Teachers at 14 Shelby County Schools will receive $2,000 to $3,000 in bonuses for helping students meet or exceed achievement goals on state tests during the 2013-14 school year.

The funds are provided through the Teacher Incentive Fund, a federal five-year grant that is in its fourth year for the district.  Since its inception, teachers at 37 schools in Shelby County have received the money.

“The grant helps schools provide incentives for teachers at schools with high turnover and academic challenges,” said Cynthia Alexander, assistant superintendent of academics.  “Both legacy Memphis City Schools and legacy Shelby County Schools had money from the grant when the districts merged.”

Performance bonuses are also awarded to principals, assistant principals and support staff.  Principals can receive $5,000 to $6,000, assistant principals, $3,000 to $4,000 and support staff members up to $1,500.

The goal of the Teacher Incentive Fund is to increase the presence of effective teachers working in hard to staff subjects at schools in poor and minority communities, according to its website.

Principals or selected representatives from the 14 schools were recognized during the school board’s November business meeting.  The individual schools were awarded various amounts that ranged from $26,000 to $141,000.  Recipients of the funds this year are Alcy Elementary, Booker T. Washington High, Egypt Elementary, Lester Middle, Dexter Elementary, Dexter Middle, Highland Oaks Elementary, Highland Oaks Middle, Lowrance Elementary, Lucy Elementary, Northaven Elementary, Southwind Elementary, Southwind High and Woodstock Middle.

To participate in the program during the current 2014-15 school year, teachers must meet several guidelines including maintaining a good attendance record and high classroom observation scores.  A teacher cannot miss more than 10 instructional days and will be disqualified if they receive a classroom observation score of “1” or “2”.

Teachers can choose to participate or opt out of in the Teacher Incentive Fund, according to a form distributed this school year.

Contact Tajuana Cheshier at tcheshier@chalkbeat.org and (901) 730-4013.

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