Milken Family Foundation’s Teacher Advancement Program is trying to “draw more talented people to the teaching profession – and keep them there – by making it more attractive and rewarding to be a teacher.” That includes higher pay for teachers who mentor others, teach in “hard-to-staff” subjects and schools and linking pay to student progress. In addition, teachers work constantly with colleagues to improve their teaching. Here’s how it works in an Arizona pilot school.
As one of six schools in Arizona that are part of the Teacher Advancement Program sponsored by the Milken Family Foundation, teachers at Madison Heights meet three times a week with other teachers to decide the best ways to present lessons, have access to master teachers in literacy and math, and mentor teachers who work closely with those just starting out. The aim is to attract, retain and motivate talented teachers.
Under the program, teachers can earn increased salaries and advance as they would in other careers. Master teachers are paid an extra $6,500, with the opportunity to make an additional $3,000 from a bonus pool. Mentor teachers earn an extra $3,500 a year, with the same bonus-pool opportunity.
At Madison Heights, a north central Phoenix school, teachers are formally evaluated as many as a half-dozen times by administrators and peers during the school year.
“It makes you step up to the plate,” said special-education teacher Suzanne Perry, one of three mentor teachers on campus.
Test scores in reading, writing and math have increased significantly.