Twelve Memphis Charter Schools Will Be Implementing Opportunity Culture This Fall

In an effort to extend the reach of excellent teachers and their teams to more students, an initiative known as Opportunity Culture will launch in select local schools this fall. Developed by the organization Public Impact, the Opportunity Culture model helps schools and districts design an innovative structure to extend the reach of excellent teachers to more students by asking them to lead small teaching teams that work with larger numbers of students.

What makes the Opportunity Culture model so effective in schools is a two-fold approach. First, the structure extends the reach of top performing teachers across teams of teachers and students. Second, it creates an environment within schools where teachers can be promoted into senior roles without having to leave the classroom. Creating this structure leads to an increase in leadership opportunities—and offers more increased pay potential within schools’ budgets.

With the support of the Memphis Education Fund, Opportunity Culture will be implemented in Memphis at Compass Community Schools, Memphis Scholars, Leadership Preparatory Charter School, Frayser Community Schools, and STAR Academy. These partners include 12 schools and expand the Opportunity Culture reach by over 3,300 students!

“Memphis students deserve to have great teachers, and we believe great teachers deserve our fullest support. The Opportunity Culture initiative inside these 12 public schools will enable great teachers to expand their impact, support more students, and, importantly, get paid more for their critical work, all for the benefit of students.”



Oftentimes teachers are challenged with the question of how to advance within their career. They face a difficult decision: move into administration and leave the classroom, or make a pivot and leave the education sector in pursuit of new opportunities and higher pay. This is where the Opportunity Culture structure works to retain great educators. By creating various opportunity culture roles leadership and advancement opportunities are increased, and the school is strengthened.

Multi-Classroom Leaders (MCLs) are teacher-leaders with a track record of high-growth student learning and leadership qualities. Their responsibilities include leading small teaching teams, serving as coaches that offer instructional guidance and frequent, on-the-job development opportunities to teams of teachers, while continuing to teach students in some way part of the time. School teams redesign schedules to provide additional school-day time for MCLs’ teams to plan and collaborate and MCLs are accountable for the results of all students within teams. The added leadership opportunities also come with great rewards, including increased pay!

Accountable for the results of all students in the team, MCLs earn substantially higher supplements (averaging more than 20 percent of teacher pay in other Opportunity Culture sites nationwide), within the regular school budget. The school design teams reallocate school budgets to fund pay supplements for MCLs and other roles permanently, in contrast to temporary grant-funded programs.

Team Reach Teachers, or TRTs, are teachers on an MCL’s team who also must have a record of high-growth student learning. Unlike MCLs, TRTs do not lead teams. Instead, TRTs directly teach more students than usual through a combination of creative scheduling and paraprofessional support. In Memphis, TRTs can earn supplements up to $6,000.

Master Team Reach Teachers, or MTRTs, are like TRTs in that they teach a larger student load. However, MTRTs also take on additional responsibilities, such as coaching one teacher, that warrant even higher pay. In Memphis, the average MTRT can earn supplements up to $8,000.

A Reach Associate, or RA, is a highly skilled paraprofessional who supports an MCL team or works alongside a TRT, providing release time for MCLs and TRTs and valuable support to students. In Memphis, Reach Associates can earn supplements of $3,000 or more.

A Teacher Resident, or TR, is a student at a local college of education who supports an MCL team or works alongside a TRT. The resident enjoys regular coaching and support from an excellent teacher, creating a powerful talent pipeline for schools.


Teach901 serves as a one stop shop for educators in Memphis and will be listing new Opportunity Culture opportunities in January 2020! Apply by visiting and searching the select Opportunity Culture feature!

Memphis has long been a site for education reform, and it’s no surprise that schools in Memphis are investing in Opportunity Culture to achieve the dream of all students benefiting from the best possible educational experiences delivered by excellent teachers and teacher teams. We’re excited to see this new model at work, and to see empowered teachers affecting more lives and growing professionally.


Learn more about an Opportunity Culture on the official website, which provides free Opportunity Culture tools, educator videos, and instructional leadership resources. You can also hear directly from educators who have worked in Opportunity Culture schools.