Office of Governor Bob McDonnell
SALEM – Governor Bob McDonnell today announced Strategic Compensation Grants totaling $4.5 million to provide performance and incentive payments of up to $5,000 for teachers in 13 school divisions who meet goals related to student achievement, professional growth and leadership. McDonnell announced the awards at Andrew Lewis Middle School as he began his statewide "This Commonwealth of Opportunity" tour with a stop highlighting implementation of a key piece of his All Students K-12 education reform agenda.
The Strategic Compensation Grant program is part of McDonnell's "ALL STUDENTS" education reform agenda and was approved by the 2013 General Assembly. The strategic compensation legislation was sponsored by House Majority Leader Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) and Senator Jill Vogel (R-Fauquier). McDonnell proposed the grant program as a means to encourage school divisions to collaborate with teachers to create compensation models – such as the pioneering teacher-designed incentive program adopted by Salem Public Schools in 2011 – that reward classroom educators whose efforts enable schools and divisions to meet strategic goals.
In announcing the awards today, Governor McDonnell said, "Since the beginning of this administration, we have worked to implement reforms to ensure that all children, regardless of their zip code, have access to a quality education. These grants move us closer to achieving this goal by rewarding excellence and leadership while providing incentives for good teachers who take on challenges in the schools where they are needed the most. Teachers who stay late, mentor new colleagues, accept assignments in hard-to-staff schools and whose students consistently do well deserve more than our thanks; they deserve to be rewarded. I congratulate these 13 school divisions for their openness to reform and innovation and their willingness to collaborate with teachers on how best to achieve strategic goals for improving student outcomes."
Effective July 1st, the Budget approved by the General Assembly gave school divisions until July 15th to submit applications to the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) for funding. School divisions were encouraged to design plans that would reward teachers for increasing student achievement, improving the quality of instruction and strengthening school leadership — especially in hard-to-staff schools and in critical shortage subjects.
Nineteen school divisions indicated interest in applying to the grant program. To help school divisions with the process, the Secretary of Education partnered with the Virginia Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development to host a one day Symposium for all interested divisions. Thirteen divisions applied for Strategic Compensation Grants and a VDOE review panel determined this week that all of the applications met the approval criteria — including the involvement of teachers in the development of the model — to be funded. The review panel included representation from the Virginia Association of School Superintendents, Virginia Education Association, Virginia Association of Elementary School Principals and Virginia Association of Secondary School Principals.
More than 1,400 teachers in the 13 divisions could receive performance and incentive payments by meeting the goals identified in the applications and earning positive performance evaluations. Teachers must be licensed and teaching in their endorsement area to participate.
"The beginning of the new school year will be especially exciting in these divisions as teachers collaborate to meet school- and division-level objectives for improving instruction and student outcomes," Secretary of Education Laura Fornash said. "I commend the superintendents, school board members, principals and teachers in these divisions for their willingness to embrace innovation and reform."
"I congratulate the superintendents and school boards of the divisions that applied for these grants for their willingness to think outside of the box and create new opportunities for their teachers," Wright said. "The applications address the governor's goals as well as the unique leadership and instructional needs of each division."
2013 Strategic Compensation Grant Recipients
During 2011-2012, 25 schools took part in the governor's Performance Pay Pilot Initiative. Of the 782 participating teachers, 225, or 29 percent, earned exemplary ratings and were awarded performance bonuses of $600 to $5,000. Teachers in the participating schools were evaluated using the Board of Education's 2011 Guidelines for Uniform Performance Standards and Evaluation Criteria. Under the model system, 40 percent of a teacher's performance evaluation is based on student academic progress.