• October 30, 2020

New incentives coming for ECISD teachers - Odessa American: ECISD

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New incentives coming for ECISD teachers

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Posted: Friday, October 9, 2020 2:46 pm

National Board Certification for teachers, the state teacher allotment incentive, Opportunity Culture and other initiatives are being offered through Ector County ISD to attract and retain instructors.

Ector County ISD Superintendent Scott Muri led an ECISD Live broadcast Thursday night about attracting, retaining and developing teachers. Executive Director of Talent Development Ashley Osborne, Christine Mason, talent development coach, and Pedro Laguna, a multi-classroom leader at Sam Houston Elementary School, participated.

Osborne said ECISD will help teachers navigate National Board Certification.

Muri said he got his national board certification and it changed who he was as a teacher and who he is today as a leader.

“In ECISD, you’re not only going to have that opportunity but we’re actually going to support teachers in that process. We’re going to pay for it,” Muri said.

The cost is $2,000 per teacher.

“From a parent perspective, this will help teachers that go through this process become even better so another piece to attract teachers to our area,” Muri said.

On Opportunity Culture, Osborne said at its most basic level it is chance to get highly effective teachers in front of more students. There are currently eight campuses participating in Opportunity Culture and eight more are set for next school year.

The eight campuses this year are Blackshear Elementary, E.K. Downing Elementary, Ross Elementary, Sam Houston Elementary, Crockett Middle School, Nimitz Middle School, Wilson & Young Middle School and Odessa High School.

ECISD recently announced that eight more schools will begin the planning and design of Opportunity Culture at Bowie Middle School, Dowling Elementary, Fly Elementary, Goliad Elementary, LBJ Elementary, Noel Elementary, Pease Elementary and Permian High School.

Teacher Incentive Allotment, Muri said, is part of House Bill 3. It provides a chance for school districts statewide to recognize their best teachers — “those that are most effective and compensate them at a very different level.”

“Districts do not have to engage in this process, but ECISD decided our teachers deserved this. We are an early adopter. We’re undergoing the process right now,” Muri said.

The district recently submitted its application to the state and received the highest rating.

“The real work is happening right now as we are working through the application to complete the process,” Muri said.

If all goes well, it will roll out next year, he added.

“What it will do specifically is provide a significant compensation up to an additional $26,000 a year for the most effective teachers in ECISD who choose to teach our most fragile schools,” Muri said. “The nice thing about the dollars is it really not only recognizes the very best, but it also recognizes those that have chosen to serve our most fragile students in the school district, and again, the Teacher Incentive Allotment is a great way to attract great teachers. ... We’re thrilled to be able to do this.”

Osborne added that teachers who earn national certification also qualify for more money.

Muri said those who earn the designation can earn between $3,000 and $9,000 in additional compensation every year.

“The reason for the difference is because of the difference in the school you serve ...,” Muri said.

Those serving in high-poverty schools can earn up to $9,000 a year more and those in schools with less need can receive an additional $3,000, he said.

Mason said her role as talent development coach is to provide a strong support system at the campus level for new teachers that are trained throughout the summer and into the fall.

“And we provide mentorship teachers on their individual campuses. We’ve got multiple levels of support for our instructional staff, our teachers, so we can meet them where they are, individualize their personal needs and support them in what their needs dictate, or tell us, that will help them get better,” Mason said.

Laguna, a multi-classroom leader, is from Spain and has taught in many other countries.

This will be his fifth year with ECISD and “believe it or not, I love it.”

“I like the sense of community I have right here ...,” Laguna said.

He noted that there are several requirements teachers from other countries have to meet, but he encouraged prospective instructors to find out more by visiting the ECISD website or sending him an email.

Osborne said the district recruits teachers from Spain, Jamaica, the Philippines, India and Mexico. It also participates in job fairs, although those have been virtual of late due to COVID-19.

They also post on several job boards from Indeed to college job boards.

“I’m proud to say we have a 98 percent fill rate right now for our teachers. That is a tremendous increase from last year. That’s exciting news. We have really quality people in our classrooms with our students,” Osborne said.

Last year, ECISD had 350 teaching vacancies. Muri said now there are less than 40.

Along with the international initiatives, Osborne said there are local grow your own programs with University of Texas Permian Basin and Odessa College and ECISD has its own alternative certification program with Odessa Pathway to Teaching.

Application deadline for the latest Odessa Pathway to Teaching cohort is Oct. 30.

“Growing our own is important,” Muri said. “... Sixty percent of teachers in the U.S. teach within 25 miles of the high schools they graduated from.”

Odessa, TX

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