Youngstown State University is the premiere track for Ohio educators looking to advance their educations and careers as teacher leaders, with two programs designed specifically for Ohio teachers: the Master of Science in Education – Teacher Education – Curriculum and Instruction – Teacher Leader online program, and the Teacher Leader Endorsement online program.
According to Ohio’s Department of Education, teacher leaders “are teachers who, while remaining in the classroom, take on additional leadership responsibilities beyond their own classroom with other teachers as well as district, state, and national leaders, to advance the profession with the ultimate goal of enhancing student success.”
The Ohio Department of Education’s recognition of and support for teacher leaders within the past five years has created need, and opportunity, for teachers looking to advance their careers in those roles. In fact, the co-chairs of Youngstown State University’s program were part of the council that developed the state’s Teacher Leader Standards.
Educators enrolled in these programs will be better prepared to steer their school communities by assuming leadership roles. In addition, teachers will gain valuable knowledge and skills that enable them to lead groups in educational settings in the service of advancing student success.
Teacher Leader Programs Contribute to Ohio Teachers’ Continuing Education
Under Ohio’s four-tier teacher licensure structure, teachers must meet various criteria to retain certification in each tier and/or to advance to a higher tier. The first is Resident Educator License / Alternative Resident Educator License; the second is Professional Educator License; the third is Senior Professional Educator License; the fourth is Lead Professional Educator License. All three of the tiers above Resident Educator require teachers to undergo continuing education in order to renew their license every five years.
For Ohio teachers’ licensing purposes, continuing education can take the form of six semester hours or 18 continuing education units (CEUs), subject to approval by the Local Professional Development Committee of the employing school or district. Youngstown State University’s Teacher Leader Endorsement Program provides CEUs that can be used to fulfill this requirement of state teacher licensure.
Ohio Teachers Can Use Federal Funding to Advance Their Teacher Leader Training
With the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) — the successor to the No Child Left Behind Act — the federal government has made grant funding available to school districts for a variety of purposes related to improving student education. For example, under Title II of the ESSA, federal funding may be used to further “preparation and professional development of teachers,” with priority being given to evidence-based methods of continuing education.
In Ohio, the state’s Department of Education must allot 95% of its Title IIA funding to districts. However, it may allocate an additional 3% of its Title IIA award (of the 95% directed to the districts) to support professional development activities for principals and other school leaders, such as teacher leaders.
Additionally, Ohio’s most underserved districts were given federal funding to promote teachers’ professional development. Teachers can use these funds to cover the costs of either Youngstown State University teacher leader program. According to rankings based on Ohio Department of Taxation data from 2017 tax returns (filed in 2018), the latest available by school district, the five school districts with lowest incomes by households’ federal adjusted gross income are Youngstown, New Boston, East Cleveland, Canton and Warren.
Teacher Leader Training as an Opportunity for Career Advancement
Teacher leaders are in high demand in Ohio; the state’s Department of Education calls teacher leadership “an important lever” to “recruit and retain our strongest teachers.” Thus, the teacher leader training provided by Youngstown State University’s two programs may help educators advance in their careers.
As noted above, teacher leader training can help a teacher advance to a higher tier of Ohio state licensure. For example, earning the teacher leader endorsement can count as a component of the state’s highest professional teaching license tier, the Lead Professional Educator License. Additionally, holding a master’s degree, such as the M.S.Ed. – Teacher Education – C&I – Teacher Leader degree, is a requirement of the top two tiers: Senior Professional Educator License and Lead Professional Educator License.
Between 2019 and 2020, Ohio teachers earned an average salary of $62,225, placing them 21st in the nation for teacher salaries, according to data from National Education Association. But teachers with advanced education, certifications and training — such as teacher leader endorsement — would likely earn more and have greater opportunities for professional development than those without them.