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Career-Ladder Pact Reached

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The Cincinnati Federation of Teachers and the city school district have reached an agreement on a four-step career-ladder plan to reward accomplished teachers.

The agreement calls for 10 percent of the city's 3,400 teachers to have the opportunity to become "lead teachers" by the 1992-93 school year.

Union members and the board of education were scheduled to ratify the contract this week.

A joint labor-management panel will administer the Career in Teaching Program, which will begin in the fall. All teachers will be designated as either "intern," "resident," or "career teacher."

Career teachers with 10 years' experience will be eligible to apply for credentials as lead teachers, who will be paid bonuses of from $1,000 to $5,500, depending on the new duties they assume.

The program builds on the district's peer-review program, which began in 1985. Evaluations of the candidates for the lead-teacher credential will be conducted by their fellow teachers.

Tom Mooney, president of the c.f.t., an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers, said Cincinnati teachers' confidence in the peer-review program was a key factor in constructing the career-ladder plan.

"We've established the credibility of the peer-review process with teachers and administrators," he noted, "and thereby have solved the usual riddle of the career ladder, which is who is going to do the assessing."

The primary aim of the program is to keep talented teachers in the classroom, Mr. Mooney said.

Lead teachers will be designated as primary- and intermediate-level leaders in elementary schools. In middle schools, they will head new faculty teams, while in the high schools they will serve as subject-area leaders.

For the 1990-91 school year, 82 lead-teaching positions have been budgeted, at a cost of $500,000. In addition, the school district has received a $400,000 grant from the state to pay for start-up costs during the next two years.

Schools with disproportionate numbers of low-achieving or at-risk students will receive extra allotments of lead-teaching positions, Mr. Mooney said, which will serve as an incentive to keep the best teachers in such schools.--ab

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