By reputation, teaching offers few advancement opportunities. Schools don’t normally have many management positions, and only a few teachers transform into school administrators. At University Prep, however, we believe in the value of broadly distributing teacher leadership, both to enhance the educational experience and provide avenues for professional growth. We provide many opportunities for teachers to assume leadership roles.
Department heads are the school’s instructional leaders. They supervise and mentor teachers, collaborate in hiring and staffing processes, and develop the instructional culture of the school. Department heads receive a reduced course load and a stipend to support their work.
Class deans oversee student progress and needs within each grade level. They collaborate with the Student Services Team to identify and support students with socio-emotional or academic needs. Class deans receive a reduced course load to support their work.
Ad-hoc committees explore emergent school issues and recommend next steps. Recent ad-hoc committees have studied teacher feedback, extra help, mindfulness, narrative reports, computer science, and laptop programs. Teachers often initiate and lead ad-hoc committees.
Strategic planning includes teachers in board-led committee work on the long-term future of the school, particularly the direction of the educational program.
Curriculum proposals are initiated by teachers and then discussed in departments before moving to administrative bodies for approval.
School programs such as outdoor trips, Global Link, community service, ski bus, and middle school assemblies and socials depend on teacher leadership and participation. Some teachers receive a reduced course load in order to lead these programs.
Student clubs each have a faculty advisor. The advisor experience is very rich in the more active clubs such as National Honor Society, Students of Service, Mock Trial, Debate Club, Science Olympiad, and Multicultural Student Alliance.
Change of Pace Days depart from the regular class schedule to focus on contemporary issues such as social justice and community service. Teachers propose topics, facilitate workshops, and tap their professional networks to enrich the student experience.
Conferences: Teachers share their work at national and regional conferences, including the NAIS Annual Conference, People of Color Conference, NWAIS Educators Conference, National Arts Education Association national conference, Washington State Council for Social Studies annual conference. Teachers are well-supported to attend conferences and visit schools, expanding their exposure to new ideas and developing their professional networks.
Accreditation teams: We support teachers in serving on NWAIS accreditation visiting teams, an incredibly rich experience for understanding school program design and our peer northwest schools.
Career advancement: A number of our department heads who assume significant leadership responsibilities subsequently take jobs in school administration, both at University Prep and elsewhere.