McDonnell Launches Teacher Merit-Pay Plan

April 19, 2011

Governor Bob McDonnell has invited 57 school divisions that may have difficulty attracting, retaining and rewarding experienced, fully licensed teachers to participate in his Virginia Performance-Pay Incentives initiative for hard-to-staff schools.

The initiative — which was approved by the 2011 General Assembly — is a centerpiece of McDonnell’s “Opportunity to Learn” education-reform agenda. It provides $3 million in state funding to reward teachers in hard-to-staff schools that earn exemplary ratings during the 2011-2012 school year.

“Teachers who make a commitment to students in hard-to-staff urban and rural schools, despite circumstances that often prompt colleagues to seek assignments elsewhere, deserve our admiration, and when they succeed in raising the achievement of students in these schools, their performance should be rewarded,” McDonnell said.

Schools receiving funding through the competitive-grant program must implement a comprehensive teacher-evaluation system aligned with performance standards and model evaluation systems approved by the Board of Education. At least 40 percent of teacher evaluations must be based on student academic growth, including, when available and appropriate, student-growth data provided by the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE).

“The evaluation guidelines and performance standards awaiting final approval by the Board of Education on April 28 will ensure that performance-pay decisions are fair for all teachers and based on objective criteria," Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia I. Wright said.

In applying for funding, school divisions may designate all teachers within a hard-to-staff school as eligible for performance pay or limit eligibility to specific groups of teachers, such as teachers in reading and mathematics.

The maximum amount a teacher may receive is $5,000.

To participate in the state-funded Virginia Performance-Pay Incentives initiative, a school must meet at least four of eight criteria associated with schools that have difficulty recruiting and retaining effective teachers. The criteria are related to these factors: accreditation, average attendance, percentage of students in special education, percentage of limited-English proficient students, percentage of teachers with provisional licensure, percentage of special education teachers with provisional licensure, percentage of first-year teachers, and the number of first-year teachers in a critical-shortage area.

The eligible schools in Central Virginia, by division, are as follows:

- Albemarle County — Albemarle County Community Public Charter

- Goochland County — Goochland Middle

- Louisa County — Trevilians Elementary

- Orange County — Orange County High

- Page County — Luray Middle


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