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ASU project awards $5.1M to Arizona educators

teacher with students in classroom
December 04, 2013

The Arizona Ready-for-Rigor Project is awarding 2,250 teachers and administrators at 60 high-need Arizona schools with $5.1 million in additional compensation for their performance-based achievements during the 2012-2013 academic year.

The payouts are one of the components within the five-year $43.8 million U.S. Department of Education Teacher Incentive Fund grant administered by Arizona State University’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. Utilizing TAP: The System for Teacher and Student Advancement, the grant provides the participating schools with continuous assistance and support from master and mentor teachers within their schools, professional development opportunities and competitive payouts based on effectiveness ratings generated through classroom observations and growth in student achievement.

"The payout portion is just one of four main components in the TAP System of reforming our educational system," says Virginia McElyea, executive director of the Arizona Ready-for-Rigor Project. "While it’s gratifying to the teachers and administrators to be compensated for their hard work and success, the schools and districts are experiencing another positive result: the longer they’re implementing the TAP program, the better the teachers and students are performing."

As an average, school-wide growth scores have increased 10 percent for the first three years of the grant. Seventy-five percent of all teachers were considered effective teachers based on their evaluation scores through the TAP System. Highlighting the impact of the project, 88 percent of teachers in their third year of the program received this honor, compared to 65 percent of first-year program teachers and 75 percent for second-year teachers.

The $5.1 million was awarded to 2,147 teachers and 102 administrators involved in the project during the 2012-2013 academic year. In total, the teachers received $4,800,000; the remaining $300,000 was awarded to administrators (principals and assistant principals). Individual teacher incentive pay averaged $2,240, with some individuals receiving up to $8,525.

The 60 schools are from 12 participating districts: Avondale Elementary, Chinle Unified, Coolidge Unified, Deer Valley Unified, Gadsden Elementary, Ganado Unified, Glendale Elementary, Littleton Elementary, Mesa Public Schools, Osborn Elementary, San Carlos Unified and Sunnyside Unified.

In total, $10.1 million has been distributed over the first three years of the project. In the 2010-2011 school year, the grant awarded $1.1 million to 500 teachers and administrators from 17 schools. The program expanded to 48 schools for 2011-2012, with 1,750 educators receiving $4 million, and $5.1 million distributed this fall. Sixty schools are again participating in the fourth year of the grant for the 2013-2014 academic year.