International and national studies—not to mention our own students—tell us consistently about the importance of teachers and other adults for student success. High-performing education systems around the world emphasize the professionalism of highly qualified teachers and have systems in place to encourage professional learning that focuses on the curriculum teachers teach; they work to develop leaders at all levels and ensure that collaboration, coaching, and mentoring are an essential part of the work day.

In schools, this prioritizing of leadership and continuous professional growth contributes to a culture where staff and students alike know that learning is valued and celebrated.

City Schools took initial steps toward this vision beginning in 2010, with innovative teacher and administrator contracts that provide career pathways and encourage and reward professional growth. These features continue to be essential components of our contracts with our union partners, and we will use them to prioritize professional learning that improves instructional practice, to promote deeper content expertise, and to support training and mentoring for beginning teachers and school leaders. For example, beginning in 2017-18, the school leaders who have been recognized by the district as transformational principals will increase and formalize their role as mentors for principals across the district.