The ever-inventive Rudy Crew, superintendent of schools in Miami-Dade County, has come up with a way to attract great teachers to high-needs schools, and to get more bang for the buck once they get there. Grouping 39 schools into the "School Improvement Zone," Crew is offering the zone's teachers a 20 percent pay increase (an average of $10,000 a year)in return for increasing their contractual workday by 20 percent. Teachers' extra hours buy the district an extended school day and year (an extra hour every day, and ten more days added to the school year), and allow teachers to spend more time on professional development.
How is Crew footing the bill? Primarily by not filling some "open, non-essential, budgeted positions," a phrase that begs a few questions about their budgeting process--but let's not look this gift horse in the mouth.
Three months into the program, it appears that the carrot is effectively attracting more experienced teachers into these schools. So far, 177 teachers have elected to transfer into these schools, giving principals a rare treat--the opportunity to pick and choose who they want to hire. When asked how he felt about another principal who encouraged teacher Kennetha Jones to transfer into his school, Lakeview Elementary School Principal Jeffery Hernandez said, "I kiss the ground he walks on."