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Regional & National

Tennessee school district trying to draw teachers with higher salaries, bonuses

December 23rd, 2012 5:22 pm by Associated Press

MEMPHIS -- The Achievement School District is rolling out a new pay schedule in an effort to entice high-performance teachers.


The Commercial Appeal (http://bit.ly/UdsyEw) reports a teacher with a fresh degree could earn $62,500 after six years of teaching with the ASD -- and that doesn't include bonus pay of up to $7,000 for the best performing schools.


The base salary is $16,000 more per year than Shelby County schools pay for the same amount of experience.


Currently, ASD teachers make $49,747 on average, which is $6,000 less than the average for teachers at Memphis City Schools.


The Achievement School District runs low-performing schools across the state with a goal of significantly improving student performance over five years. The goal is to take schools in the bottom 5 percent of achievement and put them in the top 25 percent.


Six schools in Memphis are assigned to the Achievement School District this year, but that number will double next year.


"Last July, amid the craziness of startup, we talked to our teachers about the guiding principles of meaningful pay," said Ash Solar, ASD chief talent officer. "We spent the last four months building a system that reflects their priorities."


That means student achievement on standardized tests and what the principal observes in the classroom will lead to more pay instead of seniority and advanced degrees.


"We tied everything to student results and teacher performance," Solar said. "Every effective teacher gets a raise, period. How much that raise is will be based on performance and pathway."


Teachers just starting out are paid $40,000, which will increase by $2,500 after their first year if they score at the top of the performance charts. After that, they will receive a $5,000 bump in pay each time they move to a higher bracket.


"We have built this compensation structure toward the goal of being the best place to work," Solar said. "If teachers are at a fork in the road, and are wondering if this is good or bad, we have built this system to be good."


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Information from: The Commercial Appeal, http://www.commercialappeal.com

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