updated: 4/19/2012 12:37:28 PM

Department of Education Awards Millions in Grants

InsideINdianaBusiness.com Report

The Indiana Department of Education is awarding $6 million in grants as part of the state's "Excellence in Performance for Teachers" program. The funding aims to help districts implement teacher performance and compensation systems designed to attract and retain top educators.

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April 19, 2012

News Release

School corporations across Indiana will receive a total of $6 million to recognize and award their best teachers. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Tony Bennett today announced the 28 recipients of Indiana’s “Excellence in Performance for Teachers” grant at a Statehouse ceremony featuring more than 100 school leaders and teachers from participating school corporations.

“Great teachers change lives,” Dr. Bennett said. “This grant program lets us support schools in their efforts to identify, develop, recruit and retain highly effective teachers. There is a dramatic culture shift happening in our schools. Teachers and school leaders are working together to build evaluation and compensation systems that reflect our unwavering commitment to excellent instruction for Indiana’s students. This program lets us highlight those who are leading this charge.”

The “Excellence in Performance for Teachers” grant was established by the Indiana General Assembly during the 2011 legislative session in an effort help school corporations and charter schools recruit and retain effective educators. Applications featured performance and compensation systems aligned to new state laws requiring schools to differentiate teacher performance, provide meaningful feedback to help all teachers improve, and financially reward their best teachers.

Fort Wayne Community School Corporation (FWCS) will use the state evaluation model RISE rubric along with the FWCS 4-Step System of Support to identify and reward excellent instructors. The corporation received a $1.6 million grant through the program.

"Receiving this grant enables us to align the Fort Wayne Community Schools system of support that was developed as a part of our reform agenda with the new state requirements linking student academic growth and teacher evaluations with compensation," FWCS Superintendent Dr. Wendy Robinson said. "Our participation in this grant shows FWCS is committed to leading the way in ensuring all students are educated to high standards."

Lake Ridge Schools received a $141,027 grant in recognition of its successful implementation of a new evaluation system that accurately and meaningful differentiates performance and provides new levels of professional support. The school corporation credits this effort as a key reason it moved out of “probationary” status under the state’s school accountability system. Local school leaders believe the new evaluation and compensation guidelines combined with the grant funding will help them attract top-notch talent.

“Lake Ridge will be able to recruit high quality teachers who see the upward movement of test scores and know they will be rewarded for their work and be supported in their efforts to better their skills,” Superintendent Sharon Johnson-Shirley said.

KIPP Indianapolis College Preparatory received $12,695 to award deserving staff members.

“We are grateful to have more resources to reward our teachers for their hard work and results,” School Leader Emily Pelino said. “At KIPP Indy, we know great teachers drive student achievement and put them on the path to college and a better future.”

Marion Community School Corporation will use its $104,375 grant to increase incentive pay available through its implementation of the nationally recognized Teacher Advancement Program (TAP). The model gives educators access to multiple career paths, ongoing professional development and performance-based compensation while focusing on instructional accountability and the cultivation of a building-wide team dynamic.

“The Excellence in Performance Grant allows us to reward teachers who demonstrate effectiveness and enhance student achievement,” Marion Superintendent Steve Edwards said. “We are extremely excited to have been selected for this important opportunity.”

Source: Indiana Department of Education

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