Local News

Tobacco Company Makes Good On Offer Of Teacher Bonuses at Improving Wilson School

Posted August 29, 2003 11:42 a.m. EDT

— In the hopes of attracting better teachers to a low-performing school, a tobacco company last year offered teacher bonuses if the school met state standards.

The plan worked, and

Standard Commercial Corp.

presented a $65,000 check --- $2,500 for each of 26 teachers -- Thursday at Vick Elementary, formerly called Daniels Elementary.

"This is a win-win situation for everybody," said Pete Harrison, president and CEO of Standard Commercial. "It's an investment not just at Vick, but in the future of our community."

In order for teachers to receive the bonus, the school had to meet growth and performance standards on

North Carolinas ABCs of Public Education.

Teachers already receive a bonus from the state if these requirements are met after the first administration of end-of-grade tests, but Standard Commercials program offered additional money for teachers after students took the EOGs a third time.

Vick was chosen because in the past its students have not performed well on those tests.

Students met expected growth for the first time ever on the first administration of tests and 74.7 percent of the students were on grade level. After the third testing, the school met high growth standards, and more than 84 percent of the students were on grade level.

Harrison presented the $65,000 check to school superintendent Larry Price at a reception Thursday at Vick Elementary.

Melba Fulghum, one of the teachers who will receive the bonus, taught at the school for the first time during the 2002-03 school year. She said she transferred to the school because of the bonus program and because she wanted to work again with Jeanette Davis, the school principal.

"I knew in my heart I was making the right decision if Standard Commercial and Ms. Davis believed in Daniels, too," Fulghum said. "The bonus is wonderful, but the true bonus is seeing the students succeed."