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For Immediate Release
Friday, September 24, 2010
Contact:Heidi Guarino 781-338-3106 or JC Considine 781-338-3112

Massachusetts awarded $27 million through federal Teacher Incentive Fund

Funds will be used to accelerate efforts to improve teaching force

MALDEN - Massachusetts will receive $27 million over the next five years through the federal Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) to attract and retain great teachers and leaders in 22 high-need schools in Boston and Springfield. Lessons learned from these schools will inform ongoing efforts to support low performing schools statewide.

The U.S. Department of Education awarded TIF grants to 62 projects nationwide, including 9 state-sponsored applications.

"Working in an underperforming school is an opportunity for a great teacher to really shine and make a difference in the lives of children," said Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester. "The Teacher Incentive Fund award will allow us to move forward on efforts to recruit and retain more of those outstanding teachers into our neediest communities, and will have a tremendous impact in our schools."

The Massachusetts "Amazing Educators" initiative was designed to enhance the states efforts to attract, support, evaluate, compensate and retain high quality educators in 22 low performing turnaround schools in Boston and Springfield. Lessons learned from the work in these schools will be scaled to support efforts to design a performance-based compensation system in other schools within the districts and eventually, statewide.

The award builds on a number of other high-leverage state strategies currently underway to strengthen educator effectiveness, and turn around the lowest performing schools in the Commonwealth's two largest urban districts. The work builds on legislation enacted in January 2010 that is aimed at turning around low-performing schools; a new state Framework for District Accountability and Assistance; a Task Force on the Evaluation of Teachers and Administrators that was charged in May 2010 with recommending changes to the state evaluation system by the end of January 2011; and additional initiatives funded by the federal Race to the Top grant.

In total Boston will receive more than $9.3 million and Springfield will receive more than $12.6 million for the implementation of TIF activities. The comprehensive strategy will include:

  • Monetary and non-monetary incentives to recruit and select effective teachers and principals to work in turnaround schools
  • Support for educators in the turnaround schools through high-quality and targeted professional development, real-time access to student assessment data and coaching on how to use it, and sufficient time for collaboration and planning.
  • A new evaluation system which uses three rating categories based on student growth as a significant factor and includes annual evaluations, multiple observations during the year, and links to key personnel decisions such as tenure, promotion and dismissal
  • The development of meaningful leadership roles and differentiated pay opportunities for teachers to develop teacher leaders
  • The opportunities for additional compensation for the most effective teachers. Selection will be based on performance evaluation and those who commit to remain in the school for two more years and operate "model classrooms" that build the instructional capacity of the school.

A key piece of this work began in March with the launch of www.amazingteachers.org. This website was designed to inform teachers about career opportunities in the state's Turnaround Schools, located in 9 districts across the state: Boston, Fall River, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, New Bedford, Springfield and Worcester. The site provides information about the first group of 35 "Level 4" schools and the nine urban public school districts in which they are located, with a focus on supports and incentives for teachers who work in those systems.

"Boston's students are once again the recipients of great news with the announcement of this grant today," said Boston Public Schools Superintendent Carol R. Johnson. "We believe strongly that our best teachers and principals should be rewarded for their work that results in positive outcomes for our students. We see an urgent need for change in our lowest performing schools and we think this is yet another way to help accelerate achievement for all."

"This is huge, and great news for the Springfield Public Schools," said Springfield Superintendent Alan Ingram. "Our most important work is teaching and learning and this will have an enormous, positive impact on our ability to attract, retain, support and reward effective teachers. Improving instruction is a key component of our Level 4 work and this grant will help us leverage the work and offers tremendous support for us in that area."

The news of the TIF funding follows more than a month of great accomplishments in education in Massachusetts.

Earlier this month, Governor Patrick announced strong improvement on the statewide MCAS exams noting that the number of 10th graders who scored Proficient or Higher on the English Language Arts (ELA) and Math exams has nearly doubled since the first year the state's graduation requirement was enforced. In addition, MCAS results showed that for the first time ever, more than half of all seventh and eighth graders statewide scored Proficient or Higher in Math and the percentage of third graders reading and doing math proficiently increased by six points in ELA and five points in math.

Massachusetts also recently earned the top score in the national Race to the Top competition and secured $250 million in funding to help implement the next generation of education reform in Massachusetts. The funding will be utilized to build a statewide data system to better track student performance, inform instructional practices and provide a new measure of teacher and principal effectiveness as well as to build a more professional teacher development and support system.

Additionally, Governor Patrick allocated $204 million from the federal Education Jobs Fund to school districts across the Commonwealth, bringing state support for public schools to its highest level in history. A combination of state and federal dollars totaling $4.07 billion will ensure all school districts receive more state aid—at least $25 per student—than they did last year.



Last Updated: September 24, 2010
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