School corporations across Indiana have been selected to receive a portion of $10 million to recognize their best teachers. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Tony Bennett announced on Jan. 11 the 40 schools and school corporations the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) will recommend to the State Budget Committee as recipients of Indiana’s Excellence in Performance for Teachers grant.
In LaGrange County, Westview School Corporation will receive $304,000 to reward teachers that are evaluated as “Effective” and “Highly Effective.”
According to Michell Grewe, Westview’s coordinator of curriculum instruction and assessment, who wrote the grant, 124 schools applied for the funding. She noted that the schools have not been officially notified of the funds, as it still needs final approval from the state’s budget committee.
While writing the grant, Grewe had to show how Westview was implementing the state’s evaluation system, or plans that were being put into place in the district. She added that some areas were still being developed, and noted that in the application.
The money from the grant will be placed in a fund within the district and, once evaluations are finished, be distributed to teachers who have been successful in the various areas outlined in the evaluation, such as leadership. Once the district knows how many teachers qualify for the incentives, it will divide the funds among those teachers.
“This grant money is a good thing to offer our teachers,” Grewe said.
The Excellence in Performance for Teachers grant was established by the Indiana General Assembly during the 2011 legislative session in an effort to help school corporations recruit and retain effective educators. Selected applications featured performance and compensation systems aligned to state laws requiring school corporations to differentiate teacher performance, provide meaningful feedback to help all teachers improve, and financially reward their best teachers.
“A dramatic culture shift is taking place right now in our schools as a result of the education policies Indiana advanced in less than four years,” Bennett stated. “These are the districts and schools leading that shift by implementing fair and comprehensive evaluation and compensation policies that aim to develop all teachers and keep our finest in the profession.”
Funding received through the grant may only be spent to reward educators evaluated as “Effective” and “Highly Effective” using an evaluation tool that is comprehensive, considers student performance, and meets all requirements outlined in state law.