Sep 30, 2016

Federal Teacher Incentive Fund grant provides over $128 million to three Louisiana education organizations over the next five years

BATON ROUGE, LA- The Louisiana Department of Education is one of 13 organizations to be awarded a federal Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) grant, receiving the largest total award of $66.8 million. Grant funds will be used to strengthen the educator talent pipeline in 16 rural school systems with a total of 137 schools, including two charter schools.
Three Louisiana education organizations received awards, including the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET), awarded $41.6 million, and New Schools for New Orleans, awarded $19.8 million. Together, Louisiana grantees were awarded $128.1 million over five years to develop and support the state's teachers and leaders.
"A strong educator profession is crucial to student success," said State Superintendent John White. "Through this grant, rural school systems will strengthen their talent pipelines, ensuring that aspiring teachers have more time to practice through yearlong teaching residencies with experienced mentors and providing career advancement opportunities for the state's most talented teachers. As Louisiana's teacher and leader corps grows stronger, students are better educated."
The Department's grant will build on existing efforts to strengthen the teaching profession and expand access to excellent teachers and leaders in rural schools. The grant will provide funding for:

  • Educator preparation, as part of the nationally recognized Believe and Prepare program, including grants to teacher preparation providers and school system leaders as they shift to yearlong residency models, and stipends for undergraduate residents and mentor teachers;

  • Improvements to tools for educator goal-setting, including access to high-quality "check-up" tests that align with state standards and reduce costly and unhelpful tests;

  • Increased access to the Principal Fellowship, and other supports aimed at building principals' leadership skills;

  • Opportunities and assistance for rural districts to attract and retain effective, in-demand educators through updated approaches to compensation.

"This is a big win for our state," said Dr. Holly Boffy, BESE vice president. "These funds will significantly support important educator preparation efforts through the yearlong residency program, which provides valuable practical experience and resources for aspiring teachers. It is also important to recognize the local districts willing to step up in partnership with the state on this innovative program to advance the teaching profession in Louisiana."

"We are excited about the awarding of the TIF grant for it will support our partnership efforts to prepare high quality new teachers who help Louisiana's students reach a mastery achievement level and be prepared for postsecondary education before leaving high school," said Joseph C. Rallo, Commissioner of Higher Education, Louisiana Board of Regents. "In particular, this grant will help us expand collaborative partnerships between our universities and rural districts as effective teachers are trained to be mentors and work with our university faculty to support candidates as they teach in full year residencies."

Mike Milstead, Superintendent of Lincoln Parish Schools, said, "The TIF grant is designed for the training of incoming teachers, but in reality it is an investment in kids. The grant provides for both an immediate return - two teachers daily in a classroom for the initial year of training - and a long term return - better-trained teachers earlier in their careers. In my long educational career, this is one of the most profitable uses of educational monies I have ever witnessed."

"NIET is excited about this opportunity to partner with Louisiana districts and schools to build systems of support and feedback for teachers and leaders," said Dr. Patrice Pujol, President of Services and Partnerships at NIET.  "We look forward to working with educators across the state as they implement collaborative structures to continue to improve their professional practice."

Participating school systems include Allen Parish, Assumption Parish, Caldwell Parish, Catahoula Parish, Concordia Parish, Grant Parish, JS Clark Leadership Academy, Lincoln Parish, Morehouse Parish, Red River Parish, Richland Parish, St. Helena Parish, St. Landry Parish, Tallulah Charter School, Tensas Parish, and West Carroll Parish. All school systems eligible for the federal Rural Education Achievement Program (REAP) were invited to participate.

The Department received a TIF award of $41.2 million in 2010 to expand access to NIET's System for Teacher and Student Advancement (TAP) in six school systems.

For more information on Believe and Prepare, click here.

For more information on the Louisiana Principal Fellowship, click here.

For more information on the Teacher Incentive Fund, click here.

# # # # # #