Schools nationwide are looking for ways to pay striving or successful teachers more so they can attract and keep talent. The District and Prince George’s County are offering financial incentives for exceptional teachers in challenging schools. Arlington County is enabling qualified teachers to skip a step on the salary schedule.
Fairfax’s move toward a year-round teacher schedule is unusual, said Allan Odden, a University of Wisconsin professor who studies alternative teacher pay and who has advised Dale. But Odden said the notion of giving teachers more responsibilities in exchange for more pay is gaining momentum in public education. He said a “cadre of teacher leaders” in a school has proven to be critical for student achievement.
Fairfax’s “teacher leadership” program began in summer 2006 with extended contracts for about 600 teachers at 24 schools, issued through competitive grants. The contracts add nine, 14 or 24 days to the traditional 194-day schedule. They can increase salaries as much as 12 percent.