School Board approves incentive pay for teachers

School Board approves incentive pay for teachers
Posted on 11/22/2013
On Thursday, November 21, the Waco ISD Board of Trustees unanimously approved an incentive pay plan for campuses and teachers. The performance-based plan, dubbed STAAR Masters, is comprised of three components. It sets expectations for student performance and provides bonuses for campuses and teachers who meet or surpass those expectations.

Download the plan (PDF)

Component One: Campus Met Standard
Ten dollars per student enrolled on a campus the first instructional day in May of the tested school year will be given for campuses earning TEA Met Standard status. Principals have opted to use campus committees to determine use of Component One monies. Component One monies may be used for merit pay, staff development, tutoring, transportation for tutoring, purchase of instructional materials/supplies, reasonably priced staff shirt, one staff celebratory meal held on campus, etc.

Each principal will sign the final determination list of his/her campus committee. The list will be forwarded to the appropriate campus executive director for signature, who will, in turn, forward the document to the business office. Campus committee decisions for Component One monies are considered final. If a campus is in transition with a new principal, decisions on use of Component One monies may be overseen by the school’s executive director.

Component One monies will be added to 2014-15 campus budgets. Principals have an August 1 deadline to submit amounts/account codes for funds to be included in the 2014-15 budget. This deadline also allows for teacher/campus recognition at the August convocation ceremony. If the committee assigns merit pay, those monies will be included with the October 15th pay check. Component One merit payment amounts may not be less than $100 and may not be given to campus administrators.

Example:
Waco High School: 1,574 students x $10 per student = $15,740


Component Two: My-Low-SES Students Passed!
Non GT-Identified Students
The scores of each teacher’s (defined as the teacher who issues grades for STAAR content classes) low SES students who are not identified as gifted/talented are aggregated. STAAR teachers of record are rewarded for the passing performance of their students, even if the campus did not Meet Standard.

Example: An elementary classroom has 22 students. The class has 20 identified low SES students, none of whom are identified as GT.
  • If 60% to 75% of the low SES students pass STAAR, the STAAR teacher of record receives$25 per student.
  • If 75.01% to 90% of the low SES students pass STAAR, the STAAR teacher of record receives $35 per student.
  • If more than 90% of the low SES students pass STAAR, the STAAR teacher of record receives $50 per student.

ATLAS GT-Identified Students
All students in ATLAS classes are identified Gifted. Therefore, the scores of each teacher’s (defined as the teacher who issues grades for STAAR content classes) GT-identified low SES students (evidenced by the pre-coded answer document) are aggregated. STAAR teachers of record are rewarded for the passing performance at the Advanced Level of their identified low SES students, even if the campus did not Meet Standard.

Example: An ATLAS classroom has 22 students. The class has 20 identified low SES Gifted students.
  • If 60 to 75% of the low SES students pass STAAR at the Advanced Level, the STAAR teacher of record receives $25 per student.
  • If 75.01% to 90% of the low SES students pass STAAR at the Advanced Level, the STAAR teacher of record receives $35 per student.
  • If more than 90% of the low SES students pass STAAR at the Advanced Level, the STAAR teacher of record receives $50 per student.

GT-Identified Students in Mixed Classes
The scores of each teacher’s (defined as the teacher who issues grades for STAAR content classes) GT-identified low SES students (evidenced by the pre- coded answer document) are aggregated. STAAR teachers of record are rewarded for the passing performance at the Advanced level of their identified GT students, even if the campus did not Meet Standard.

Additionally, the scores of each teacher’s (defined as the teacher who issues grades for STAAR content classes) low SES students who are not identified as gifted/talented are aggregated. STAAR teachers of record are rewarded for the passing performance of their students even if the campus did not Meet Standard.

Example: An elementary classroom has 22 students. The class has 20 low SES students, four of whom are identified GT. The number of low-SES students passing and the number of identified GT low SES students passing at the Advanced Level are added to give a GT-mixed passing rate.
  • If the GT-mixed STAAR passing rate is 60% to 75%, the STAAR teacher of record receives $25 per student.
  • If the GT-mixed STAAR passing rate is 75.01% to 90%, the STAAR teacher of record receives $35 per student.
  • If the GT-mixed STAAR passing rate is more than 90%, the STAAR teacher of record receives $50 per student.

Component Three: Advanced Placement Teachers
The Advanced Placement teacher who issues grades for the AP class must have a minimum of 50% of the total AP students for his/her aggregate class roster actually take the AP exam in order to qualify for AP merit pay.

Qualifying teachers who continue to teach in WISD the following school year will receive AP merit pay in the following amounts:
  • $55 per student who scores a 3 on the AP exam for the course
  • $65 per student who scores a 4 on the AP exam for the course
  • $75 per student who scores a 5 on the AP exam for the course

Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are incentives subject to deductions?
A: State and local laws require that all monies paid to employees be taxed.

Q: How is this program fair? A second grade teacher is not eligible for these incentives because second grade is not a STAAR-tested grade.
A: Teachers are welcome to request a transfer to any STAAR-tested grade for which the teacher is certified to teach.

Q: I teach third grade. We only have opportunity for incentive pay for two tests (reading and math). A fourth grade teacher is eligible for incentive pay for three tests (math, reading, and writing). What gives with that?
A: Teachers are welcome to request a transfer to any STAAR-tested grade for which the teacher is certified to teach.

Q: About what might this cost in Advanced Placement incentive monies?
A: If this plan had been in place last year and nothing was considered except monies for any three, four and five scores, the payout would have been $5,070.

Q: Won’t this program encourage cheating?
A: WISD has established that cheating may not occur in any way, shape, form nor circumstance. WISD teachers do not have to cheat to earn incentive pay, they need only to help their students learn. Even though the possibility of earning an extra three or four thousand dollars at some grade levels is appealing, that is hardly enough to risk losing one’s job and one’s teaching credentials for life.

Q: Who is eligible for incentive pay?
A: Teachers of record of STAAR-tested students are eligible. Such teachers as interventionists, instructional specialists, special education inclusion teachers, etc., are eligible to be considered for a portion of each student’s success monies if the principal and teacher of record so authorize.

Q: Will I get my incentive pay money if over the summer if I take a job in a different school district?
A: Incentive pay is provided only to teachers who remain employed in WISD in the 2014-15 school year. Monies earned by teachers who leave WISD will be retained for next year’s teacher/campus incentive programs (if the program is continued), unless a teacher taught a minimum of seven consecutive years in WISD before retiring and is retiring from education via TRS.

Q: If this is “Year One” designated criteria, what will future years look like?
A: STAAR MASTERS incentive pay is only authorized a year at a time. If the plan shows promise, if the plan is directly linked to making a difference in student success rates, if monies are made available; expectation for staff and student could be raised to higher levels.

Q: Does each campus have to participate?
A: A campus principal (or campus committee should a principal use a committee for this option) can choose for a campus to not take part in Component One of the incentive plan. If such occurs, the principal is to notify his/her supervisor in writing by October 15th. Once that decision is forwarded, it stands until the next school year.An individual teacher’s (Component Two) participation is not affected by his/her campus (Component One) decision to not participate.

Q: What about individual teachers? Even if the campus participates, can a teacher refuse to participate?
A: A teacher can make the choice to not participate in Component Two of this incentive plan by notifying the principal in writing before October 15th. Once that decision has been signed by the principal and forwarded to the principal’s supervisor, it stands until the next school year.

Q: Sounds like a lot of money could be spent on this STAAR MASTERS plan. What is the worst case scenario?
A: The “worst-case scenario” financially is the best case scenario instructionally. Assuming a 15,000 student population with 90 percent of low-SES students passing the STAAR tests and each campus Meeting Standard, the payout in incentive pay would exceed $1 million. But the end result of that many students becoming STAAR Masters would be priceless.