September 10, 2010

Biggest Payday Ever For DCPS Teachers 

School system issues new pay raises and $45M in retroactive pay; Announces pay- for-performance system to reward and retain most effective teachers

Contact: Frederick Lewis | (202) 442-5919

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WASHINGTON, DC--Three years ago, District of Columbia Public Schools made a promise to our teachers: Work hard, raise student achievement and you will be rewarded for your efforts.

Today, DCPS honors that commitment by implementing new pay raises for teachers, issuing an unprecedented $45 million in retroactive pay increases, and announcing details of its pay-for-performance system that will affect more than 650 educators rated highly effective on their IMPACT evaluations last year.

“Our teachers, individually and collectively, are the most powerful and important resource in this school district,” said DCPS Chancellor Michelle Rhee. “The progress we’ve made at DCPS over the past three years is mainly due to our many outstanding teachers.”

“These teachers make an invaluable contribution to this city and its future every day,” said Mayor Adrian M. Fenty. “Today, we offer our gratitude for their hard work through a new pay system that will offer a competitive salary and provide incentives to ensure that all students in this city have excellent teachers in their classrooms.”

Highly effective teachers can see their compensation more than double in a few short years through IMPACTplus, a new performance-based compensation system. Annual bonuses for highly effective WTU members could range from $3000 to $25,000, depending on the IMPACTplus category under which they are evaluated and other factors such as the free and reduced-price lunch rate of the schools in which they teach.

Teachers who consistently produce results will become among the highest paid educators in the country, with a possible annual salary of more than $130,000 after nine years (compared to about $87,500 after 21 years under the prior system).

Only WTU members who earn an IMPACT rating of highly effective are eligible for performance pay. Highly effective teachers serve in every ward in the city and nearly a quarter of them have more than 21 years experience. Of the total DCPS teaching force, 16 percent, or 663 teachers, received the highly effective rating.

“I am absolutely delighted they’re rewarding us for our efforts. It’s the hardest job for the least amount of pay, so it’s really nice to be recognized like this,” said Nkenge Burke, a highly effective teacher who teaches the third grade at Barnard Elementary School.

With 10 years classroom experience, four in DCPS, Nkenge says pay for performance not only shows teachers how valuable they are, it also serves to attract and retain the best teachers.

“This says [DCPS is] taking student achievement to a higher level. I applaud Michelle Rhee. She knows what it’s like to be a teacher,” Nkenge said. “We often get certificates of appreciation, which is nice, but when we get compensated, it really says a lot because money doesn’t come easily. If I didn’t work here, I’d want to.”

ANNUAL IMPACT BONUSES

Highly effective teachers whose schools have a free and reduced-price lunch rate of 60 percent or greater can receive a $10,000 bonus; if they are in IMPACT Group 1 (50 percent of their IMPACT assessment comes from student growth data), they can receive an additional $10,000; if they teach in a “high-need” subject, they can receive an additional $5,000 – for a total possible annual bonus of $25,000.

Highly effective teachers whose schools have a free and reduced-price lunch rate of 59 percent or lower can receive a $5,000 bonus; if they are in IMPACT Group 1, they can receive an additional $5,000; and if they teach in a “high need” subject area, they can receive an additional $2,500 – for a total possible bonus of $12,500.

Higher bonuses for teachers at schools with high rates of students who receive free and reduced-price meals – an indicator of poverty – reflect DCPS’ goal of helping our highest-poverty schools, and subject areas, attract and retain outstanding educators.

INCREASE IN BASE SALARY

Teachers who earn a highly effective rating two years in a row are eligible for an increase in their base pay in two ways.

First, teachers will be moved into the master’s degree salary band, if they are not there already. And secondly, teachers will receive a service credit – meaning they will be paid as if they had additional years in the system. The size of the service credit will depend on the free and reduced-price lunch rate of the schools at which they teach.

Highly effective teachers at schools with a free and reduced-price lunch rate of 60 percent or greater will receive a service credit of five years. Highly effective teachers at schools with a free and reduced-price lunch rate of 59 percent or lower will receive a service credit of three years.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

All DCPS teachers will receive a booklet in their school mailboxes today that describes the IMPACTplus performance-based compensation system in detail.

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