May 02, 2013

Plans Support Districts In Recruiting And Retaining Effective Educators

BATON ROUGE, La. – The Department of Education today released a report that outlines the progress of districts across the state in creating new compensation plans and highlights particularly innovative approaches. Nearly every district across the state has developed and approved major changes to how they compensate local educators. These plans, developed with the assistance of area teachers, principals, and district leaders, all address local needs in recruiting and retaining effective educators. Because of these changes, approximately 50,000 teachers across the state will be eligible for pay increases, and 700,000 students will be in a classroom where their teacher is rewarded for helping them learn. While tens of thousands of teachers will be eligible for an increase in salary, no teacher will see their salary reduced based on these changes.

“For far too long, teachers have not been rewarded for their hard work and their positive impact on students. These plans provide districts an opportunity to create a compensation system that helps attract great teachers to their schools and keep the great teachers that are currently there,” said State Superintendent John White.

The 63 plans submitted by districts reward teachers for several factors: a locally defined demand factor, such as teaching in a hard-to-staff subject area or school, and notable success in the classroom based on student achievement, observations, and experience level, which can be established within the classroom and outside of the classroom.  Act 1, passed in the 2012 Regular Legislative Session, prompted the creation of these individualized pay scales and provided districts with the opportunity to recognize teachers for their dedication and impact on students.

Districts created a variety of innovative plans to reward educators for their success in the classroom. Several plans, including those from St. Bernard, Calcasieu, Avoyelles, Lincoln, Sabine, Morehouse, and Cameron parishes, are highlighted in the Department’s report for their innovative approach to teacher compensation. For example, Calcasieu Parish is proposing a plan that rewards teachers with substantial stipends for consecutive years of effective performance in the classroom; teachers will earn a $1,500 stipend for two consecutive years of highly effective teaching. Their plan also will reward teachers who have existing plans to pursue an advanced degree. Sabine Parish is using its plan to attract effective teachers to the classrooms where they are needed most, boosting teacher pay up to six salary steps for two years of effective: proficient or highly effective teaching in a hard-to-staff subject in a D or F school if the teacher agrees to stay for three years. Additionally, parishes worked directly with teachers to create these plans, such as Lincoln Parish, where the district held meetings with teacher representatives from each school to discuss the proposed compensation models so that educators had an opportunity to contribute feedback on the new system.

“The overall evaluation scores for teachers in Cameron Parish are very positive.  Our school board members allowed for the stellar performances to be rewarded with $300 or $500 in the form of stipends this coming November, just in time for Christmas shopping.  Our administrators and teachers have again risen to the occasion by utilizing the Compass evaluation opportunity to provide the best learning environments possible for our students,” said Cameron Parish Superintendent Stephanie Rodrigue.

Since the passage of Act 1, the Department has supported districts to ensure that compensation plans meet local needs, are developed with educator engagement, are sustainable and can be successfully implemented in the coming year. The Department conducted webinars, information sessions, and worked one-on-one with district staff to support the creation of a local option that worked for the educators and staff impacted by the change. This work has led to an overwhelming response from districts and significant changes in the way educators are compensated across the state. The Department will continue to work with the seven districts that have yet to submit a comprehensive compensation plan that aligns to Act 1's requirements. To read the complete report click here and for more information on Act 1 visit Louisianabelives.com

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