McDonnell launches teacher performance-pay initiative

RICHMOND – Governor Bob McDonnell has invited 57 school divisions that may have difficulty attracting, retaining and rewarding experienced, fully licensed teachers to participate in his Virginia Performance-Pay Incentives initiative for hard-to-staff schools.

The initiative — which was approved by the 2011 General Assembly — is a centerpiece of McDonnell’s “Opportunity to Learn” education-reform agenda. It provides $3 million in state funding to reward teachers in hard-to-staff schools that earn exemplary ratings during the 2011-2012 school year.

“Teachers who make a commitment to students in hard-to-staff urban and rural schools, despite circumstances that often prompt colleagues to seek assignments elsewhere, deserve our admiration, and when they succeed in raising the achievement of students in these schools, their performance should be rewarded,” McDonnell said.

Schools receiving funding through the competitive-grant program must implement a comprehensive teacher-evaluation system aligned with performance standards and model evaluation systems approved by the Board of Education. At least 40 percent of teacher evaluations must be based on student academic growth, including, when available and appropriate, student-growth data provided by the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE).

“The evaluation guidelines and performance standards awaiting final approval by the Board of Education on April 28 will ensure that performance-pay decisions are fair for all teachers and based on objective criteria,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia I. Wright said. “Administrators in the participating divisions will be trained in the implementation of the board’s performance standards and evaluation criteria.”

In applying for funding, school divisions may designate all teachers within a hard-to-staff school as eligible for performance pay or limit eligibility to specific groups of teachers, such as teachers in reading and mathematics. The maximum amount a teacher may receive is $5,000.

In addition, federal support for performance-pay programs is available through the $59.8 million School Improvement Grant the commonwealth received in April 2010 to fund “turnaround” plans and other reforms in low-achieving schools. Schools receiving funds through the federal grant must implement teacher-evaluation systems that include student growth as a significant factor and have the option of applying for funding to support performance-pay plans.

“All told, the funding available for performance pay represents an opportunity to provide meaningful incentives and rewards for exemplary teachers in a significant number of Virginia schools, and, in the long term, the results of these pilot programs will tell us a lot about the potential for performance pay to improve teacher quality and raise student achievement,” McDonnell said.

To participate in the state-funded Virginia Performance-Pay Incentives initiative, a school must meet at least four of eight criteria associated with schools that have difficulty recruiting and retaining effective teachers. The criteria are related to these factors: accreditation, average attendance, percentage of students in special education, percentage of limited-English proficient students, percentage of teachers with provisional licensure, percentage of special education teachers with provisional licensure, percentage of first-year teachers, and the number of first-year teachers in a critical-shortage area.

The 169 eligible schools, by division, are as follows:
• Accomack County — Kegotank Elementary and Pungoteague Elementary
• Albemarle County — Albemarle County Community Public Charter
• Alexandria — Cora Kelly Magnet Elementary, Francis Hammond 2 Middle, Francis Hammond 3 Middle, George Mason Elementary, James K. Polk Elementary, Mount Vernon Elementary, T.C. Williams High and William Ramsay Elementary
• Arlington County — Abingdon Elementary, Arlington Traditional Elementary, Ashlawn Elementary, Barrett Elementary, Campbell Elementary, Carlin Springs Elementary, Claremont Elementary, Drew Model Elementary, Francis Scott Key Elementary, Gunston Middle, Henry Elementary, Hoffman-Boston Elementary, Long Branch Elementary, Oakridge Elementary, Randolph Elementary, Swanson Middle and Washington-Lee High
• Brunswick County — James S. Russell Middle
• Buchanan County — Hurley High and Twin Valley High
• Caroline County — Caroline High and Madison Elementary
• Charles City County — Charles City County Middle
• Chesterfield County — A.M. Davis Elementary
• Colonial Beach — Colonial Beach High
• Covington — Covington High
• Cumberland County — Cumberland High and Cumberland Middle
• Dinwiddie County — Dinwiddie Middle
• Essex County — Essex Intermediate
• Fairfax County — Bailey’s Elementary, Bryant Alternative High, Franconia Elementary, Hayfield Elementary, Key Center, Kilmer Center, Little Run Elementary, North Springfield Elementary and Woodson Adult High
• Fauquier County — Greenville Elementary and Kettle Run High
• Franklin — Franklin High
• Franklin County — Rocky Mount Elementary and Windy Gap Elementary
• Frederick County — Robert E. Aylor Middle
• Goochland County — Goochland Middle
• Grayson County — Grayson County High
• Greensville County — Edward W. Wyatt Middle
• Hampton — C. Alton Lindsay Middle, Captain John Smith Elementary, Hampton High, Jane H. Bryan Elementary and Merrimack Elementary
• Henrico County — Academy at Virginia Randolph, Baker Elementary, Fairfield Middle, Highland Springs Elementary, Highland Springs High, L. Douglas Wilder Middle, John Rolfe Middle, Skipwith Elementary and Varina High
• Henry County — Axton Elementary
• Hopewell — Carter G. Woodson Middle and Hopewell High
• King and Queen County — Central High
• Lee County — Dryden Elementary, Flatwoods Elementary and Thomas Walker High
• Loudoun County — Creighton’s Corner Elementary, Freedom High, Rolling Ridge Elementary, Stone Hill Middle and Sugarland Elementary
• Louisa County — Trevilians Elementary
• Lunenburg County — Central High and Lunenburg Middle
• Manassas — Osbourn High and Weems Elementary
• Manassas Park — Cougar Elementary and Manassas Park Elementary
• Mecklenburg County — Bluestone High
• Montgomery County — Auburn High
• New Kent County — New Kent Middle
• Newport News — Denbigh High
• Norfolk — Azalea Middle, Lafayette-Winona Middle, Lake Taylor Middle, Lindenwood Elementary, Madison Alternative Center, Norview Middle and Ruffner Middle
• Northampton County — Kiptopeke Elementary and Northampton High
• Orange County — Orange County High
• Page County — Luray Middle
• Patrick County — Blue Ridge Elementary and Hardin Reynolds Elementary
• Petersburg — Peabody Middle and Vernon Johns Junior High
• Portsmouth — Churchland Academy Elementary, Cradock Middle, Victory Elementary and Woodrow Wilson High
• Prince Edward County — Prince Edward County High
• Prince William County — Antietam Elementary, Coles Elementary, Enterprise Elementary, Fannie W. Fitzgerald Elementary, Fred M. Lynn Middle, Kerrydale Elementary, Loch Lomond Elementary, Mills E. Godwin Middle, Potomac View Elementary, Rosa Parks Elementary, Victory Elementary and Woodbridge Middle
• Pulaski County — Fairlawn Cooperative Transition Center and Pulaski County Senior High
• Richmond — Albert Hill Middle, Armstrong High, Bellevue Elementary, Binford Middle, Chimborazo Elementary, E.S.H. Greene Elementary, Elkhardt Middle, Fairfield Court Elementary, Fred D. Thompson Middle, G.H. Reid Elementary, George Mason Elementary, George W. Carver Elementary, George Wythe High, Henderson Middle, Huguenot High, John Marshall High, Lucille M. Brown Middle, Martin Luther King Jr. Middle, Miles Jones Elementary, Richmond Alternative, Summer Hill/Ruffin Road Elementary, Thomas C. Boushall Middle and Thomas Jefferson High
• Roanoke — Patrick Henry High and Westside Elementary
• Rockbridge County — Maury River Middle
• Russell County — Castlewood High and Lebanon Middle
• Stafford County — Colonial Forge High and Kate Waller Barrett Elementary
• Sussex County — Sussex Central Middle
• Warren County — Skyline High and Warren County High
• Westmoreland County — Washington & Lee High and Washington District Elementary
• Wythe County — Rural Retreat Middle, Scott Memorial Middle and Wythe County Technical Center
• York County — York River Academy

A request for proposals from divisions with eligible schools to participate in the state-funded Virginia Performance-Pay Incentives initiative was posted last week on the VDOE website. Completed applications from interested divisions are due on June 15 and award amounts will be announced during the summer before the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year.

- From a release

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