A User's Guide to

Peer Assistance and Review

  • What is PAR?
  • Costs and benefits of PAR
  • Designing your PAR project
  • Labor-management relations
  • Practical issues and advice
Related documents

How will the CT application and selection process work?

“CTs need to be quality people. They need to be master teachers. They need to know what is expected. They need to be driven in many ways, themselves, in pursuit of excellence and their knowledge and understanding of what it takes to get the job done and to do it right.”

Toledo Principal

A PAR program’s reputation depends to a great extent on the quality and credibility of the CTs. If they are skilled and respected, the program is likely to be well received by teachers and administrators. To ensure that PAR will attract CTs of the highest caliber, a program must conduct an open and well-organized hiring process, publicizing positions widely, recruiting strong candidates and assessing them carefully. CT positions are routinely advertised in the union bulletin and the district’s job postings. However, many CTs said that they only decided to apply for the role when they were encouraged by colleagues, principals, union leaders, or current CTs, who thought they would do a good job. In districts where PAR has existed for some time, CTs often became interested in the role through their own positive experience as a novice teacher in the program.

CTs in San JuanCTs in San Juan

All districts require a minimum level of teaching experience to qualify for the role. Rochester requires seven years; all other districts require five. Several districts (Rochester, Cincinnati, and Montgomery County) that have career ladders require that candidates achieve “lead teacher” status before applying for the role.

Many CTs described the application process as rigorous—some called it “grueling.” In all districts, applicants must submit evidence of the caliber of their work, including some combination of references, written application, interview, and classroom observation. All districts require a recommendation from the teacher’s principal and another teacher. In Syracuse, Rochester, and Toledo, teachers must also submit a letter of reference from their union representative. All districts require a writing sample and an interview, which is usually conducted by the PAR Panel or a subcommittee. Most CTs recall the interview as an intimidating process in which they faced a number of interviewers asking tough questions. Many districts ask applicants point blank, “Would you be able to fire someone?” In addition to conducting in-person interviews, Panel members or Lead CTs in several districts observe the applicants teaching during announced or unannounced visits.

“It was rather grueling. I had never been in an interview with so many people in front of me before.”

Syracuse CT

“[During the application process,] someone would walk in your room, ask for your lesson plans, and watch you teach for an hour and critique you. So it was very stressful.”

Toledo CT

In most districts, there is serious competition for CT positions. Cincinnati, Montgomery County, and Minneapolis report that they receive at least ten applications for each opening. San Juan and Toledo receive two to six applications for each position, depending on the licensure area needed. Rochester, which employs close to 200 CTs each year, hires approximately four out of five applicants. In its second year of the program, Syracuse hired about the same proportion.