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State rewards Marion Community Schools for teacher improvement efforts

Posted: by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
MARION (Jan. 18, 2013) — For the second year straight, Marion Community Schools is one of a select group of Indiana school corporations awarded Excellence in Performance grants in recognition of outstanding teacher improvement efforts.

The state Department of Education awarded $10 million total to MCS and 39 other school corporations this year to help them reward their best teachers. Marion’s grant is $183,000. Fewer than a third of the 124 corporations that applied were awarded grants.
 
“Marion Community Schools is excited to be a recipient of the Excellence in Performance grant. It speaks to the good work that our teachers, administrators and staff are doing in implementing the TAP school improvement model,” said MCS Superintendent Steve Edwards.
 
The 40 districts selected this year to receive the grants are implementing fair, comprehensive evaluation and compensation policies that aim to develop all teachers and keep the finest in the profession, outgoing state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett said before his term ended.
 
The Excellence in Performance grant was established by the Indiana General Assembly during the 2011 legislative session in an effort to help Indiana school districts recruit and retain effective teachers.
 
MCS implemented the System for Teacher and Student Advancement - better known within the school system as the TAP program – in fall 2011. The program provides teachers with rigorous performance evaluations and performance-based compensation. It also offers teachers ongoing, on-site professional development and the means to advance in their careers by becoming “mentor” or “master” teachers, which also allows for higher salaries.
 
Last year, MCS was awarded $104,375 and was one of 28 school corporations to split $6 million from the state.

Edwards credited the TAP system in part for the school system’s second consecutive successful application for Excellence in Performance grants.
 
“The TAP system’s evaluation and compensation models are no doubt some of the reasons why MCS continues to receive this grant in a very competitive field of school districts vying for the funding,” he said.
 
The grant funds will be used to increase incentive pay for teachers.