or teachers.

    VIEW (Voluntary Incentive Earnings at Work): a voluntary individual performance-pay plan that was scheduled to be piloted in 2011-12 and has been put on hold indefinitely. Teachers who chose to participate in VIEW would have been required to relinquish negotiated increments at the top of the salary schedule and would have had the opportunity to earn an award up to $8,000 annually and have 40% of the award accrue to base salary annually. For tenured teachers on internal steps of the salary schedule, step advancement would have continued and no portion of the earned award would have accrued to base salary.

    Workforce Certification: an academic or industry credential that is granted after completion of a Career and Technical Education or vocational program of study that provides specialized training in a specific career or workforce area. Industry-based competency is generally determined through a certification or licensure exam that is taken upon completion of the program.