Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is a “teacher-led school”?

A:  It’s a school inspired by students, and collaboratively designed and run by a group of teachers/staff. Teachers in teacher-led schools have autonomy to make decisions in a wide array of areas that influence school success, such as the learning program, budget, evaluating their colleagues, selecting personnel, and more.

Q: Does CCS have a principal?

A: No. Instead of hiring a principal or head of school, CCS will be managed by teachers in the form of a faculty council. The day-to-day responsibilities of operating the school, managing emergencies, and handling administrative tasks will be completed by the CCS executive director and lead teachers, who will be the employees of the school under the direction of the faculty council. These leaders work to facilitate the team in carrying out their group decisions and shared purpose.

Q: Are teacher-led schools just an idea? Or do they really exist?

A: There are over 100 public teacher-led schools in operation in at least 18 states across the nation. They are located in urban, suburban, and rural communities and serve all Pre-K to12 grade levels.

Q: Is decision making effective in a shared leadership model? Isn’t there gridlock? How does anything get done?

A: Generally speaking, teacher-led teams don’t make every single decision as a full group—they distribute leadership. At CCS, we make decisions through leadership committees. That means they select, as a group, those teachers/staff who have the authority to make which decisions. Decision makers are accountable to the full group for making choices that are consistent with the shared purpose and goals of the team. While collective decision making can be time consuming, the process is worth it because it creates buy-in and promotes a strong school culture.

Q: Does a teacher-led school mean more work for teachers?

A: Running a teacher-led school takes a lot of work—but teachers report that it is enormously rewarding. To keep their workload manageable, teachers often delegate time-consuming administrative tasks, such as bookkeeping, facilities management, and so on, to outside service providers. While they may delegate the work, they maintain decision-making authority in those areas.

Q: What data exist on student achievement in teacher-led schools?

A: Teachers in a teacher-led school often redefine what student success looks like. They explore holistic measures of student achievement, including the development of in-depth portfolios and comprehensive exams. Our preliminary qualitative research suggests that teacher-led schools are very good at producing deeper learning.