Baltimore City Public Schools (City Schools) is the fourth-largest school district in Maryland. In 2010, culminating recent successes, City Schools received the Award for Urban School Board Excellence from the Council of Urban Boards of Education.
In November 2010, after nine months of negotiations, City Schools' teachers ratified a new contract that changes how Baltimore City teachers are compensated and allows school communities to shape key aspects of the operations at their schools, reflecting the strong commitment—by both teachers and district leaders—to build on recent student achievement gains. Teachers had turned down an earlier version of the contract, saying that it was short on details. A month of meetings between Baltimore Teachers Union (BTU) officials and teachers followed, and the parties returned to the bargaining table to refine a contract that teachers then overwhelmingly supported.
Former salary lanes have been replaced in the contract by a four-tiered career ladder (Standard, Professional, Model, and Lead Teacher) and opportunities for advancement through achievement units tied to evaluation and evidence of leadership and learning. The details of the evaluation system are yet to be determined by the Joint Governing Panel, but the evaluation will include multiple criteria, including evidence of student growth.
The new agreement also helps to ensure that teachers are part of the decision-making process when determining school improvement measures (for example, extending the instructional day), by creating a framework for school-level collaboration.
City Schools and BTU will work together to develop the Baltimore Professional Practices and Student Learning Program (BPPSLP) with the goals of improving professional practice, increasing student learning, and enhancing career acceleration and opportunities. Two labor-management committees will develop and facilitate the various components of the contract:
- The Joint Oversight Committee, made up of five members recommended by the school board and five by BTU, will review and assess the district's capacity to operate the program, as well as the program's value for continuation; and it will create, oversee, and designate the responsibilities of the Professional Peer Review Committee.
- The Joint Governing Panel, with four members recommended by the school board and four recommended by BTU, will develop the criteria for the career ladder, develop the achievement units necessary to move along the ladder, and assist teachers and schools to understand the components of the contract.
|Data at a glance:|
|Total certified instructional teachers||914|
|Total full-time staff||11,273|
|Number of schools||191|
|Enrollment, by race/ethnicity|
|Students eligible for free and reduced-price meals||83.5%|
Andrés Alonso, CEO, Baltimore City Public Schools
Neil Duke, Chair, Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners
Marietta English, President, Baltimore Teachers Union