Calcasieu gets $7.8M grant from U.S. Department of Education - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Calcasieu gets $7.8M grant from U.S. Dept. of Education

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CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) -

The U.S. Department of Education announced Thursday a $7,862,857 grant awarded to Calcasieu Parish School System to improve pay structures and provide greater professional opportunities to teachers in high poverty schools. 

According to a news release from the department, the Calcasieu Parish School System is among 35 winning applicants, comprise districts, partnering districts, states, and nonprofits that together serve nearly 1,000 schools in 150 urban, suburban, and rural school districts in 18 states and D.C.

 "Whether urban or rural, traditional or charter, successful schools are not possible without great teaching and leadership," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in the release. "Our best teachers and principals are invaluable leaders in changing life outcomes for students. They are desperately needed in our struggling schools, and they deserve to be recognized, rewarded, and given the opportunity to have a greater influence on their colleagues, students, and in their communities."

The release states that applicants submitted proposals, developed in part by teachers, that provide opportunities for teacher leadership and advancement, put in place district-wide evaluations based on multiple measures that include student growth, and improve decision-making through better evaluations.

"The Teacher Incentive Fund called on local leaders to engage teachers in influencing the future of the teaching profession," said Assistant Secretary for the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education Deb Delisle. "Many more districts will benefit tremendously from an investment in scaling up and securing the talents and abilities of effective teachers and principals within their toughest schools."

According to the release, the 2012 TIF program encouraged districts to enhance educator compensation systems through one of two models – career ladders or performance-based pay with the option for additional responsibilities.

With either model, applicants were able to submit a general proposal or a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) focused proposal, the release continues.

Twenty-nine winners received funding to create general, district-wide evaluation systems that reward success and drive decision-making on recruiting, retaining, and providing additional responsibilities to great teachers. Among the 29 projects, two grantees – New York City Public Schools and L.A. Unified School District - will pursue compensation systems based around career ladders. Six will focus on developing and supporting excellent science and math teachers. 

The 35 winners were reportedly selected from a pool of over 120 applications. Award amounts represent the first two years of funding over the 5-year grant period. Continued funding is contingent upon congressional action.

For more information on the TIF program and the 2012 grantees, visit: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/teacherincentive/awards.html.

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