Teacher pay incentives worked out in Western Springs
Updated: February 11, 2013 6:10AM
WESTERN SPRINGS — In addition to a 3 percent raise in the second year of a five-year contract, Western Springs Elementary District 101 teachers earned a one-time 1 percent bonus in December, based on 2012 standardized test scores in the spring.
Superintendent Brian Barnhart said 97.4 percent of district students met the Illinois Standard Achievement Test benchmark to award teachers the bonus.
“Our kids have continued to do very well,” Barnhart said.
Bonuses averaged about $600 and will be paid at the end of the school year, he said.
In 2013-14 and the following two years, teachers can earn up to a 1.5 percent salary increase, in addition to the annual 3 percent pay raise, based on academic achievement, academic growth and learning environment.
The first 0.5 percent is tied to academic achievement and will be based on the district’s ranking with 800 Illinois school districts compiled by SchoolSearch, the St. Louis-based research firm known for designating Bright Red Apple Awards.
If District 101 is ranked in the top 25 performing districts, teachers earn a 0.5 percent increase; a 1 percent pay hike is awarded if the district rises to be among the top 10 districts.
Barnhart said a committee comprised of teachers and administrators agreed to use the SchoolSearch criteria, because ISAT standards are expected to change as national Common Core standards are adopted.
The second 0.5 percent component is based on student growth measured through Measures of Academic Progress tests. The nationally-normed tests are given on a computer which adjusts the degree of difficulty according to each student’s capability.
“When students are already performing at a high level, our job is to stretch them and continue their academic progress or growth, and MAP is designed to give us that feedback,” Barnhart said.
Those results and a second standardized test will determine student growth from an objective third party outside of the School Board or administration, the superintendent said.
The third component on quality of learning environment is derived through student climate surveys evaluating feelings of safety, sense of belonging and ability to solve problems.
“When we ask for feedback, I think our kids, like our parents, are honest and will tells us what’s good and what needs to be improved,” Barnhart said.
The superintendent said he’s confident students will take the surveys seriously. The survey is designed to have multiple factors indicating a particular result, and it’s not apparent that certain types of answers would help or hurt teachers.