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Career Pathways for Teachers

Under the contract with the Baltimore Teachers Union, City Schools teachers can take control of their careers and grow within a system of career pathways and salary intervals. Movement from one pathway to the next is determined by peer reviews that weigh instruction, leadership, continual learning, and student growth.

For more information, browse this webpage or email the Joint Governing Panel.

The pathways


Focus: Developing instructional practice with professional development


Focus: Classroom success, additional school-based roles


Focus: Modeling excellence, leadership, creating PD


Focus: Leading work to improve student and school performance

Moving from standard to professional

Candidates can either

  • Earn achievement units (AUs) to move up through the intervals in the standard pathway and, on reaching interval 5, earn 12 additional AUs to move to interval 1 on the professional pathway or
  • Participate in an accelerated process (described below)

Accelerated movement from standard to professional

Can anyone follow the accelerated process to move to the professional pathway?

To participate in the accelerated process, candidates must

  • Be on the standard pathway
  • Have received at least an "effective" rating on performance evaluations in both the year prior to submitting an application and in the year of application submission* 
  • Hold a Standard Professional Certificate or Advanced Professional Certificate (conditional, provisional, or resident certificates are not acceptable) or have submitted all the necessary paperwork to earn one
  • Have no substantiated labor dispute findings through investigations
  • Have no suspensions during the year prior to submission
  • Complete requirements as described in the application packet and submit documentation of completion

* Candidates who taught in a district other than City Schools the year prior to submitting their application must include their end-of-year evaluation from their previous district. The prior-year evaluation requirement is waived for brand-new teachers.

What documentation must be submitted?

  • Copy of active teaching certificate or license showing Standard Professional Certification or Advanced Professional Certification
  • Receipt of completion of New Teacher Institute* (or a letter from your principal, if you attended a school-based new teacher institute) or proof of completion of the Teach Planning professional learning community 
  • Receipt of completion of Instructional Framework and Rubric: Applying TEACH Key Actions to Your Practice, the 2-AU Comprehensive Literacy course, and any AU-bearing course taken through the district (or proof of enrollment if courses will be completed within two weeks of the deadline)
  • Completed capstone project, as described in the application packet

* Related service providers and school counselors attend their own new employee orientations, not New Teacher Institute. These professionals should submit a letter from their supervisor confirming attendance at the relevant orientation.

What is the application process?

Please download, review, and complete the application packet

When do successful candidates receive their pay increases?

For successful candidates, placement on the professional pathway is effective July 1 following completion of the accelerated process. Pathway changes in the system will not appear for several weeks after that. Because of the compensation systems, the pay increase will begin several weeks into the next school year but will be retroactive to the start of the school year.

What if I've applied for certification but have not yet received my certificate?

Please include a note with your application that states that your certification documentation has been submitted. If applicable, note the alternative certification program you are part of. We will follow up with your program for confirmation. Please keep in mind that everything else must be submitted by the deadline.

What do I do if completion of the required courses is not showing up in my learning history on Employee Self-Service?

If you have completed a course but the AUs have not been posted or you are attending a course that will be completed within two weeks of the deadline, please submit everything else by the deadline and include a note about the missing course. Then, please email confirmation of completion to the Joint Governing Panel as soon as it is received.

Do my AUs move with me from the standard to the professional pathway?

No. Everyone who moves to the professional pathway through this accelerated process begins at interval 1 with no AUs.

Moving from professional to model

Candidates go through a rigorous peer review process to demonstrate their excellence. Find more information in this overview, or scroll down to get answers to frequently asked questions and download information and support resources.

Can anyone move to the model pathway?

To be eligible, candidates must

  • Be on the professional pathway
  • Have received an effective or highly effective rating on the performance evaluation in the year prior to submitting an application
  • Have up-to-date certification
  • Have no substantiated labor dispute findings through investigations
  • Not be subject to a performance improvement plan

How do I apply?

The first step is to express interest by registering. There is one cohort of applications each school year. Registration opens in the fall through a link on the district and Baltimore Teachers Union websites. Please note that registration does not obligate you to complete the process, but it is necessary if you are considering doing so.

For candidates who choose to move forward after registering, submissions are due in the spring.

What is involved in the submission process?

Candidates create a "model profile" of artifacts that correlate to the candidate’s mastery in four domains: 

  • Learner achievement
  • Instruction/support services or services for related service providers
  • Developing as a professional
  • Leadership

Candidates also provide a video of a lesson or session. All artifacts and videos must be aligned with the model rubric indicators (for teachers or for related service providers), as well as the guidance that candidates receive. 

The profile is created through a course on Blackboard, exported to a flash drive, and submitted to the Joint Governing Panel at the district office.

What types of artifacts should be submitted?

Artifacts should show the positive impact the candidate has had in the four domains noted above. They can be in a variety of formats (e.g.,  including PDF or Powerpoint documents, video, etc.). Review the artifact guidance for more information.

Guidelines for preparing the required video of a lesson or session are also provided.


How are the profiles scored?

Profiles are scored by the Professional Peer Review Committee, whose members are professionals currently on the model pathway. Individual profiles are scored by committee members whose certification, licensure, or experience match the candidate's. Note that your principal is not involved in scoring your profile.

Profiles are scored in a thorough and thoughtful manner that respects and does justice to the candidate’s work. Consistent and fair scoring is the first priority, and committee members follow this scoring guide. The duration of the scoring process varies, depending on factors such as the number of profiles submitted, the number of committee members available to score, and profile length. Once the process is complete, candidates are notified of the outcome by email.

How and when is movement to the model pathway reflected?

Successful candidates are placed on the model pathway effective July 1 after they have completed the process. Only AUs earned after July will be applied to that model educator's career profile.

Model pay takes effect in the school year after the candidate has successfully completed the process. Once a model educator reaches interval 5 (the final interval) on the pathway, a 1% salary increase is applied every time 24 AUs are earned.

Is model status permanent?

The contract with the Baltimore Teachers Union (Article V, section 5.2D) outlines a process whereby the district can reaffirm that those on the model pathway continue to demonstrate excellence and serve as exemplary educators across our district. The process involves a review of a model educator’s annual evaluations after she or he has been on the pathway for five years.

Moving from model to lead

Leads may carry up to a 25% teaching or service load and dedicate the remainder of their time to leadership and collaboration with the school administrators in one or more investment areas:

  • Researching and implementing instructional strategies aligned with the district's instructional framework and Maryland's College and Career-Ready Standards
  • Developing and providing targeted instructional coaching to teachers
  • Developing grade- and school-level systems for identifying students in need of support and creating, implementing, and adapting interventions 
  • Defining and managing partnerships with parents, community members, and organizations
  • Researching, developing, and managing blended learning to individualize combinations of face-to-face and online instruction

Leads are selected through a competitive process that includes an application and professional recommendations.

What is the application process?

Professionals on the model pathway must first apply online to indicate their interest in being considered for promotion to the lead pathway. The registration window is typically in December-January each year. In addition to the online application, candidates must submit a resume and two letters of recommendation. The professionals asked to submit recommendation letters mush be given and follow these guidelines

Online applications are screened to evaluate the degree to which they demonstrate key traits. Selected candidates are then invited to participate in an assessment center focused on the investment areas for which the applicant stated a preference.

What are the key traits demonstrated by successful candidates?

  • Ability to learn and grow as part of a school's leadership
  • Ability to lead a large project
  • Understanding of the role of parents, teachers, and school leadership in a school's success
  • Ability to analyze a challenge and identify solutions
  • Ability to work with teams and motivate colleagues
  • Ability to analyze and organize data
  • Potential to have an impact in the investment area


Can anyone be asked to submit a recommendation letter?

Recommendations should come from individuals with direct knowledge of the applicant's experiences, especially as related to the investment areas. This might include past or present supervisors or colleagues with whom the applicant has worked in the investment areas. All recommendations are weighted equally, regardless of the position held by the person completing the recommendation.

How do successful candidates move to a lead position?

Upon successful completion of the assessment center, the candidate is placed into the eligibility pool. Final movement to a lead position happens when an eligible candidate is matched with a school seeking a lead professional. Once that match happens, the candidate's job title changes to "lead teacher," and she or he moves to the lead pathway on the interval that reflects the next highest salary from the salary of the previous position, inclusive of any differential.

Any model professional coming from a 12-month position will be placed according to their new 10-month role.