At King’s Fork High School Monday, Terry Napier, director of facilities and planning for Suffolk Public Schools, addresses School Board members during their annual retreat. The event traversed a broad range of issues, including incentive pay for high school math teachers.
At King’s Fork High School Monday, Terry Napier, director of facilities and planning for Suffolk Public Schools, addresses School Board members during their annual retreat. The event traversed a broad range of issues, including incentive pay for high school math teachers.

Archived Story

Incentive pay bid for math teachers

Published 9:29pm Monday, July 1, 2013

High school math teachers would have extra motivation to go above and beyond under an incentive system Suffolk Public Schools wants to introduce with state funding.

The school district is applying to the Virginia Department of Education’s Strategic Compensation Grants initiative, which the 2013 General Assembly funded with $7.5 million for fiscal 2014, according to Suzanne Rice, the district’s new human resources manager.

High school math teachers are being singled out to benefit because poor student performance in that subject is responsible for two of three high schools falling short of full accreditation, Rice said.

“We thought, perhaps, we should look at the two schools accredited with warning, and the problem we have had staffing math,” she said.

A committee with teachers from high school math departments is developing the application, due July 15, Rice said.

In 2011-2012, a pilot dubbed the Virginia Performance-Pay Incentive Initiative occurred in 25 of the state’s hard-to-staff schools, providing incentive payments up to $5,000 for exemplary teachers and up to $3,000 on top for teachers in schools with federal School Improvement Grants. Participating schools had to implement new performance standards and teacher evaluation systems.

Guidelines state that grant applications for the more recent allocation need to detail how the division would meet a list of criteria, including involving stakeholders in implementation and measurable goals for student performance.

Suffolk Public Schools has decided upon a point system piloted in Salem, according to Rice.

Teachers earn points based on measurable objectives, such as students’ academic growth and attendance, which determines how the pot is divided.

For instance, Rice said, a teacher with five points would earn a smaller bonus than a colleague who earned 15 points.

But the five-point teacher would still get a bonus, and Rice and district Superintendent Deran Whitney thus declared the system “non-competitive.”

“The caveat is you can’t exceed $5,000” per teacher, Rice said.

“We hope it provides a motivation and incentive to our math departments.”

Grants will be announced Aug. 1. “We may ask for $500,000 but we don’t know how much” the district would get, Rice said.

Board member Judith Brooks-Buck commended the plan, saying, “I think it’s an excellent spin on pay-for-performance” that would help retain quality teachers.

PrintFriendly
  • fingertothenose

    Every single board member is out of touch. As is Whitney. All they’ll do is run people further out of Suffolk

    Suggest Removal

  • fingertothenose

    This is the most asinine move by the school board—the school board who does the bidding of the superintendent—to destroy any morale left in teachers. I guarantee you will receive an uproar. SPS can’t apply for the grants that would have secured a raise for employees, but they will single out one subject area over another? How about teachers who’ve been doing their jobs all these years, and just got totally told “you do not matter?” I hope that teachers will sue the system.

    Suggest Removal

  • citizen123

    Sadly, this incentive for high school math teachers provides no incentive for other teachers who work equally or more hard, but happen to be teaching other areas. I am certain that the high school math teachers work very hard to teach their students. In Suffolk we have many students who are extremely bright but are dealing with issues of generational poverty, including the lack of food and insecurity of safe and secure living conditions and location, both of which are the 2 foundational bases of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Additionally we as a school system are continuing to teach utilizing 20th century teaching methods, that is, skill-and-drill, lecture, lecture, and more lecture (BORING!). Until these complex issues are addressed with definitive actions rather than only financial incentives for the few, little will change.

    Suggest Removal

  • woodnymph558

    What is the INCENTIVE to teach the students.. I see nothing in this article about WHAT and WHY High School Students are not learning math.. People.. FOLLOW the Money trail.. this IS not about teaching..but giving tax payers dollars to a program.. that as far as I can see,,,, has NO SUBSTANCE!!!

    Suggest Removal

  • chief601

    “High school math teachers are being singled out to benefit because poor student performance in that subject is responsible for two of three high schools falling short of full accreditation, Rice said.”

    Uhh, the math teachers are to benefit because their students are performing badly?

    “A committee with teachers from high school math departments is developing the application, due July 15, Rice said.”

    Somebody better check the math.

    “In 2011-2012, a pilot dubbed the Virginia Performance-Pay Incentive Initiative occurred in 25 of the state’s hard-to-staff schools, providing incentive payments up to $5,000 for exemplary teachers and up to $3,000 on top for teachers in schools with federal School Improvement Grants. Participating schools had to implement new performance standards and teacher evaluation systems.”

    Yea, betting it’s the same teachers just getting more money.

    “Teachers earn points based on measurable objectives, such as students’ academic growth and attendance, which determines how the pot is divided.

    For instance, Rice said, a teacher with five points would earn a smaller bonus than a colleague who earned 15 points.”

    So they get paid if the students show up or they do? Better check the math on how the points are awarded too. Betting they all get the maximum. Same old answer to school teacher failure – throw more money at it instead of holding them accountable for doing their job.

    Suggest Removal

    • am

      How about Dr Rice explaining why her school was REALLY low with its math scores – especially since they have the IB program

      Suggest Removal

Editor's Picks