Opinion
Education Funding Letter to the Editor

Positive Experience in Rural Arkansas

September 18, 2012 1 min read

To the Editor:

Three urban districts may be returning their Teacher Incentive Fund grants before even starting their projects, as described in “Districts Abandon Grants Targeting Teacher Quality,” (Aug. 22, 2012) but we are one of the more than 60 recipients in 2010 using TIF grants to make substantial changes in teaching and learning.

Located in rural northeast Arkansas, Cross County doesn’t have the teacher-recruitment pool of an urban area. We have used our TIF grant to develop a comprehensive and long-term approach focused on attracting high-quality new teachers and retaining our highly effective teachers who have been with us for many years.

While pay is an important part of our approach under TIF, performance-based compensation is based on multiple measures of effectiveness, not single tests. For example, we conduct four observations of classroom performance for every teacher as well as look at student growth at the classroom and school levels.

A cornerstone of our success has been the creation of new roles and responsibilities for teachers, allowing them to become master and mentor teachers. These roles allow us to provide specific support to improve teacher practice and student learning, making the connection between evaluations, support, and learning for both the teacher and the students. These teacher-leaders join administrators in a leadership team that takes explicit responsibility for driving improvements in teaching, learning, and transforming the school culture to create reflective teachers and administrators who consistently strive to improve.

The teacher-effectiveness challenge in rural areas is acute, and TIF is enabling us to take a new and innovative approach that is making a difference for our students.

Matt McClure

Superintendent

Cross County School District

Cherry Valley, Ark.

A version of this article appeared in the September 19, 2012 edition of Education Week as Positive Experience in Rural Arkansas

Events

Student Well-Being Webinar Boosting Teacher and Student Motivation During the Pandemic: What It Takes
Join Alyson Klein and her expert guests for practical tips and discussion on how to keep students and teachers motivated as the pandemic drags on.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
A Holistic Approach to Social-Emotional Learning
Register to learn about the components and benefits of holistically implemented SEL.
Content provided by Committee for Children
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
How Principals Can Support Student Well-Being During COVID
Join this webinar for tips on how to support and prioritize student health and well-being during COVID.
Content provided by Unruly Studios

EdWeek Top School Jobs

CCLC Program Site Director
Thornton, CO, US
Adams 12 Five Star Schools
Customer Support Specialist, Tier 1
Portland, OR, US
Northwest Evaluation Association
Customer Support Specialist, Tier 1
Portland, OR, US
Northwest Evaluation Association
Customer Support Specialist, Tier 1
Portland, OR, US
Northwest Evaluation Association

Read Next

Education Funding Opinion What's It Take for Philanthropy to Help Rural Schools?
Place-based philanthropy has enormous potential to revitalize rural communities. The trick is, it’s tough to get this sort of approach right.
4 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Education Funding Summer School, Extended Learning a Priority in $129 Billion COVID-19 Relief Bill
The reconciliation bill from House Democrats is an early attempt at what's shaping up to be a new federal aid package for education.
5 min read
A staff member holds the door open for kids on the first day of school at Goodwin Frazier Elementary School in New Braunfels, Texas on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020.
A staff member holds the door open for kids on the first day of school at Goodwin Frazier Elementary School in New Braunfels, Texas on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020.
Mikala Compton/Herald-Zeitung via AP
Education Funding Details of Biden's Education Relief Pitch Prioritize Smaller Classes, Avoiding Layoffs
The administration's breakdown of COVID-19 needs also includes $50 billion for social distancing and $29 billion for learning recovery.
5 min read
Image of the White House seal
Bet Noire/Getty
Education Funding Lawmakers Push $75 Billion for Learning Recovery Among Trio of COVID-19 Bills
The legislation, which also covers school infrastructure and education jobs, could become the vehicle for Biden's K-12 relief plan.
6 min read
Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., speaks during a news conference in Washington on June 24, 2020.
Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., speaks during a news conference in Washington on June 24, 2020.
Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP