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Wake hopes to expand teacher incentive program

Posted October 22, 2009

Wake County Public School System
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— A new teachers' incentives program in Wake County is earning high marks. Wilburn Elementary School in Raleigh is the only school in the state to have the Teacher Advancement Program, also known as TAP.

After using TAP for one year, the school made Adequate Yearly Progress, and some Wake County school leaders want to expand the program to other schools.

Fifth grade teacher Shakira Williams is one of the teachers using TAP at Wilburn. Every week, she meets with her mentor teacher, Stacy Goode, who helps her devise and dissect her lesson plans.

“It really made me pay more attention as an educator where my strengths are as well as my weaknesses,” Williams said.

Goode mentors seven teachers at the school and helps them brainstorm ideas and go over strategy.

“Just encouraging each other and supporting each other really helps children in the classroom, because we’re all pulling together our best ideas,” Goode said.

Data shows that the ideas seem to be working. Wilburn has 60 percent of its students on Free and Reduced Lunch. This year, the school is off the school improvement list because it made AYP.

TAP rewards that achievement. Every classroom saw a boost in test scores, so every teacher received a bonus. Wilburn paid $52,000 in bonuses among its 49 teachers.

Wake County school board member Eleanor Goettee said she wants other schools to use TAP.

“It’s a serious support system for all teachers in a building,” she said.

TAP trains educators as career, mentor or master teachers, but the staffing and pay-for-performance means the program requires financial support. It costs about $500 per child or $350,000 for a school like Wilburn.

“That’s why, currently, the only schools even able to support this model without additional funds are our school-wide, Title I schools,” Goettee said.

Title I schools, or high-poverty schools, get federal funding, some of which can pay for TAP. Federal teacher incentive grants are good for five years. The Wake school board has directed staff to encourage high-poverty schools to apply in time for next school year.

The Milken Family Foundation created TAP in 1999 to address the nation's teacher shortage and lack of professional development and support.


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  • Watcher Of Things Oct 22, 2009

    I am tired about hearing all about teacher incentives!

    How about putting more money in school supplies?

    For cripes sakes -- they are even begging for hand sanitizer to go with printing paper, paper towels, and whatever else!

    We personally end up spending several hundred dollars in addition to the taxes allocated for running schools ... just to help my son's teachers. I am tired of it! Every time we turn around ... it's more and more and more and screw ME all the way to the ol' poor house!

    GET OUT OF MY BLASTER POCKET ... moochers!

    When will anyone care about the working class that's getting sucked dry by all these revenue they are crying about not having
    that are getting taken from people like me who now REALLY don't have it any more?

  • miketroll3572 Oct 22, 2009

    They're not paid nearly as much as we should be paying them to educate our kids.

    Give me a break, most teachers make more money than I do in a job I have been in for 18yrs. I am so sick of hearing teachers cry about money. Want more? Get a different job and quit bleeding the tax payers dry.

  • A Libertarian Oct 22, 2009

    I have a novel idea. Why don't we make educated kids as part of a teeachers job and ONLY if they go above and beyond to get extra pay. All other teachers need to find employemnt elsewhere.

    The idea schools exist to provide teachers employment is insane. Lets provide schools and teachers to educate kids.

    The next myth is a shortage of teachers. That is the union myth. Actually there are 10's of thousands that cannot get emplyment. Go to any major university and see how many grads cannot find openings.

    Teachers and other employees should be like rpivate industry. The good ones reward and the bad one FIRED!!!

    I know, teachers unions and politicians put there dues / donations in front of our kids!!!

  • deduce Oct 22, 2009

    whatelseisnew, what are those other ways to provide classroom seats?

  • Iwasasoldier4u Oct 22, 2009

    What about the other state employees? Why don't they get bonus' and incentives? The answer I always get is the legislature did not appropriate funds to reward that are really doing an outstanding jobs. What I see is the only state employees that anyone cares about are teachers and the ones that are politically connected in Raleigh. The lower ranking state employees that do a good job get nothing and the higher ranking take and get all the credit.

  • whatelseisnew Oct 22, 2009

    "Any program that awards excellence and extra effort is well-deserved."

    I would hardly characterize "Adequate" as excellence. However, rewarding performance is the way to go. If we get smart and quit building more schools that eat up enormous portions of the wake budget a lot more money could flow to the classrooms. there are other ways to provide classroom seats than to keep building more and more schools.

  • gopack07 Oct 22, 2009

    I saw this presented at a school board meeting the other week and thought it was a great idea! Teachers need more incentives. They're not paid nearly as much as we should be paying them to educate our kids.

  • TestForFun Oct 22, 2009

    I hope we will find the tax dollars to fund teacher raises and incentives like this. For all the complaining I hear about Wake schools, I am delighted with the school and teachers we've had so far. Any program that awards excellence and extra effort is well-deserved.