Great teaching matters mightily.

Promise Schools' Teacher Career Pathway is a systematic, coordinated approach to recognizing and developing great teachers as they progress through five career stages

At Promise Schools, you can grow through two career tracks that have compensation congruent to your contribution as a professional.




School Leader Career Pathway

Teacher Leader

Career Pathway


(Operations, Instruction, Culture)

Master Teacher

(In development)

Four-Star Teacher

Distinguished Teacher

(In development)

Assistant Principal




Teaching Fellow

Excellent teaching is celebrated:

Teacher Career Pathway

The Promise Schools Teacher Career Pathway offers more compensation and expanded professional opportunities - without the need to leave the classroom.

Stage 2 - Teacher: Solid contributor, rapidly developing, delivers solid student achievement.

The starting stage for a new teacher

Stage 3 - Four-Star Teacher: Strong, stable contributor; delivers strong student achievement and may have expanded leadership opportunities in the school without leaving the classroom.

Stage 4 - Distinguished Teacher (In-development): Strong stable contributor; delivers very strong student achievement; Has developed expertise in a valuable skill for the school.

Stage 5 - Master Teacher (In-development): Exceptional contributor; consistently exemplary student achievement; 

The highest performing teachers.

Stage 1 - Teaching Fellow: An aspiring teacher who is developing the skills to become a transformative teacher, a Teaching Fellow is not responsible for his or her class.

The Promise Schools' Teacher Career Pathway allows for excellent teachers to reach higher levels of pay more quickly compared to legacy step systems because it considers both experience and proficiency.


Stage 2: Teacher

Stage 3: Four-Star Teacher

Stage 4: Distinguished Teacher

Stage 5: Master Teacher

Possible Promise Schools Teacher Career Pathway Progression

(Base Compensation)

Years teaching

The Promise Schools' Teacher Career Pathway allows for expanded leadership opportunities...

without moving from the classroom.

The primary job responsibility of Four-Star Teachers is to accelerate their leadership as instructors in a classroom where they have been making a gap-closing, life-changing difference for our scholars. Some Four-Star Teachers will have also demonstrated the interest and ability to expand their leadership in other ways. If a Four-Star teacher is not leading from their classroom for 100% of their professional time, there are many other ways in which a Four-Star Teacher can lead. Examples of responsibilities for a Four-Star Teacher include, but are not limited to:


  • Instructional coaching

  • Content area specialist

  • Parent/community engagement

  • Scholar recruitment

  • Non-cognitive skill building

  • Health and wellness program coordination

Four-star Teacher:

Professional Time Example

Instructional coaching (25%)

Teaching (75%)

Excellent teaching is defined:

Teacher Excellence Framework

Scholar Achievement

Scholar academic growth is the core outcome for all Promise Schools teachers. Every teacher in the network is evaluated on the extent to which he or she increases scholar achievement.

Scholar Character Development

We recognize that while an academically successful student can enter college, it is only those students who have strong character that will graduate from college and be successful post-college. Parents and students assess the extent to which our teachers build strong relationships and cultivate character in their students.

Quality Instruction

To ensure excellent student outcomes, a Promise Schools teacher must be an excellent instructor. School and network leaders evaluate the instruction of teachers through frequent lesson observations throughout the school year.

Living the core values

At Promise Schools, teaching is a team sport. We expect teachers to partner with their colleagues and to embody Promise Schools' values. Teachers will be evaluated to determine their commitment to our core values and their contributions to our team and family

A teacher at Promise Schools excels in each of the TEF pillars:

Excellent teaching is developed:

Personalized Support

Every Promise Schools teacher receives personalized support in three ways:
Bi-weekly coaching cycle

Every Promise Schools teacher is mentored by an instructional coach who directly supports teachers to grow their practice.

School-based professional development

Based on feedback from instructional coaches, school-based PD is most-often not a one-size-fits-all approach but differentiated for different needs of teachers.

Network data days

Four times a year, we come together as a network to dig into macro data about our scholars and engage in personalized professional development based on the data.