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

Will CTs work full-time or part-time in their PAR role?

ct3Toledo CT

Most districts hire a cohort of CTs who leave classroom teaching for three to five years and serve teachers in schools throughout the district. In a few districts, however, CTs continue to teach either full-time or part-time while taking on a partial caseload of teachers in PAR. These design choices affect the CTs’ work, the size of the CT cohort, the potential to match teachers by grade and subject area, and the management of the program.

District-based CTs: Most PAR programs have district-based CTs. The PAR Panel hires a team of teachers (between 10-40 depending on the size of the district) to serve as CTs for a designated term of two to five years. The number of CTs hired depends on the size and composition of the new teacher cohort for the following school year. For example, a district experiencing a great deal of turnover at the middle school level or in special education would appoint more CTs with those backgrounds. Most larger districts can match CTs and participating teachers by grade level and subject area. However, smaller districts that hire fewer CTs (six in Syracuse and ten in San Juan) have less flexibility with assignments and CTs have to coach and evaluate based on their general knowledge of pedagogy, drawing upon the expertise of fellow CTs or content specialists as needed.

“It keeps me energized. It keeps my foot in what all these people are going through. I can totally help them with everything they need to be helped with, because I’m seeing it every single day.”

Rochester CT

School-based CTs: Rochester relies primarily on school-based CTs. Two-thirds of Rochester’s Consulting Teachers (approximately 120) teach full-time while serving as a CT for one or two teachers with whom they meet during preparation periods, before and after school, and at lunch. Most of the remaining CTs continue to teach part-time and carry slightly larger caseloads of three to six teachers. As a result, CTs in Rochester generally work with teachers in their building and are usually closely matched by grade level and subject area. They say that this arrangement works well because they can help new teachers understand a particular school’s norms, procedures, and expectations. Notably, because CTs’ caseloads are small, Rochester employs close to 200 CTs each year, which keeps a full-time director very busy. The district also hires two or three full-time CTs each year to allow for more flexibility in assigning cases across the district.

Several districts maintain a pool of CTs who are trained and available to do the work but are not yet employed as CTs by the district. PAR Panels in Toledo, Rochester, San Juan, and Syracuse deliberately identify more qualified candidates than they need at any given time. These candidates then wait to be “activated” as CTs if a CT withdraws from the program, if the number of new teachers in a particular grade level or subject suddenly increases, or if the regular rotation of CTs out of the role creates an opening.