Pitt County Schools (PCS) is a single local education agency (LEA) serving 23,500 students in 37 schools of varying grade ranges located throughout Pitt County. In 2014-15, these students included 70 percent nonwhite minorities. Approximately 59 percent of students qualified for free or reduced-price school meals. The district includes 30 high-need schools; the TIF project will serve 28 of them. Eight of the 28 schools were low-performing in 2014-15, based on an A-F rating scale implemented by the state, and none of the remaining high-need schools received ratings above a C. In 4 of the last 5 years, PCS' teacher turnover rates exceeded the state average. This turnover affects not only student instruction and achievement, but also leadership development and growth among peer teachers, disproportionately affecting high-need schools. To address these challenges to the extent possible with available resources, PCS deployed the R3 Human Capital Management System (HCMS) in 2013. This TIF project will enable PCS to fully implement the career pathways and performance-based compensation elements of the R3 Framework in 28 high-need schools.
Schools & LEAs Served
In partnership with an independent evaluator, PCS will conduct ongoing formative and summative evaluation of the project, focusing on progress monitoring and documenting the decisions PCS makes in carrying out the project. Evaluations will examine qualitative and quantitative data from teachers and principals, teacher ratings, academic growth data, teacher recruitment and retention data, and data related to the R3 project.
Project objectivities include the following:
- Recruit, retain and reward effective and highly-effective teachers working in high-need schools.
- Increase student growth and academic achievement in targeted schools.
- Reduce the number of high-need schools labeled low performing.
Pitt County is a single LEA. The specific schools involved in this project are
- Ayden Elementary School
- Ayden Grifton High School
- Ayden Middle School
- Belvoir Elementary School
- Bethel School
- C. M. Eppes Middle School
- Creekside Elementary School
- E. B. Ayock Middle School
- Eastern Elementary School
- Elmhurst Elementary School
- Falkland Elementary School
- Farmville Central High School
- Farmville Middle School
- G.R. Whitfield School
- Grifton School
- H.B. Sugg School
- J. H. Rose High School
- Lakeforest Elementary School
- North Pitt High School
- Northwest Elementary School
- Pactolus School
- Sam D. Bundy School
- South Central High School
- South Greenville Elementary School
- Stokes School
- Wahl Coates Elementary School
- Wellcome Middle School
- W. H. Robinson Elementary School
In 2013, PCS launched a new HCMS, the R3 Framework: Recruit-Retain-Reward, with the objectives of both retaining experienced teachers and decreasing teacher turnover by supporting and retaining young teachers. Four elements of the R3 Framework include the Key BT Program, the Teacher Leadership Institute, the Career Pathways Model, and a performance-based compensation system. Although separate, these elements are aligned with and support each other. The first three elements offer varying degrees of support, training, and leadership opportunities to teachers within the system. A comprehensive, performance-based compensation system (PBCS), described in detail below, underlies these three elements. Through the four elements of the R3 framework, PCS will reduce teacher turnover, improve student learning, and increase equitable access to excellent educators at high-need schools in the LEA.
A comprehensive PBCS provides monetary and nonmonetary rewards to teachers, principals and other school leaders. PBCS will reduce teacher turnover, improve student learning, and increase equitable access to excellent educators in high-need schools in the district. In 2014-2015, under the state's education value-added assessment system that uses three scale ratings--exceeds expected growth, meets expected growth, or does not meet expected growth--15 percent of PCS teachers were categorized as exceeds expected growth category and 74 percent as meets expected growth. All teachers rated as exceeds expected growth receive an annual bonus of $2,500. Additionally, PCS teachers in this category to receive an additional $500 for each teacher they mentor who did not receive any bonus that year, with a maximum of $1,000 (two teachers), meaning they could receive a maximum of $3,500 for performance-based compensation.
Professional development in Pitt County Schools falls under the division of educator effectiveness and leadership (DEEL). DEEL is unique in the school system in that it provides a bridge between the department of human resources and the department of educational programs and services.
Consistent with the professional learning objectives of teachers in the various paths of the Career Pathway Model, participating teachers will receive intensive, specialized training aligned to best practices in developing and facilitating groups, analyzing data, conducting collaborative action research, and working with adults. The transformative collaboration will require on-going professional learning, support and coaching. To address these needs Pitt County will hire certified coaches to support teachers beyond what instructional coaches can provide. The grantee will use TIF funds to hire multiple district-level coaches who will provide this support and supplement what school-based instructional coaches provide.
Training for these coaching positions is vital, and the coaches themselves will become trainers, so the cost of continued training for new participants will be funded completely in-house. Certified coaches will augment the support provided in formal training sessions by conducting regular, on-going coaching sessions with each teacher. Teachers serving in leadership positions will participate in a 360-degree leadership survey and intense follow-up coaching every 12 to 18 months. Program directors and coaches will maintain certification to administer all required surveys as well as receive a minimum of 90 hours of coaching training before working with teachers. During the past 3 years, Pitt County Schools has invested more than $100,000 to employ two certified coaching trainers; these trainers will provide additional training and support for the coaches who support teachers. The project codirectors oversee and develop the district-level coaches, and will provide them video reflections and feedback sessions on their coaching and professional learning delivery, which will then inform the coaches' work as they provide individualized and targeted support for teachers on the various career paths.