Today, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced the sixty-two winning applicants of the Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) grant competition. The winning applicants represent rural and urban school districts as well non-profit groups and state education organizations from 27 states across the country.
The five-year $1.2 billion TIF program seeks to strengthen the education profession by rewarding excellence, attracting teachers and principals to high-need and hard to staff areas, and providing all teachers and principals with the feedback and support they need to succeed. Today, the Department is providing the first two years of fundinga total of $442 million.
"Nothing is more important than great teaching. These grants will help schools build a culture that celebrates excellence in the classroom and helps all teachers improve their practice," said Duncan.
This year's winning applicants were selected by a group of 60 independent, expert peer reviewers. They were judged on their comprehensive plans to develop, reward, and support effective teachers and principals in high-need schools, based on evaluations that include multiple measures, including student growth.
Applicants were also required to demonstrate a high level of local educator support and involvement and a plan for financial sustainability after the 5 year grant award period. Applicants received additional points for using value added measures, attracting effective teachers in hard to staff subject or specialty areas, and for being a first-time applicant.
One of the winners, the Louisiana Department of Education, will be awarded $36.5 million over 5 years to implement TAP: The System for Teacher and Student Advancement in 70 high-need schools, impacting over 2,800 educators and 33,500 students. The goals of TAP are to increase the percentage of effective educators in schools and increase student achievement.
Another winner, the Jefferson County Public School District in Colorado, will be awarded $32.7 million over 5 years to implement a program that will reward teachers both for student growth and their own leadership in spreading their teaching expertise. Peer and administrator observations will drive staffing decisions and professional development, particularly in the highest-need schools that will serve as pilot sites.
The TIF awards include the Main TIF competition and the TIF Evaluation competition. TIF Evaluation competition applicants will be required to meet additional criteria and will be eligible for at least an additional $1 million over the 5 year grant period.
A list of TIF winners can be found here: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/teacherincentive/awards.html. Note that award amounts listed for each winner are over a 5 year period. Today, only the first 2 years of funding will be awarded. Further funding is contingent on congressional action.