Arizona Ready-for-Rigor Project awards $1.2M to K-12 educators

December 13, 2011

The Arizona Ready-for-Rigor Project is distributing more than $1.2 million to almost 500 teachers and educators at 17 schools in 10 Arizona school districts participating in the first annual wave of performance-based compensation. This program is part of the five-year $43.8 million U.S. Department of Education Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) grant being administered by ASU’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College.

This competitive program provides performance-based compensation to Arizona teachers and school administrators based on effectiveness ratings generated through personnel or employee evaluations, student achievement scores, and overall school scores. Download Full Image

Performance-based compensation amounts are differentiated, awarding higher incentives to teachers and principals evidencing higher effectiveness ratings via their multiple evaluation measures, and student scoring based on their AIMS results. The project works in cooperation with the Arizona Department of Education to collect and interpret these data.

For the 2010-2011 academic year, $1,195,177 was distributed to 470 teachers. Individual payouts varied, based on the teachers performance scores, ranging from zero to $9,040; the average pay-out was $2,541. Additionally, 23 administrators (principals and assistant principals) in these districts earned a total of $50,707.

“Highly effective teachers and principals receive monetary rewards for their positive impact on student growth in reading and mathematics,” says Virginia McElyea, executive director of the Arizona Ready-for-Rigor Project. “This incentive is one factor that sustains a culture focused on students’ achievement in a school.”

All teachers and educators, including principals, who participate in the program are provided mentors for personal assistance, and training and developmental advancement through the TAP System for Teacher and Student Advancement. TAP is coordinated in partnership with the National Institute of Excellence in Teaching.

The 17 schools in the first wave of the project are from the following Arizona school districts: Cedar, Douglas, Gadsden, Ganado, Glendale, Mesa, Osborn, Sunnyside, UPSI and Window Rock. For the 2011-2012 academic year, the project has expanded to nearly 50 schools in 12 districts. More than 1,500 teachers are now involved, impacting 25,000 students.

The Ready-for-Rigor Project aims to develop and implement a performance-based compensation system in historically struggling schools for the purpose of increasing student achievement, retaining highly-effective educators, and fostering exemplary school culture in the highest-need communities across Arizona. To learn more about this project, and other grants involving the ASU Teachers College, please visit  

ASU’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College is unique among education schools – we are nationally known for our innovative and successful teacher preparation programs, the quality of our graduates and the strength of our school partnerships. Consistently ranked as a top graduate program by U.S. News & World Report, we are a force for discovery, helping to shape students into progressive leaders who will impact the future.

CSW holiday drive benefits ASU families, foster children

December 13, 2011

The generosity of ASU staff, faculty and students is making this holiday season a little brighter for several ASU families and foster children in the Valley of the Sun. For the first time, this fall the ASU Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) conducted a holiday drive to benefit ASU families and foster children.

The CSW worked with a variety of programs for the holiday drive. The CSW adopted student and staff families through “Adopt-A-Family” programs run through ASU Employee Assistance and ASU Family Resources. The CSW at the Polytechnic campus collected items for the ASU Police Toy & Food drive, which directly benefits ASU families, particularly student families in need. Additionally, the CSW collected hundreds of gift items to benefit Arizonans for Children, a nonprofit organization that provides holiday gifts to valley children who have been abused, neglected or abandoned and are now in the foster care system. For the children sponsored by Arizonans for Children, the gifts they receive from the program are likely to be the only gifts that they receive this holiday season. donated toys Download Full Image

The drive was a huge success, with the CSW collecting hundreds of new gift items for all of the programs. The holiday drive had some unexpected gifts as well.

“Going into the drive, the CSW was looking for a way that we could benefit ASU families and also Arizonans for Children directly, but as an added bonus, we were able to increase the visibility of all of these programs,” said Karen Engler, senior coordinator for the commission. “The CSW office received dozens of calls from administrative units, looking for how they could adopt families – and we were able to connect them to the coordinators for programs at Employee Assistance and Family Resources. Similarly, we also received calls from families in need and we were able to connect them to the appropriate resources.”

Arizonans for Children was particularly grateful for the donations from ASU, she said. One of the coordinators for their program noted they had received multiple donations from ASU staff, in addition to the donations provided through the CSW. “One lady brought by two big bags of fashion items for teenage girls. She smiled, left the bag on the table, said ‘ASU’ and left. We call her the Sparky Santa,” the coordinator said.

“The CSW holiday drive reminds us that ASU cares about its staff and students, and cares about those in our community who are in need. When there is need, ASU responds in a big way,” said Engler.

The ASU Commission on the Status of Women was created in 1991 by the ASU president to monitor the advancement of women at the university in three major areas: equity, career development and climate. Since its inception, the commission has sponsored and hosted many events and activities that have helped to increase the status of women at ASU. More information is available online at or at 480-965-2958.

Amelia Huggins,