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.


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 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. These salary increases are based on a 187-day contract.

The amount associated with the points is only earned once but the base increase is permanent.