Perry Township Teachers to be Awarded Performance Stipends with New Grant Funding

Perry Township schools has been awarded more than $6 million in federal grant funding over a period of three years to help recruit and retain teachers, as well as support initiatives to enhance literacy.

It is the sole district in Indiana and one of 29 nationwide to receive the Teacher and School Leader (TSL) grant from the U.S. Department of Education this year. The aim of the funds is to increase teacher compensation, retention, and diversity, by assisting districts in developing performance-based compensation models.

The majority of the funding, amounting to over $5 million, will be allocated to performance-based pay and stipends for Perry teachers, while the remaining funds will support the addition of two more literacy coaches within the district. The district is set to receive $2.5 million from the TSL grant in fiscal year 2023.

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This article was published as part of a partnership between Chalkbeat Indiana and WFYI to expand coverage of the township school districts in Marion County.

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Under the grant, the district will develop a formula for distributing these bonuses to teachers. A fund of $1,000 will be allocated for each teacher, and the distribution will be based on teacher effectiveness, according to officials. The district intends to use the bonuses as an incentive to retain master teachers, who serve as role models and provide professional development.

Although the district already has a literacy coach for elementary school students, one of the new coaches will focus on training teachers in reading skills for older students, officials announced. Perry Township, which has a significant population of English learners and immigrant students, has recently witnessed an influx of new immigrant students who struggle to read fluently in English or any other language, as mentioned by Amy Boone, principal at Southport High School, during a press conference on Thursday.

As Indiana strives to implement new literacy strategies grounded in the science of reading, Perry officials expressed their desire to adapt some of those strategies for older students as well. In the district’s grant application, it was stated that the district aims to improve overall student achievement in math and literacy by three percentage points annually, and reduce achievement gaps among Black and Hispanic students by 10%.

The other new coach will concentrate on literacy data for all students.

“It’s challenging for them to succeed if they lack the fundamental ability to engage with the text,” remarked Jeff Spencer, the district’s assistant superintendent for K-12 services.

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