The Florida Department of Education approved its first local performance-pay plan last week under a new $147.5 million statewide program to award bonuses to teachers whose students show achievement gains.
The 180,000-student Hillsborough County school system, which serves Tampa and the surrounding area, revised an existing performance-pay plan to meet the new requirements of the Special Teachers Are Rewarded, or STAR, program. The Florida legislature created the program last spring.
STAR requires that at least half of a teacher’s evaluation be based on improved student learning, which could be demonstrated by increases in standardized-test scores. The rest of the evaluation can be based on factors such as knowledge of the subject being taught, ability to maintain discipline, and use of technology.
School districts have until Dec. 31 to apply for funding. Any money left unclaimed will be divided among the districts with approved plans. The top 25 percent of teachers in each participating district will receive bonuses worth at least 5 percent of their salaries.
A version of this article appeared in the October 25, 2006 edition of Education Week