District Serves Up Draft ‘ACE Plan’ To Help Lowest-Performing Schools

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Hammering on the point that “effective teachers matter,” Dallas ISD Superintendent Mike Miles laid out a new draft plan Tuesday aimed at incentivizing top teachers and principals to relocate and work at the district’s lowest-performing schools.

The district will begin the implementation of the Accelerating Campus Excellence (ACE) Plan in the 2015-16 school year. Miles said the pilot program is a part of the district’s goal to get an effective teacher in every classroom.

“Our lowest-performing schools need the most effective teachers,” Miles said. “Let’s do something about that.”

Miles cited national research that shows that a lower percentage of effective teachers teach at schools that struggle the most. He said that Dallas ISD principals in December identified 1,470 teachers as their most effective or “distinguished eligible.” Among the district’s “Improvement Required” (IR) schools, only 7.9 percent of teachers were identified as distinguished eligible.

An analysis found that a lower percentage of effective and “distinguished eligible” teachers taught at “Improvement Required” schools.

An analysis found that a lower percentage of effective and “distinguished eligible” teachers taught at “Improvement Required” schools.

“We should realize and accept that our lowest-performing schools, like the nation’s schools, don’t have as many effective teachers as they need,” he said. “That’s not fair to our kids.”

Miles detailed the draft ACE Plan at a Principals’ Meeting on Feb. 17. He asked the principals for their thoughts on the draft plan and said he would incorporate the feedback he receives from educators into the final plan. He held a similar presentation and solicited feedback earlier in the week from assistant principals.

The ACE Plan will incentivize distinguished eligible and effective teachers and principals to relocate and work at 5–8 of the district’s lowest-performing schools. The Teacher Excellence Initiative, the district’s new evaluation system that defines and rewards effective teaching, will identify which teachers are considered the most effective.

To provide an incentive to the distinguished eligible teachers and principals who relocate to the low-performing schools, the ACE Plan will offer a stipend of $10,000 to DTR-eligible teachers and $15,000 to participating principals in addition to their normal salaries. Distinguished ACE teachers and principals will also receive extended contracts and have their evaluation ratings would stay the same for two years.

“We want the teachers to want to go to the campuses,” Miles said.

Miles said the district would likely publicly announce at the end of March what 5-8 low performing Dallas ISD campuses will become ACE Schools. Miles said the ACE Schools would likely first be fully reconstituted. Distinguished and proficient teachers already located at those ACE schools will be incentivized to remain at the ACE schools. Returning distinguished teachers will receive a $5,ooo stipend and returning proficient teachers will receive a $3,ooo stipend.

Miles said this process would create a staff that can accelerate campus excellence at these struggling schools. He stressed that the plan would incentivize, and not force, educators to participate.

“It’s time to take this critical first step in ensuring equitable distribution of high performing teachers,” he said.

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