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Longview ISD teachers awarded more than $2.8 million in incentive pay

Classroom teachers are projected to earn more than $100,000 for the 2020-21 school year.

LONGVIEW, Texas — Longview ISD is awarding more than $2.8 million in incentive pay for achieving teachers, with a few of the very highest-performing teachers projected to receive more than $30,000 extra in their December paychecks!

"We're thrilled with the excellent progress all our teachers and staff are making with students across the entire district, despite unprecedented challenges to the delivery of instruction," said Dr. James Wilcox, Superintendent of Schools. 

But this change didn’t happen overnight. It’s actually more than 10 years in the making. Dr. Wilcox said the goal of the district starting the program was to maintain our most successful and effective teachers in the regular classroom.

“We’ve worked on this since 08. We could not be more excited to see our teachers receive these dollar amounts,” he said. “But our students are the real winners!” 

Student performance on standardized tests will decide the highest performing teachers. That’s what keeps the system fair by not having any nominations just data. “We were looking for something that took the human factor out of it,” Wilcox said.

The district plans to take their best teachers and place them in classrooms with the most need. "We want to push every student as far as they can go," Wilcox said.

These teachers will be presented with their first round of bonus checks on Dec. 17. and the second round is expected in the spring. 

Dr. James Hockenberry, LISD Assistant Superintendent of District Services, explained that the district utilizes LISD's aggressive local pay structures as well as the Longview Incentive For Teachers (LIFT) program, and the Texas Education Agency’s Teacher Incentive Allotment (TIA) funding sources to make this possible for our hard-working education professionals.

"The goal of the Teacher Incentive Allotment is to provide a realistic pathway to pay outstanding teachers six-figure salaries," he said. "As such, it will dramatically improve the recruitment and retention of highly effective teachers and keep them in the classroom at our most challenging campuses."

TIA/LIFT distribution will come in "lump sum" disbursement beginning on Dec. 17.

Longview ISD was ahead of the curve back in 2011, when trustees voted to implement a performance pay system for middle school reading and math teachers. Designed to help close the achievement gap between low socio-economic and middle-income students, today the LIFT Pay for Performance Program includes three award models, and has proven instrumental in retaining high-quality educators.

The temporary LIFT model calculations, due to the lack of STAAR testing during the spring semester of the 2019-2020 year (as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic), will follow the Texas Education Agency’s TIA formula using a combination of weighted 2017-2020 academic data to determine teacher "levels," with award distinction funds using a three-year average for the campuses and district for years 2017-2019 Designations. The designation award is determined by the employee's place of employment at the conclusion of the 2019-2020 year.

Incentive pay for Longview ISD teachers has increased dramatically since the $350,000 awarded in 2014-15, just five years ago.

"Our district is one of leadership and innovation," added Dr. Wilcox. "We don't follow the trends in education, we set them."

Home to more than 8,000 students and 1,000 staff members, Longview ISD's richly diverse student population reflects our wonderful city and the East Texas area in general.

But our educational offerings are just as diverse as our people, including everything from magnet charter school STEAM campuses to project-based learning, career technology programs and state-of-the-art facilities. 

Longview Independent School District is the only public school system in Texas that offers free Montessori education to all Head Start, Pre-K/Kindergarten students enrolled in the district, in addition to the world-renowned International Baccalaureate program offered free of charge at all district campuses. 

RELATED: Longview ISD middle school students write original cookbook, proceeds benefit East Texas Food Bank

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