Performance-pay pilot program for Virginia schools unveiled

- Posted on Jul 27, 2011 - 03:54 PM

Gov. Bob McDonnell has announced that teachers in 25 schools across the commonwealth will participate in performance-pay pilot programs during the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 school years. The participating schools are located in 13, or 10 percent, of Virginia’s 132 school divisions. No local schools are participating.

The participating schools must implement the performance standards and model teacher-evaluation system approved by the Virginia Board of Education in April. The system bases 40 percent of a teacher’s evaluation on student academic growth.

The Virginia Teacher Evaluation Work Group developed Guidelines for Uniform Performance Standards and Evaluation Criteria for Teachers and the Virginia Standards for the Professional Practice of Teachers for use in this pilot program.

The work group consisted of teachers, principals, superintendents, Virginia Department of Education staff and representatives from the Virginia School Boards Association, Virginia Association of Elementary School Principals, Virginia Association of Secondary School Principals, Virginia Education Association, Virginia Parent Teacher Association, Virginia Association of Elementary School Principals, and Virginia Association of School Superintendents.

"There is a growing consensus that public schools must move beyond a compensation model that equally rewards mediocrity and excellence and is rooted in a past when our young people did not face fierce global competition," McDonnell said.

"Bipartisan support, at both the state and federal levels, is allowing Virginia to implement performance pay in some of the Commonwealth’s most hard-to-staff rural and urban schools. The performance-pay pilot will provide a foundation for compensation reform that will reward excellence and attract new talent to the Commonwealth’s classrooms," he added.

The 2011 General Assembly approved McDonnell’s request for $3 million to reward teachers in hard-to-staff schools based on student growth and other performances measures during the 2011-2012 school year. The legislation authorizes performance-pay bonuses of up to $5,000 for teachers earning exemplary ratings. Federal support is provided through $3 million from the School Improvement Grant that Virginia received in April 2010 to fund reforms in low-achieving schools.

School divisions with one or more schools participating in the pilot are Accomack, Caroline, Colonial Beach, Dinwiddie, Fluvanna, Franklin, Greensville, Hopewell, Northampton, Patrick, Petersburg, Richmond (city) and Roanoke. The Virginia Department of Education and the College of William and Mary School of Education will conduct two training sessions this summer for participating schools on implementing the new model for evaluating teachers.