The Washington County public school district was awarded a five-year $7.35 million federal grant Thursday to give extra pay to principals and teachers who work in five high-need schools and increase student achievement.
The school system will be one of the first in the state to institute a program of paying teachers based on performance rather than solely on years of longevity in the system.
Superintendent Betty Morgan said the system has already begun paying teachers $5,000 extra for working an extended day at high-need schools where at least 50 percent of students qualify for free or reduced-price meals. The extra time allows teachers to work collaboratively on improving teaching for struggling students. She said some schools have seen a dramatic increase in test scores as a result.
"We are really excited about this. It is cutting-edge stuff," Morgan said. The district has worked with the unions, who Morgan said saw an opportunity to get additional funds for some of the work that will be required under reforms Maryland has adopted in the past year.
"The next logical step is to look at the evaluation system and tie that to student growth," Morgan said.