Across the state, school districts are developing their own unique plans to distribute legislative funding based on how well educators are doing their jobs.

Many of the performance-based compensation plans are a mix of elements, such as test data and teacher assessments.

Some districts have plans that emphasize teamwork and collaboration.

"We want to give teachers a carrot, to pull them together — not apart," said Robert Proffit, Washington School District professional development coordinator.

The Legislature earmarked $20 million in one-time funding for the compensation plans. The money will be doled out to districts based on enrollment.

The districts must have their plans to the state Board of Education by July 1. Many districts are frustrated with the short time allotted but say they wouldn't want to pass up the funding opportunity.

Jordan and Granite school boards approved their plans Tuesday night.

Granite District's plan is two-fold. First, participating teachers must create goals for themselves and their students. Money will be distributed based on achievement of these goals. Second, a school that had high participation in the goal-setting then sets three goals for itself. This can be a mix of elements, such as improving attendance, test scores and grade point average.

Jordan District's plan is comprised of 30 percent performance evaluations; 30 percent U-PASS test scores; and 40 percent Indicators of School Quality. ISQ is a survey system the district implemented last spring. Schools are rated on categories such as parent support, teacher excellence and instructional quality.

Weber and Alpine school districts are continuing to work on their plans.

Weber District's plan will be site-based and is being developed by individual schools and specific Weber district departments.

Assessments may focus on both academic and nonacademic measures. Incentives will be based on achieving or exceeding goals related to the individual school performance or district department plans. Evaluation of performance can be measured based on learning tools and instructional quality, but can also include parent, student and faculty surveys. Distinguished practices, knowledge, skill levels, student growth and advanced training also will be considered.

At Weber District, the funds will be awarded based on entire groups achieving or exceeding the goals which they have established. If performance levels aren't reached, the entire school or district department won't be eligible.

Alpine District's plan has two segments. First, teachers will be evaluated and assessed as a team based on 22 different points, including alignment to the state core and curriculum mapping. Second, teacher teams will be assessed by a committee comprised of the school principal, PTA or PTSO president and school community council chairperson.

"That way there is parent representation," said Rob Smith, Alpine District business administrator.

In Alpine, a team would consist, for example, of all first-grade teachers at one school or all the teachers in a high school science department.

"Our focus is on collaboration," Smith said. "By using a team incentive, we are hoping that information, best practices and teaching strategies are shared."

Washington District's plan, approved last week, has five levels and is based on teams. "Any performance-based pay that pits teachers against each other in the long run will lead to a less functional school," Proffit said.

The plan starts with team collaboration; implementation of instruction; and student achievement — which includes U-PASS scores.

The fourth level is leadership, and includes principals, team leaders and staff developers. They get bonus money if their teams pass levels one and three.

The fifth level is only if there is money left over. The funds would be distributed to schools that succeeded in levels two and three and/or had 10 percent gains in U-PASS.


E-mail: astewart@desnews.com