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Teachers take active role in focus on training
Schools for Excellence initiative piloted at 18 Maine schools with focus on training and incentives
August 31, 2011
AUGUSTA — Teachers at 18 schools in five Maine school districts are participating in focused and integrated professional development, and developing new evaluation and performance-based pay systems this fall. The goal: improved achievement for their 5,500 students.
The Maine Schools for Excellence initiative ties together intensive professional development for the 450 teachers in five school districts with meaningful performance evaluations developed largely by the teachers themselves and incentives and stipends that reward educators for increased student learning.
“The most important thing we can do to improve student achievement is to put an effective teacher in every classroom,” said Gov. Paul LePage, who has made teacher preparation, effectiveness and accountability an education priority. “I am confident the schools and teachers in this program will provide a model for others to follow.”
Maine Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen said the initiative is only one piece of a growing focus on teacher effectiveness that includes the state’s School Improvement Grant schools, other efforts to develop evaluation systems that include student progress as one of a variety of measures, and improvements to teacher preparation programs.
“We expect a lot of our teachers and if we are to hold them accountable, as we should, we must also provide them with the right training and fair tools for measuring success,” Bowen said. “The professionals participating in this project will blaze the trail for others interested in using assessment and student learning data to help teachers help their students to succeed.”
The initiative is a five-year pilot project of the Maine Department of Education and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Teacher Incentive Fund. The Maine Department of Education is working closely with the participating school districts: Lewiston Public Schools; School Administrative District 24, Van Buren; and Regional School Unit 12, Whitefield; RSU 55, Hiram; and RSU 74, Anson.
This fall, teachers will participate in Take One!, a course of professional development offered through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards that moves teachers toward earning the National Board certification, an advanced and nationally recognized teaching credential.
Also this year, teachers and administrators will set “stretch goals” for improving student achievement. When schools as a whole meet the goals, teachers and administrators become eligible to receive bonuses. Teachers can receive up to $7,500 in incentives and stipends offered through the Schools for Excellence program.
In subsequent years, teachers and administrators will be eligible for incentives based on individual performance. The measures for these incentives will be developed through a collaboration among all members of the school community, including teachers, the school board, parents, and administrators.
“Our goal is to improve educator effectiveness and student learning by building a system based on sound measurement, frequent feedback, targeted professional development, and rewards for effective teaching,” said Scott Harrison, the Schools for Excellence project director.
More details about the initiative are available on the Maine Schools for Excellence web page: http://maine.gov/education/educator-effectiveness/excellence .
Lewiston Public Schools
Maine School Administrative District 24
Regional School Unit 12
Regional School Unit 55
Regional School Unit 74
David Connerty-Marin | Director of Communications | 207-624-6880 | David.Connerty-Marin@Maine.gov
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