Administrators in Arkansas’ Little Rock School Districtwanted to link financial awards for teachers to academic improvement in their students. The teachers agreed to the program without knowing what the payoff would be.
With the help of a donor, the district introduced the program last year in two elementary schools. When teachers saw bonus checks of up to $10,000, they were overwhelmed, says Joseph Mittiga, public affairs officer for the school district.
Support staff such as secretaries and janitors also stood to gain at least $1,000 if student performance at their school improved.
The merit pay program encourages teachers and staff to work more cohesively and demonstrates that the entire school has a share in each child’s success, Mittiga says.
While donors and grants have picked up the tab for including three more schools this year, the school district has invested about $600,000 for the first two schools. The program is poised to benefit 25 teachers this year. The district is looking for funding to expand the program to its other 43 schools.
Contact: Joseph Mittiga, public affairs officer for the Little Rock School District, at firstname.lastname@example.org.