Henrico to link teacher pay with student performance

By Andy Jenks - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - Students who earn good grades are about to help their teachers cash in. Henrico County Public Schools are linking teacher pay with student performance.

HCPS recently won a $16-million federal grant to pay teachers and school leaders thousands of dollars in yearly bonuses. For now, the goal is to attract and retain the best teachers for some of the county's East End schools.

Henrico County had a problem. Some of the schools in the East End couldn't hold onto their very best teachers for very long. Today, district leaders told the board what it would take to keep them.

"If the financial incentive was great enough, they would stay," said Dr. Chris Corallo, Executive Director of Organizational Development, Quality and Innovation for HCPS.

The "Learning Leaders" grant allows teachers in certain schools to pocket an extra $8,000 a year if their students earn good grades. School leaders could get up to $10,000 a year.

Participation is optional. Our education specialist believes the best teachers would go for it.

"If you wanna play, you can get the pay. But you've gotta show the performance," said Dr. Bill Bosher, a former superintendent.

Students would have to meet certain benchmarks in the four core subject areas of English, math, science and history. If they don't, teachers miss out on the bonus, not their salary.

"No one's gonna lose. So they're gonna get their base. It's not a disincentive. But if you show progress,  then you're gonna get paid," Bosher said.

Only eight schools will benefit in the beginning:

Highland Springs High School.

Fairfield Middle School

Wilder Middle School.

Highland Springs Elementary School

Fair Oaks Elementary School

Laburnum Elementary School

Glen Lea Elementary School

Adams Elementary School

While the board praised this first-time shake-up of teacher pay, critics wonder: Why not do it at every school?

"It's hard for me to say we had to limit it to eight, but again it's a pilot project. And I keep trying to say that to folks that we are trying to learn what's best practice for Henrico," Corallo said.

The incentive plan begins in November and will last five years. It's open only to teachers in the four core subjects, plus special education, and only in those eight schools.

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