The purpose of this paper is to provide Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) grantees and others with a better understanding of how to design and use career ladders to support their STEM Master Teacher program. The paper addresses the following areas:
- The purposes for which career ladders have been used and the structure of basic career ladder models
- Potential ways for a career ladder to support improving STEM instruction and achievement
- Lessons learned for experimentation with career ladders
- Steps in designing a career ladder to support the STEM Master Teacher Initiative
- Issues in implementing and sustaining career ladders
A career ladder can be an opportunity to both support STEM Master Teachers and rethink the traditional salary schedule. When designing a career ladder, the most important consideration is to ensure is an integral part of the district's human capital management system with links to recruitment and retention, tenure, performance evaluation, and professional development.