|For Immediate Release|
|Wednesday, November 20, 2002|
|Contact:||Heidi B. Perlman 781-338-3106|
Colleges And Universities Tapped To Nominate Future Bonus Recipients Under New Guidelines
MALDEN - State education officials are planning to support the recruitment efforts of Massachusetts’s colleges and universities with innovative teacher preparation programs by allowing these institutions to nominate their top candidates to receive the Massachusetts Signing Bonus for New Teachers.
The opportunity to nominate bonus recipients will allow these programs to more aggressively recruit talented mid-career professionals and recent college graduates who otherwise may not have considered a career in teaching.
Education Commissioner David P. Driscoll sent a letter to the deans of all of the schools of education in Massachusetts this week, inviting them to submit proposals for their college or university to be one of the schools selected as nominating institutions.
“This state is facing a serious teacher shortage, and to address this we need to focus on additional ways to recruit and train the best candidates possible,” he said. “By making this change in our program I am confident we will not only be able to support our colleges and universities, but also be better equipped to truly find the most qualified recipients for our signing bonus.”
The signing bonus program was begun in 1998 when then-Gov. Paul Cellucci signed Senate President Tom Birmingham’s “12 to 62 Plan” into law as part of a wide-reaching effort to recruit the best and brightest mid-career professionals into the field of teaching.
Under the new system, officials will select at least three state-approved, post-baccalaureate teacher preparation programs each year to nominate potential bonus recipients from their pool of candidates.
Recipients must possess a strong academic background, demonstrated leadership in their career and extracurricular activities, and represent the highest caliber of professionals and students in their respective fields. Priority will be given to candidates who show an interest in teaching in a high need area such as math, science, special education or foreign languages, and a commitment to working in an urban district.
Bonus recipients will be notified when they receive their acceptance letter from the college or university. Payments will begin after they complete the training, and begin their first year of teaching.
In 2003, 50 bonuses will be available. Since 1998, more than 300 signing bonuses have been awarded.
Colleges and universities with innovative teacher preparation programs not selected this year will be able to reapply every year to become nominating institutions.
Until now, bonus recipients have been sent through the Massachusetts Institute for New Teachers (MINT), an accelerated teacher training program. With support from the federal Transition to Teaching grant, the DOE will continue to offer full-tuition scholarships and $2,000 stipends to MINT participants who commit to teaching in targeted high-need school districts.
The bonuses are paid for out of the interest from a $70 million endowment set up by the Legislature when the 12-62 Plan was passed. The fund also supports several other teacher recruitment programs, including the state’s Master Teacher program. Past bonus recipients will continue receiving their payments on schedule.
The bonuses are paid in $4,000 increments over the first four years of employment, with two installments paid out in the first year. Payment of the bonus is contingent on full-time employment in a Massachusetts public school district.
Proposals to be considered for the program are due by Dec. 13, and the programs selected will be notified by Dec. 20.