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CCS Joins Opportunity Culture Program

Fayetteville, N.C. – Cumberland County Schools (CCS) has become the eleventh district in North Carolina to join the national Opportunity Culture initiative, which extends the reach of excellent teachers and their teams to more students, for more pay, within schools’ recurring budgets.
The district will use Opportunity Culture roles to provide new opportunities for leadership and support for teachers, to help with recruitment and retention, and to reach every student with excellent teaching. The roles provide intensive support to all Opportunity Culture educators and create paid career paths that let great teachers advance without leaving the classroom. They have produced outstanding student growth in other Opportunity Culture schools.

“Every day throughout Cumberland County Schools, there are teachers who are making a positive impact and changing students’ lives,” said Superintendent Marvin Connelly, Jr. “Through Opportunity Culture, these impactful teachers will be able to reach even more students while increasing their salary and building our community. It is a win-win for all.”

The national Opportunity Culture initiative, founded and led by North Carolina-based Public Impact, is now in more than 45 sites in 10 states.
Cumberland County Schools will work with Public Impact to design their Opportunity Culture plans and begin implementation in fall 2021, with plans to implement in 13 schools the first year.
Multi-Classroom Leadership is the foundation of an Opportunity Culture. Each school’s design and implementation team, which includes teachers, uses Multi-Classroom Leadership and other roles to reach more students with high-standards, personalized instruction—one hallmark of great teachers. Multi-classroom leaders (MCLs) lead a small teaching team, providing instructional guidance and frequent, on-the-job development, while continuing to teach part of the time. The schools redesign schedules to provide additional school-day time for co-planning, coaching and collaboration. MCLs typically lead the introduction of more effective curricula, instructional methods, classroom management and schoolwide culture-building.
Accountable for the results of all students in the team, multi-classroom leaders earn supplements averaging 20 percent (and up to 50 percent) of teacher pay, within the regular school budget. The design teams reallocate school budgets to fund pay supplements permanently, in contrast to temporarily grant-funded programs.
CCS has 89 schools and over 3,000 certified teachers serving nearly 50,000 students, of whom about 45 percent are Black, 28 percent are white, and 14 percent are Hispanic, with about 78 percent eligible for free or reduced-price lunch.
In the 2017–18 school year, Opportunity Culture schools in North Carolina—the largest implementation state so far—outpaced the state results in student growth. While only 27 percent of non-Opportunity Culture schools in North Carolina exceeded student learning growth targets, nearly double that— 53 percent—of Opportunity Culture schools exceeded growth.
In 2018, researchers at the Brookings Institution and American Institutes for Research released a study showing the effect Opportunity Culture can have: Teachers who were on average at the 50th percentile in student learning gains, and who then joined teams led by multi-classroom leaders, produced learning gains equivalent to those of teachers from the 75th to 85th percentile in math, and, in six of the seven statistical models, from 66th to 72nd percentile in reading.
In 2013-14, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools became the first district in the nation to implement Opportunity Culture. In subsequent years, districts across the country began to implement Opportunity Culture, including the North Carolina districts of Cabarrus County Schools, Vance County Schools, Edgecombe County Schools, Guilford County Schools, Halifax County Schools, Hertford County Public Schools, and Lexington City Schools. The North Carolina districts of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools and Wilson County Schools will also implement Opportunity Culture in fall 2021.
About Public Impact
Public Impact’s mission is to improve education dramatically for all students, especially low-income students, students of color, and other students whose needs historically have not been well met. We are a team of professionals from many backgrounds, including former teachers and principals. We are researchers, thought leaders, tool-builders, and on-the-ground consultants who work with leading education reformers. 
Learn more about an Opportunity Culture on the website, which provides free Opportunity Culture tools, educator videos and columns, and instructional leadership and excellence resources. Funding for development of resources to help schools design and implement Opportunity Culture models and support teachers taking on new roles has been provided by national foundations. Hear directly from educators who have worked in Opportunity Culture schools in columns published on national and state news sites.