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Millions come to Florida school districts for evaluation improvements



Several Florida school districts including Hillsborough County today won millions of dollars in a federal Teacher Incentive Fund grant  aimed at improving teacher pay and professional opportunities in high-poverty schools. The money also can go toward implementing improved teacher evaluations.

"Our best teachers and principals are invaluable leaders in changing life outcomes for students," U.S. education secretary Arne Duncan said in a release. "They are desperately needed in our struggling schools, and they deserve to be recognized, rewarded, and given the opportunity to have a greater influence on their colleagues, students, and in their communities."

Hillsborough will get $16.8 million in the first two years of the program. Its project description focuses on putting the district's new evaluation system in place:

The HCMS aims to increase the percentage of educators in project schools earning performance-based compensation, increase the percentage of highly effective teachers recruited to and retained in project schools, establish teacher leaders, and integrate data management systems.  The performance-based compensation system (PBCS) builds on the performance-based salary structure already in place since July 2010. The new PBCS will overlay a defined career ladder that ties movement up and down the ladder to educator evaluation results.  Additional compensation will be available for teachers who take on responsibilities through the Teacher Leader role.  Finally, teachers rated highly effective can earn recruitment and retention bonuses.

Other Florida districts receiving grants are Gilchrist, Broward, Miami-Dade and Lee. See the project descriptions here.

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