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Teacher incentive plan is endorsed by panel


To attract experienced teachers to low-performing schools, the Baltimore County Board of Education endorsed 11-month teacher contracts last night for 20 schools.

Superintendent Joe A. Hairston has said he hopes extended-year contracts will encourage classroom veterans to leave the schools where they now teach to earn more at schools that need to improve student test scores.

"This is not an indictment of what hasn't been done, but a demonstration of our commitment that no child will be left behind," Hairston said.

Money to pay the teachers for their summer work - including attending staff development courses and teaching summer school courses and tutorials - is expected to come from the county.

As part of his first budget request as schools chief, Hairston asked County Executive C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger for $1.94 million to fund the proposed program, which could expand to other schools. The County Council is expected to approve a budget for the 2001-2002 fiscal year May 29.

Hairston needs to move ahead with the proposal to provide teachers adequate time to request transfers to the targeted schools. Hairston's proposal is a result of discussions between his staff and the Teachers Association of Baltimore County.

TABCO President Mark Beytin said last night that teachers have been anxiously awaiting the release of the names of the 10 schools. He applauded Hairston for taking a collaborative approach to addressing low student achievement - and for helping teachers at the same time.

"We want teachers to have the opportunity to make more money," Beytin said, adding that teachers who opt to work at the selected schools could earn as much as $7,000 more a year. "We also want to help the school system solve this problem."

Although student performance at most county schools - as measured by the Maryland School Performance Assessment Program, the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills and Maryland Functional Tests - is on par with or above state averages, not all students are reading and writing at the appropriate grade level. And, according to data compiled by the school system, student achievement at some schools is "actually declining." That is the case at Woodlawn Middle School, which was recently placed on a state list for possible takeover after students posted poor marks on the 2000 MSPAP test.

Elementary schools that would receive the extra funding to pay teachers to work 20 extra days during the summer are: Deep Creek, Edmondson Heights, Hebbville, Hernwood, Johnnycake, Powhatan, Riverview, Scotts Branch, Winfield and Woodmoor.

The middle schools are Lansdowne, Middle River, Old Court, Southwest Academy, Stemmers Run.

And the high schools are Chesapeake, Dundalk, Lansdowne, Milford Mill and Woodlawn.

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