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This plan is contemplated as a means of achieving measurable results in reading on a class by class, student by student basis at the elementary school level, In lieu of hiring an additional site based administrative position—reading coach-- for an individual school. The logic behind this plan is that it will: 1. Include multiple stakeholders (all of a schools’ teachers)-each with a vested interest in nurturing and encouraging greater student reading achievement 2. Foster a sense of teamwork toward a common goal among staff 3. Financially reward those that produce high student achievement 4. Empower site based administrators to make staff choices to lead the program. These components will lead to a more focused use of resources to attain a wider bottom up opportunity for success throughout an individual school.
The cost of the program at each school will mirror the cost of providing that school with a full time reading coach, approximately $60,000.00 yearly. (Costs associated with pretests and post tests are specifically excluded from the cost of this plan, as these costs will be borne out by the district regardless of what program will be utilized to realize enhanced reading achievement at each school.)
The program is quite simple in concept. The principal at each school will pick two teachers to serve as “Reading Ambassadors” for their school. Any teacher may apply, but the final decision on what teachers will be chosen rests with the site Principal. These two teachers will, ideally, be among the strongest performing teachers at each school in the opinion of the Principal and Assistant Principal. The Reading Ambassadors will be identified by June 30th of the summer prior to the start of the school year. Each Reading Ambassador will be given an initial bonus of $2,500.00 for taking on the significant duties and responsibilities associated with being a Reading Ambassador at their school. The initial bonus will be payable in two installments, one payment of $1,250.00 on the first paycheck of the school year of plan implementation, and a second payment of $1,250.00 on the last paycheck of the calendar year, prior to the Christmas Break.
What Do Reading Ambassadors Do?
Over the summer prior to the start of the school year, each Reading Ambassador will be tasked with formulating an innovative strategy for increasing reading achievement at
their schools. The Reading Ambassadors will be charged with utilizing existing resources only to target grade level appropriate lesson plans, as no additional budget dollars will be allocated for implementation. Reading Ambassadors will be encouraged to use new ideas, strategies, and implementation methods that they will research, study, and present for approval to the School Principal no later than two weeks prior to the start of the School Year. The School Principal will divide equally the number of teachers in the school and each Reading Ambassador will be assigned half of the teachers to work with. The Reading Ambassadors will still maintain responsibility for their own classrooms, but the two teachers chosen as Ambassadors will each receive one additional duty free “period” per day (in addition to any regular duty free periods ) to utilize for managing their program. Additionally, it is understood that Reading Ambassadors will need to work longer hours and stay later, as required-- and with no extra pay, to successfully implement their reading strategies. Reading Ambassadors will need to utilize technology to maximize the efficiency of their time. A weekly email blast to all of their assigned teachers would be an effective way to impart a week’s lesson, with the email containing a link to a lesson plan idea, or the name of a book or other reading program designated for that weeks’ use. Face to face meetings between the Reading Ambassador and his/her team of teachers will be encouraged as well, as often as schedules permit. A total of 25 weekly lessons, spread throughout the year, will need to be formulated by the Reading Ambassadors and forwarded to each teacher in each Ambassador’s group in adequate time for each teacher to implement the lesson. Emphasis will be on the creative use of inexpensive or free resources to develop these weekly lessons to drive student reading progress. Cross-curricular lesson plans, utilization of games, music, science, history, social studies and/or art will be highly encouraged. Open Source reading instruction resources, such as www.creativecommons.org , www.free-reading.net, or www.scribd.com may also be good resources for use by Reading Ambassadors to develop their weekly reading lessons. Additionally, Reading Ambassadors will be free to, with their principal’s approval, utilize other creative methods to enhance parental participation in these efforts by forging partnerships and buy-in among the PTA, local charitable organizations, our local military, or other appropriate community stakeholders. Reading Ambassadors will be encouraged to act as mentors to the teachers assigned to them, regarding the implementation of these reading lessons. The Reading Ambassador will keep track of the progress of their team’s teachers, and will meet with the school Principal or Assistant Principal regularly to update the progress of the implementation of the reading program. The Reading Ambassador will need to be adaptable, making program adjustments as necessary to keep the program on track and to maximize opportunities for success.
Evaluations and Rewards
Near the conclusion of the school year, district level post-tests will be conducted that will be narrowed to a class by class level. An analysis of the learning gains made in the classes of participating teachers will be utilized to reward those teachers that have produced the highest learning gains among their students. The criteria for assessment shall be equally weighted in the following way. More than 65% of each class’s students must have made gains in reading, AND more than a minimum of 33% of the lowest 25% of reading learners must have made reading gains (Or other grade level, school demographic, and/or special or site appropriate school district mandated benchmark) in order for each classroom teacher to qualify for a reward.
Individual Classroom Teacher Awards for Top Performers (40%)
Rewards for individual classroom teachers based on the learning gains of their students from the beginning of the school year to the end of the school year will equal 40% of the total program budget ($24,000.00). These rewards will be paid out to the top 15 teachers by rank and score based upon the learning gains they helped their individual students accomplish in their classrooms. Monetary rewards for these high performing teachers will be as follows: 1. $3,600.00 (15%) 2. $3,360.00 (14%) 3. $3,120.00 (13%) 4. $2,880.00 (12%) 5. $2,640.00 (11%) 6. $1,440.00 (6%) 7. $1,200.00 (5%) 8. $960.00 (4%) 9. $960.00 (4%) 10. $720.00 (3%) 11. $720.00 (3%) 12. $600.00 (2.5%) 13. $600.00 (2.5%) 14. $600.00 (2.5%) 15. $600.00 (2.5%)
Shared School Improvement Bonus (35%)
All School Employees (all teachers, teacher assistants, janitors, administrative and secretarial staff) will receive a bonus equaling a share of the 35% of the total program budget ($21,000.00) if the school (as a percentage taking all classes into account) makes
a more than 55% reading gain and a minimum of 40% of the lowest 25% of reading learners makes a reading gain. (Or other grade level, school demographic, and/or special or site appropriate school district mandated benchmark) The amount of this reward per person will vary, depending on the number of employees at each school site. 50 Employees = $420.00 bonus per employee 75 Employees = $280.00 bonus per employee 100 Employees = $210.00 bonus per employee
Reading Ambassador Performance Bonus (15% total available)
If more than 60% of the teachers assigned to a particular Reading Ambassador produce classes in which more than 60% of students achieved reading gains (Or other grade level, school demographic, and/or special or site appropriate school district mandated benchmark), then that Reading Ambassador will earn an additional bonus of $2,000.00, payable on the last paycheck of the year prior to Summer Break. This bonus will be in addition to the initial bonus paid to the Reading Ambassador for being selected for this role by the site principal. The reading Ambassador would need, in order to qualify for this additional bonus, to present all documentation gathered and generated in support of his/her program in a neat and organized manner to the Principal prior to disbursement of the final bonus on the final paycheck. The rationale for this is that the school Principal would then have a successful model program that could be utilized in future years by schools throughout the district.
Principal and Assistant Principal Bonus (10%)
If more than 60% of the teachers assigned to a particular school produce classes in which more than 60% of students achieved reading gains, (Or other grade level, school demographic, and/or special or site appropriate school district mandated benchmark) then that School’s Principal and Assistant Principal will earn a Performance Bonus in the following amount: 1. Principal $3,600.00 (6%) 2. Assistant Principal $2,400.00 (4%) If an Elementary School has more than one Assistant Principal, then the distribution would be as follows: 1. Principal 2. Asst. Principal 3. Asst. Principal $3,000.00 (5%) $1,500.00 (2.5%) $1,500.00 (2.5%)
Principals would need, in order to qualify for this bonus, to present all documentation gathered and generated in support of the reading ambassador program at his/her school in a neat and organized manner to the School District’s Reading Director or Curriculum Coordinator prior to disbursement of the final bonus on the final paycheck. The rationale for this is that the School District would then have potentially dozens of successful model programs that could be utilized in future years by schools throughout the district.