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How I Teach
January 2, 2019
This Detroit master teacher doesn’t mind the tough adjustment to a new curriculum. ‘It just works.’
Here, in a feature we call How I Teach, we ask educators who’ve been recognized for their work how they approach their jobs.
December 22, 2017
Week in Review: Nowhere to hide while trying to improve schools
As 2017 careens to a close, Detroit school leaders have been summoned to district headquarters to explain, one by one, what they’re doing…
Struggling Detroit schools
December 5, 2017
A Detroit district plan would allow ‘master teachers’ to coach less experienced colleagues and reduce class sizes
The program will enable schools to have model classrooms where less experienced teachers can go to watch master teachers work.
Week In Review
June 30, 2017
The week in review: Goodbye, EAA and master teachers. Hello, Alycia Meriweather and Big Sean
Long-struggling schools in a special turnaround district are returning to Detroit’s district — just as new schools chief Nikolai Vitti shakes up the central administration.
August 24, 2015
To keep top teachers, principals of struggling schools offer bigger paychecks
City officials won't yet release hiring data for the $4.9 million leadership program, but people at Renewal schools say it's working, with some limitations.
September 17, 2014
Few teachers see raises through contract's paid leadership roles, so far
The limited rollout of new teacher leadership positions, to less than 2 percent of the school system, initially, is emblematic of how cautious the city is being in early stages of implementing a new pay model that departs significantly from the way city teachers have been paid for decades.
April 14, 2014
Thirteen city “master teachers” to receive $60,000 bonuses over four years
Updated at 6:02 p.m. — Thirteen “master teachers” working in New York City schools will receive a $60,000 bonus paid over the next four…
July 31, 2012
City dissolves fleet of "master" and "turnaround" teachers
The teachers union's victory in a legal fight over the city's "turnaround" plans kept thousands of teachers at 24 struggling schools from losing their positions. But it has also put another group of teachers at risk. They are the "master" and "turnaround" teachers, a cohort of experienced educators selected to put in extra hours helping their colleagues in exchange for extra pay. The positions were funded through federal School Improvement Grants, but without turnaround or another overhaul process in place at the schools, those funds will not flow to the city. Last week, just after the city's final bid to reinstate turnaround failed, the 71 master and turnaround teachers got a letter from the Department of Education telling them to look for other positions. The demise of the elite positions has given rise to yet another city-union dispute centered around the schools formerly slated for turnaround.
September 23, 2010
City wins $36 million federal grant to expand performance pay
The federal government is giving the city $36 million to expand a performance pay program that gives large bonuses to high-performing teachers in struggling schools. The money is a percentage of the $442 million Teacher Incentive Fund doled out today to more than 60 groups, including states, school districts, charter school operators and non-profits. Federal officials are handing out the grants the same week as a major study of merit pay in Nashville found that offering teachers up to $15,000 bonuses had little effect on student academic achievement. The award aims to let the city hire "master" and "turnaround" teachers for 75 low-performing schools. The two groups of teachers have full or nearly-full course loads and devote extra time to training or mentoring other teachers at their schools. Turnaround teachers, who will work an estimated 30 hours more per year, get bonuses of 15 percent of their salaries. Master teachers work an extra 100 hours and receive 30 percent bonuses. Both categories of teacher are also required to maintain a "highly effective" rating under the state's new teacher evaluation system, based partly on their students' test scores.
July 26, 2010
Recruiting begins for "master" and "turnaround" teachers
Let the transforming begin. The city has sent out letters encouraging teachers to apply for new positions that offer large annual bonuses in return for putting in more hours at struggling schools. As part of a performance pay deal struck between the city teachers union and the Department of Education, these "master" and "turnaround" teacher positions will only be offered to exemplary teachers who want to serve as role models for their colleagues. The idea is for the teachers to help with curriculum-writing and to perform model lessons for their colleagues. But experience isn't the main qualifier; applicants only have to have completed one year of teaching. In exchange for the extra work — which is expected to take 30 hours each year — turnaround teachers get bonuses of 15 percent of their salaries. Master teachers work an extra 100 hours and get bonuses of 30 percent. In order to stay in the three-year program, teachers have to maintain a "highly effective" rating each year. It's a bit of a gamble for them: if the experiment fails and the city decides to close the struggling schools, these teachers will have no right to return to their current schools.
June 24, 2010
City, union agree to performance pay deal for struggling schools
The city and the teachers union have struck a performance pay deal that will tie some teachers' salaries to a range of measures of their effectiveness, including their students' test scores. The deal is part of a federal grant program to "turn around" the city's most struggling schools. It also builds on a teacher evaluation agreement reached between the union and state education officials last month. According to the deal, 34 schools that have been designated as persistently lowest achieving will be able to pay model teachers significantly more money to take on greater responsibilities. Deemed the best-of-the-best, these teachers will mentor their colleagues, write curriculum, and open their classrooms to teachers who want to watch a lesson. City officials have decided that 11 of these 34 schools will undergo the transformation model beginning next September. This means they can get support services, have an extended school day or an entirely new schedule, and can keep the teachers they have. In some cases, the city may decide to replace these schools' principals.
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