In April 2009 the Prince William County Public Schools (PWCS) School Board and Superintendent Dr. Steven L. Walts initiated the development of a recommendation for teacher incentive pay. The Teacher Incentive Performance Award (TIPA) was the result and was approved by the School Board in May 2010, subject to attaining a funding source. In September 2010, Prince William County Public Schools, in partnership with the Community Training and Assistance Center (CTAC), was awarded a Teacher Incentive Fund grant in the amount of $10.9 million over five years.
The goals of TIPA are to:
- Increase student achievement in high need schools.
- Build teacher and principal capacity to improve achievement in high need schools via customized professional development.
- Recruit and retain highly qualified and highly effective teachers and principals in high need schools.
- Increase high need schools’ effectiveness.
These goals are a direct manifestation of the goals of the PWCS Strategic Plan. TIPA is just one part of the systemic reform occurring in PWCS. This reform is all centered around a commitment to the high performance of students, which is a result of a high performing staff, and it engages stakeholders in student learning. TIPA truly embodies the Strategic Plan: student achievement is the driver and end result of this initiative.
TIPA is a performance-based compensation system that exists in schools with 50% or more of their students qualifying for free or reduced lunch. Approximately one-third of the schools in Prince William County are eligible for TIPA and include all three levels: elementary, middle, and high. TIPA focuses on improving performance and rewarding an entire certificated staff based on the school’s performance on a set of 23 locally-developed school effectiveness criteria. These criteria include a focus on student achievement and growth, teaching force quality, and school climate.
A core component of TIPA is the professional development provided to the eligible schools. The intensive, job-embedded professional development is customized according to each school’s needs and other data to improve the capacity of teachers and administrators to deliver and sustain a high-quality instructional program. The TIPA Project Director and three professional development coordinators work in concert with school teams and other central offices that support the schools to design and facilitate professional development. The professional development is designed to promote the growth of teachers and administrators in alignment with the standards-based supervision and evaluation process now used in PWCS (the Professional Performance Process).
The TIPA award structure is based on a whole-school model with tiered levels of compensation. Schools are rank-ordered by their performance on the 23 TIPA school effectiveness criteria. The pool of money to award schools is distributed until it is exhausted. Tier I awards are equal to approximately 5 percent of the average salaries for teachers and principals. Tier I staff are the primary individuals who most directly impact the measured performance outcomes of a school in making AYP and achieving full accreditation status. Tier II awards are awarded to all other certificated staff in the amount of $1000 each. Prince William County Public Schools believes it is critical to recognize Tier II staff for their contribution to the effort of a school and to encourage continued collaboration and teaming across all subject areas.
The Community Training and Assistance Center team includes nationally recognized experts in performance-based compensation reform. They will provide technical assistance and support with TIPA. They are also responsible for the ongoing evaluation of the project.
If you have any questions, contact Natalie Bonshire, TIPA Project Director - firstname.lastname@example.org.