Performance Grants

Three schools in Lowndes County will receive a total of $232,000 as part of the State Board of Education's Pay for Performance Program.

"It's a major effort towards school improvement. It is a school improvement plan. The teachers commit to it and they know if they do it, they'll be rewarded. That's an incentive but it's school improvement and the emphasis is on student achievement," says Iris Mathis.

In order to receive the reward, a proposal must first be submitted to the state with objectives for improving student achievement. If the proposal is approved, the teachers must carry out initiatives for the next year. Teachers say the cash incentive is a positive reward.

"It benefits both the teachers and the students both. It motivates both of them monetarily and also to strive and meet curriculum goals and such," Ken Overman says.

Seventy percent of the objectives accomplished at Hahira Elementary were academic. Teachers created programs to help improve math, reading, writing and performance on state tests. Other initiatives include more creative programs like a stock market simulation for fifth graders. Hahira school officials say the approved proposal also required teachers to become more active in writing grants.

"We committed to have fifty percent of our teams here to procure some kind of grant to implement some kind of innovative programs in their classroom," adds Iris.

At Hahira Elementary, teachers decide how to spend the money. They plan to split it up among all school employees.

A total of 68 schools received more than $5.8 million in the 2002 school year from the Georgia Pay for Performance Plan.