Determining the Future of ProComp
Nearly 10 years after Denver voters approved funding to launch the Professional Compensation System for Teachers, the partners who helped create the groundbreaking pay plan are considering its future. Denver Public Schools, the Denver Classroom Teachers Association and Rose Community Foundation are beginning a series of conversations with our educators and our community about what ProComp should look like moving forward.
On Nov. 20, DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg, DCTA President Henry Roman and Rose Executive Janet Lopez described these next steps in a letter to educators:
Today, we are sharing with you the report of the Design Team for Compensation and Career Pathways. This working group comprised of teachers and principals was selected by Denver Public Schools (DPS) and the Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA) to consider potential changes to the incentive compensation system known as the Professional Compensation System for Teachers, or ProComp.
The group met nine times over four months to review both Denver’s current system as well as compensation systems in other public service and non-profit sectors. The principles and ideas contained in the report that we are sharing with you are the starting point for a broader conversation about how ProComp should function going forward.
The eight principles agreed upon by the Design Team are as follows:
- Opportunities for leadership and increased compensation, including base-building opportunities and bonuses, should be available to teachers throughout their career.
- The compensation system should be easy for teachers to understand. It should also be easy for administrators to understand and support.
- The compensation system should attract and retain, with real incentives, effective and distinguished teachers in hard-to-serve schools.
- The compensation system should allow effective/distinguished teachers to increase earnings substantially without leaving the classroom.
- The compensation system should attract, retain and reward effective and distinguished teachers.
- The compensation system should value professional learning.
- The compensation system should provide a formal and explicit structure for career progression and opportunities.
- The design of the system should be sensitive to whether the requirements placed on teachers and school and district leaders are reasonable. The district must have systems/ practices in place to support the compensation system and to support teachers in pursuing available opportunities.
The design team also created a compensation and career progression framework to serve as a starting place for further conversation about how these design principles might be applied to potential changes to ProComp. This image, from page 12 of the report, is a visual representation of the framework:
This framework has four key components:
- Career levels: A teacher would have the opportunity to progress through four career levels -- Novice, Established, Professional and Master/Expert -- by meeting criteria that recognize increasing accomplishment. Teachers would earn significant base salary increases when moving from one level to the next.
- Salary growth within each career level: In addition to building base salary when going from one career level to the next, teachers could also experience additional base salary growth within each level.
- Bonus opportunities. In addition to base salary, teachers would have the opportunity to take advantage of a variety of bonuses by working in a hard-to-serve school, hard-to-staff position, and/or teaching at a high-growth school. These opportunities for additional compensation reflect modifications tot he current ProComp bonuses based on priorities and impact.
- Leadership opportunities. Leadership opportunities would also be available at each level, though more substantial leadership roles would only be available to teachers at higher levels. Teachers taking on most leadership roles would receive an additional stipend.
Denver Public Schools, the Denver Classroom Teachers Association and Rose Community Foundation are committed to an inclusive engagement process. Please check back for more details about meeting times, dates and locations.
ANNOUNCEMENT 9/26/14: DCTA and DPS have reached an agreement for how SLOs will be used to determine ProComp incentives in the ‘14-15 school year. Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) have replaced Student Growth Objectives (SGOs) beginning this school year. Because this is the first year that DPS teachers are learning to use SLOs to monitor their students’ growth, both DCTA and DPS were committed to looking at engagement, rather than outcomes, to award ProComp incentives to teachers (and other licensed professionals who will now set SLOs). DCTA and DPS have agreed to a ’participation rubric’ which school leaders will use to determine if a teacher’s engagement in the 2014-15 SLO process meets expectations for earning incentives formerly related to SGOs under the ProComp agreement. Closely tied to the new academic standards, SLOs are an improved process for DPS educators to set ambitious learning goals for students and to measure their progress toward mastery of the standards. Click here to view the SLO Participation Rubric.