State Pumps $10.2 Million into Alternative Teacher Comp Plans

Education leaders in North Carolina are intent on testing alternatives to teacher compensation, which has long been structured by years of experience and level of education. The state has committed $10.2 million to six school systems over three years to run pilots. The initiative was kicked off last year when state lawmakers passed an accountability pilot program that referenced funding of programs "linking teacher performance and professional growth to salary increases."

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, one district chosen to participate, will receive $2.65 million to fund a second phase of the district's "Success by Design" program. The system received a $237,000 grant during the 2016-2017 school year in state funding to plan that pilot. The latest round of money will be used to put a professional-development pathway for each advanced "teacher-leader" in 31 CMS schools during the new school year.

Participating principals can move "proven, outstanding teachers" into advanced roles with more pay. Teachers go through a rigorous qualification process and then may pursue one of five "reach positions," which fall into two basic types:

  • "Multi-classroom leaders," who may teach classes of their own but are also accountable for coaching, modeling and co-teaching a small team of teachers; and
  • "Direct reach teachers," who teach more students than allowed under state class size restrictions.

Participants — teachers and principals — receive intensive professional development and coaching.

The grant will also enable the district to cover the cost of a data analyst and program specialist.

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, another recipient of the pilot funding, will expand its "Project ADVANCE" program. The district has long attracted experienced teachers who receive a bump in their salaries from the district. Under the new program teachers receive badges for doing goal-related professional development, implementing new practices and showing evidence of positive outcomes in the classroom; those badges may lead to supplemental pay.

According to reporting in the News & Observer, new teachers "can make much more sooner," which may help with retention of those teachers.

The other districts participating in the pilots include Edgecombe, Vance, Pitt and Washington counties.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.