Vance County Schools has become the fourth North Carolina district to participate in the national Opportunity Culture Initiative, which aims to extend the reach of “excellent teachers” in schools, and the teams of teachers they work with, to a greater pool of students — while providing pay supplements along the way.

Aycock, Zeb Vance and Dabney elementary schools will be the first three schools to be a part of the initiative in Vance County, beginning with the 2017-18 school year.

The plan is for the district to spread Opportunity Culture into more schools later, according to a news release.

In Opportunity Culture schools, teams of administrators and teachers utilize “job redesign,” such as retraining teachers to become multi-classroom leaders, and technology that is age-appropriate to reach more students with personalized, high-standard instruction, according to a news release.

Vance County Schools Superintendent Tony Jackson said the school system is pleased to have the opportunity to participate.

“We are excited about expanding the leadership capacity of our teacher-leaders in Vance County and expanding instructional experiences for students here,” Jackson said in a statement.

Multi-classroom leaders are defined as “excellent teachers” who simultaneously teach and lead a team of teachers— providing them with coaching, co-teaching, co-planning and collaborating with their team teachers — in order to provide high-standard and personalized instruction.

These multi-classroom leaders are accountable for the learning outcomes of all students the team serves.

“Excellent teachers” are those within the Top 20-25 percent bracket producing more than a year’s worth of progress in students each year, according to the Opportunity Culture website.

School teams in the Opportunity Culture schools redesign schedules to provide additional school-day time for teacher planning and collaboration, usually with multi-classroom leaders.

Currently, the three Vance schools are determining what methods to use to reach more students, how teacher leadership will operate in the schools, and the stipulations/requirements of who they would like to hire, according to Stephanie Dean, vice president of teaching and learning policy at Public Impact. It’s a national organization with a mission of improving learning outcomes for all children, with a focus on underserved students.

Schools come up with their own models to meet their own needs. Dean said they must embrace the five Opportunity Culture principles, including paying teachers more for extended reach. She said these principles serve as “guardrails” to the design process the three schools are currently in.

Vance County Schools intends to utilize both multi-classroom leadership and the expanded- impact teacher roles.

Expanded-impact teachers rotate “face-to-face” teaching with time for students to work on things such as projects — while they are being supervised by paraprofessionals as the teacher teaches other students.

Public Impact will support Vance County Schools in designing new teacher-leader roles and school models, according to the release.

New leaders will train multi-classroom teachers. Northeast Leadership Academy will provide professional development for teachers who have an interest in becoming a principal, according to the release.

School design teams reallocate school budgets in order to provide funding for pay supplements. Dean said districts create supplemental pay out of their already existing money.