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Column One: Teachers

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Teachers in Fairport, N.Y., have entered into an agreement with the school district there that will reward teams of teachers if their students perform well on tests.

The merit-pay model, which was approved last month by the 480-member Fairport Educators Assocation, is patterned after team and incentive programs in business.

Under the plan, teachers in early elementary, middle level, and high school groups will receive financial incentives of up to $300 annually if their pupils' test scores improve.

The teachers have agreed to several penny-pinching measures to help pay for the rewards.

In Williamstown, Vt., meanwhile, the school board is pushing a contract that would lay off teachers based on performance, not seniority.

The policy, scheduled to take effect in July 1994, has been a "bone of contention'' for school and teachers'-union officials, according to David Bisson, the superintendent of the Orange North Supervisory Union, which oversees the Williamstown school district.

Until next year, the district plans to field-test the new policy before eliminating a layoff structure that removes inexperienced teachers before veterans, he added.

Under Vermont law, the district has the statutory right to impose portions of a contract related to reductions in force.

But the 40-member Orange North Education Association, which was recently denied a request to reopen negotiations with the district, maintains that the district's evaluation policy, and not its layoff procedures, should be revised.

School officials have asked the union to submit suggestions by the middle of this month on how to make the transition less troublesome for teachers.

Over the next three years, a panel of state government officials and experts from the American Telephone and Telegraph Company will select over 150 middle and high school teachers to participate in the A.T. & T. Teachers and Technology Institute.

The institute, which is designed to bring together outstanding math and science teachers with prominent scientists, engineers, and mathematicians, will be launched with an intensive two-week workshop this summer. State-of-the-art teaching tools such as networked, interactive video communications will be explored during the session.

Public, private, or parochial school teachers of grades 7-12 can find out more about the program by contacting the A.T.& T. Teachers and Technology Institute at (908) 221-7350.--J.R.

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