As a second grade teacher and Senior Team Lead at Garden Place Academy (GPA), I understand what it is like to work at a hard-to-serve and hard-to-staff school. I am currently in my eighth year as a teacher at GPA, and every year I have seen high staff turnover due to the challenges of our work in a high needs school. In 2014, the Design Team for Compensation and Career Pathways found that ProComp, as it exists today, has competing incentives that are not aligned with the goal of attracting and retaining strong teachers at hard-to-serve schools. Top-performing schools are often competing with hard-to-serve schools for teacher talent because incentives are the same for working in either school.
To learn more about ProComp and Stand’s efforts to make improvements to the current system, click here.
As a teacher in a hard-to-serve school, I face many unique challenges with my students, such as low academic performance, attendance and/or behavior issues, lack of resources, large class sizes, and high staff turn-over. While certainly all teachers work hard, teachers in my school must go above and beyond to address the needs of their students. At Garden Place Academy, students are confronted with achievement gaps and academic barriers that make it harder to reach grade level. Unfortunately, most hard-to-serve schools only receive the hard-to-serve incentive, whereas nearly all top-performing schools are also classified as high-growth, doubling the incentive for teachers at those schools. This is inequitable and if we, as a District and as a community want to close gaps, we must better attract and retain the best teachers to the schools that need them the most.
As a current ProComp participant and DCTA member, I urge Denver Public Schools to drastically increase the monetary amount given as an incentive to teachers that decide to teach and stay in high-needs schools. Realigning ProComp resources will not only attract high performing teachers, but it will also recognize and honor the harder work required in serving at hard-to-serve schools.
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