Parameters have been set outlining how teachers and principals in 22 low-performing Metro schools can qualify to cash in on financial bonuses based on their in-class performances.
The Metro Nashville Board of Education approved last week the criteria teachers must meet locally to land financial incentives courtesy of the U.S. Department of Education’s five-year, $36 million Teacher Incentive Fund grant, dollars sprinkled across 13 Tennessee school districts. Metro’s proposal, dubbed “IMPACT,” had already gained state approval.
Financial rewards, which be would added to the salaries of recipients, range from a few hundred dollars to approximately $10,000 each.
“This grant is a part of our turnaround strategy as well as our human capital development strategy,” Merrie Clark, the district’s grant management coordinator, told board members last week.
The past school year served as the planning year for the new initiative. Over the current 2011-12 school year, the district plans to distribute the first batch of funds — $1.75 million — to reward highly effective teachers inside some of Metro’s most academically challenged and poverty-stricken schools.
At the elementary and middle school levels, teachers can qualify for financial bonuses if their students exhibit growth in all four core subjects — English, social studies, math and science — at one standard deviation above their expected growth.
In addition, all elementary and middle school teachers are eligible if their schools make Adequate Yearly Progress under the federal No Child Left Behind law. Also, teachers who score a “4 or 5” on new state-mandated evaluations would qualify. Teachers who take graduate-level coursework in related contents can also receive financial incentives.
Bonuses for high schools teachers are dependent on students’ composite ACT test scores, as well as making Adequate Yearly Progress and taking applied graduate coursework.
Rewards for principals at the elementary and middle school levels are based on students’ academic performances in the four core subject areas. High school principals can land bonuses through improved ACT achievement.
Metro hopes to incorporate the federal teacher incentive fund as part of its overall effort to retain and recruit better teachers, especially in historically struggling schools. As it stands, 40 percent of Metro teachers leave the schools where they were hired before they reach their fifth years.
Under the plan, federal and local officials will monitor the effectiveness of the grant in terms of teacher recruitment and retention.
Participating Metro schools are as follows:
Elementary schools: Chadwell, Hattie Cotton, Lakeview, Napier and Whitsett.
Middle schools: Antioch, Apollo, Bailey, Brick Church, Cameron, Gra-Mar, Litton, Jere Baxter, John Early, Margaret Allen and Wright.
High schools: Antioch, Glencliff, Maplewood, McGavock, Stratford and Whites Creek.