Texas school districts looking to strategically accelerate teacher pay while simultaneously increasing teacher capacity and retention have a new model to consider — Mesquite ISD’s Excellence in Teaching Incentive Program (ETIP).
Launched in 2016-2017, MISD’s collaboration-focused ETIP is showing promising results for both teachers and the district when it comes to providing professional advancement opportunities for teachers wishing to remain in the classroom and build a financial future.
The program includes three levels with variations in requirements and rewards:
Level One: Classroom Scholar
- Complete required coursework over a two-year period
- Document implementation and professional growth both during the two years of coursework and each year thereafter
- Maintain “proficient” or “above” rating on T-TESS dimension 4.2 (goal setting) and a “developing” or “above” rating on all remaining dimensions of T-TESS, including the student growth dimension
- Upon completion of the coursework, teachers receive $5,000 each year thereafter if they continue to demonstrate and document growth throughout the school year and receive acceptable teacher evaluations
- For those with a qualifying master’s degree, the $1,500 stipend is included in the $5,000
Level Two: Campus Scholar
- Teachers who already have a master’s degree in an eligible field and complete the level one coursework will be eligible for level two after meeting all other criteria
- Maintain classroom scholar eligibility for two years after completion of courses
- Complete a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction or content area — a master’s degree in any educational field will be accepted for this level if conferred by May 2018
- Document implementation and professional growth both during the two years of coursework and each subsequent year as documented on the ETIP rubric
- Maintain proficient or above rating on T-TESS dimensions 4.2 (goal setting) and 4.4 (school community involvement) and a “developing” or “above” rating on all remaining dimensions of T-TESS, including the student growth dimension
- Add value to the campus each year with a campus scholar project
- Upon completing level two requirements, teachers will receive an additional $2,000 each year if they continue to meet these requirements.
Level Three: District Scholar
- Maintain level 2 eligibility for two years after completion
- Complete a doctoral degree or earn National Board Teacher Certification or equivalent
- Document implementation and professional growth as documented on the ETIP rubric each year
- Maintain a “proficient” or “above” rating on T-TESS dimensions 4.2 (goal setting) and 4.4 (school community involvement) and a “developing” or “above” rating on all remaining dimensions, including the student growth dimension
- Add value to the campus each year
- Upon completing level three requirements, teachers receive an additional $5,000 each year, if these requirements continue to be met
To begin the ETIP coursework, teachers must have two or more years teaching experience with at least one year in MISD. Additionally, they must be the teacher of record as defined by:
- Assigning report card grades for the current school year in one or more subject areas
- Teaching 50 percent or more of each day
- Designing and implementing instruction
The First Two Years
The schedule for the two years of coursework required for level one is carried out throughout the calendar year and includes:
- Differentiation – Fall
- Formative Assessment – Spring
- Practicum 1 – Summer
- Teaching Students of Poverty – Fall
- Preparing Students for a Global Society – Spring
- Practicum 2 – Summer
MISD reports that the retention of ETIP scholars is six percent higher than for non-ETIP scholars, with 92.4 percent of survey respondents saying that the district’s ETIP program contributes to their decision to continue serving as a teacher in the district. Notable growth differences for 2022-2023 State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) results were also seen for ETIP scholars in comparison to non-scholars in both reading and language arts (grades 4 and 5), and math (grades 4-6, and 8).
Districts looking for an alternative to the Teacher Incentive Allotment (TIA) and performance-based models now have another option at their disposal when it comes to strategically accelerating teacher pay while simultaneously increasing their capacity and retention levels. For more information and a thorough FAQ resource, please visit the Mesquite ISD ETIP website.
Keith McLemore joined HR Services in 2015 and assists districts with compensation planning and development. He has 17 years of experience traveling the state supporting public education employees.
McLemore received a bachelor’s degree from Southwestern University and a master’s degree from Texas Tech University, both with a focus on research analysis and design. He is a SHRM-CP.
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