Professional Pathways for Teachers

Professional Pathways for Teachers is a collaboration among Austin ISD, Education Austin and the American Federation of Teachers to design a human capital system that blends appraisal, compensation and professional development. This work focuses resources on building the capacity of our teachers through a comprehensive system of supports and rewards with the ultimate goal of impacting student achievement. For the PPfT system, a teacher is defined as directly instructing students 50 percent or more of the instructional day and whose title is teacher in the HR system.

The district convened a working group of teachers, principals, administrators and Education Austin representatives to develop a system that includes the following:

  • A teacher appraisal that includes multiple measures
  • A compensation system that includes years of service, performance, leadership and professional development through a system of professional pathways
  • Professional development that ties back to the appraisal to meet individual needs and provides for leadership growth


In December 2013, the Austin ISD Board of Trustees approved district priorities for 2014–15. As part of those strategic priorities, administration was given the task to research and develop professional pathways to recruit, develop, evaluate, compensate and retain high-quality teachers in AISD.

AISD spent four years creating, piloting and reviewing a multi-measure teacher appraisal. The REACH Strategic Compensation program provided valuable feedback and data around appraisal components and compensation. The PPfT appraisal system was approved by the Board of Trustees on February 1, 2016, and the PPfT compensation system was approved through a consultation agreement on April 25, 2016.  

This work was led by AISD leadership who reviewed recommendations from a working group of teachers, principals and administrators.


The Professional Pathways for Teachers appraisal is a multi-measure system that covers three areas: instructional practice, professional growth and responsibilities and student growth. The ultimate goal of the appraisal system is to promote professional growth for all teachers, encourage more frequent, timely and formative feedback and to incorporate multiple indicators of success, including measures of student growth.

The PPfT appraisal will:

  • Foster open and collaborative campus cultures that focus on instructional growth, supportive and contextual feedback and the development of individual and schoolwide practices that more effectively improve student learning.
  • Incorporate multiple measures of teacher effectiveness including in- and out-of-classroom indicators, student learning growth and teacher self-reflection.
  • Offer professional development that links to evaluation results.


PPfT Appraisal Support Guide
One-to-One PPfT Appraisal Support Guide (intended for teachers that teach in a one-on-one situation)
Step-by-step walkthrough of the PPfT appraisal plan in HCP (for teachers)
Human Capital Platform
PPfT Appraisal Resources
SLO Resources and Videos


Compensation for teachers is a top priority for Austin ISD. However, budget constraints have created a situation where teacher pay has been stagnant. With no true relief in sight, it is imperative to look at teacher compensation differently. The current system of “steps and lanes” does not provide teachers with any control of their salary. Professional Pathways for Teachers creates a new system in which teachers can choose a pathway that best suits their needs and aspirations while valuing high-quality teaching and professional development. To access information on the opt-in process, or to access more information on compensation please see the compensation opt-in guide.


The PPfT compensation framework is base-building, which means it adds permanent pay increases to a teacher’s regular salary. This framework does not impact stipends, and teachers will still be able to earn all stipends as before.

The framework builds the base through a point system. Teachers will earn professional points each year. Points are cumulative and determine the amount of the base increase. Teachers can earn points from four elements: current year of service, appraisal, professional development unit and leadership pathways.

Base Salary Increases

As teachers earn points, they become eligible for base increases. Increases are earned when points are earned at the end of the school year. The base increase will be added to the teacher’s salary for the following year.

When five points are earned, there is a $500 increase to the base salary; when 10 total points are earned, there is a $750 increase to the base salary; for each additional 10 points earned, there is a $750 increase to the base salary.

The amount associated with the points is only earned once but the base increase is permanent. For more information, please download the compensation opt-in guide.

The PPfT compensation system is being implemented on the following schedule:

2016–17: 400 current AISD teachers and all new hires
2017–18: 1,000 current AISD teachers and all new hires
2018–19: 1,000 current AISD teachers and all new hires
2019–20: All teachers in the PPfT compensation system

Professional Development Units

Professional Development Units are optional and are similar to action-research projects where teams of teachers identify a need that they plan to focus on throughout the year and then develop a plan of study and implementation to address that need. In order to be eligible to earn the two compensation points, PDU members must be enrolled in PPfT compensation.

PDUs are designed to be a rigorous long-term study, in which teachers utilize a repeating cycle of engagement in PD/research, implementation in the classroom, data collection and evaluation. Team members must be willing to work closely together and devote time in and out of the classroom in order to successfully complete the process. PDUs culminate in the submission of an online product that meets specific criteria. Those interested in pursuing a PDU will apply at the end of August to begin the process by the end of September.

All teachers enrolled in PPfT compensation who are interested in participating in a PDU will opt-in to the PDU process. Once opted-in, PDU members will be added to a BLEND course to guide their work and allow for submission of PDU assignments.

PDU Process
PDU Resource Site

For questions about PDUs, contact Trish Jarrott at or 512-414-9590.

Leadership Pathways

Leadership pathways provides teachers with the opportunity to develop their expertise in one of several areas of interest aligned with district priorities. These leadership pathways are intended to empower and grow AISD teachers, allowing them to become leaders on their campus or throughout the district. These are optional for teachers to pursue based on their interest and schedules.

Teachers pursuing a leadership pathway will participate in a two-year process focused on a specific district priority. The process will allow teachers to earn micro-credentials in targeted areas through engagement in professional development, application of learning into practice and reflection on the impact to their teaching.

In order to participate in a leadership pathway, teachers must have two years of teaching experience, have an effective or better rating on the PPfT appraisal and maintain that rating or better throughout the process.

Teachers In the compensation system who are interested may opt-in for a leadership pathway. Invitations will be sent via email each year in April or May.

For questions about leadership pathways, contact Thymai Dong at or 512-414-1101.