The Tennessee-TIF 4 (TN-TIF 4) program provides resources for 19 high-need schools in three rural school districts to engage in a deliberate and guided process for reforming their human capital management systems (HCMS) and fairly evaluating and rewarding educators. The Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) provides support and technical assistance to the districts as they develop a comprehensive, multi-pronged communication strategy, a performance management system, additional leadership opportunities for their most effective teachers, and more opportunities for high-quality professional development. The foundation for all activities is best-practice personnel policies that are informed by research on alternative salary structures and incentive pay programs and align with Tennessee’s comprehensive, student outcomes-based, statewide educator evaluation system. Ultimately, the TN-TIF 4 program will enhance educators’ ability to advance student learning and professional skills, engage in ongoing professional learning and school development opportunities, advance professional leadership, and provide resources to sustain and scale-up promising practices that support effective teaching and leadership.
MGT of America, Inc., will work closely with districts and TDOE project management staff to continually gather and analyze the feedback on the implementation process and its impact on student achievement outcomes. MGT will use the information it collects on the state's initiatives to provide research-based evidence to guide the continuous development of the TN-TIF 4 grant.
- TN-TIF 4 worked collaboratively with the participating districts to develop and refine their performance compensation systems and align their HCMS to educator evaluation results.
- Participating districts signed memorandums of agreement outlining their participation in the grant and commitment to implement an alternative salary schedule.
- Each district created a design team whose main goal was to provide teacher and principal input into the development of the compensation plan.
- Introduced an alternative salary schedule that uses performance evaluation results, rather than years of experience or level of education, to make determinations on educators' base pay
- Finalized the performance-based compensation system (PBCS) model
- Communicated the PBCS model to all educators
- Recruited and selected the first class of teacher leaders
- Achieved high opt-in rates among teachers choosing to participate in the new compensation systems: Chester (96 percent), Haywood (84 percent), and Lincoln (89 percent)
- Refined performance payout practices and leadership responsibilities
- Improved recruitment, selection, and staffing practice
- Implemented video technology to strengthen professional learning and evaluation practice
- Completed the first round of surveys and interviews by the program evaluator, MGT
- Implemented student growth portfolio models in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten as well as fine arts and physical education that generated individual growth data for those traditionally non-tested teachers
- Refined and strengthened teacher leader roles after participation in Tennessee's Teacher Leader Network
- Transitioned to a new statewide data system called TN COMPASS, which integrates educator evaluation and educator licensure information
- Shared district- and state-level Year 2 reports on program implementation the grant's external evaluation firm, MGT of America, Inc., completed
- Suspended state testing in grades 3-8 after numerous attempts to transition to the new online assessment, TNREADY, a test which aligns to Tennessee's new, more rigorous standards
- Selecting a new vendor to deliver the new assessment, TN READY in both paper and optional online format
- Introducing an additional classroom-level growth measure in first grade and piloting classroom progress measures for teachers of traditionally non-tested subjects and grades
- Developing sustainability plans for strategic compensation after the grant
- The grantee anticipates performance payouts for the 2015-16 school year for December 2016.
- The grantee anticipates districts' human capital data reports, which contain information about evaluation distribution, hiring, retention, and growth, for December 2016.
- In addition to implementing an alternative salary schedule, each district also has a bonus model where teachers can earn extra money for leadership roles, hard-to-staff positions, meeting school/district goals, and professional development stipends.
- In 2015-16, more than three-fourths of teachers in the three TIF districts reported having a good understanding of how their compensation is determined.
- Additionally, principals continue to be more optimistic than teachers about the positive impact of evaluation and strategic compensation on student learning. Seventy percent of principals compared to 46 percent of teachers expressing belief that evaluation and strategic compensation have a positive impact on student learning.