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Guilford County Schools offers $20K bonus to entice effective teachers to lower-performing schools
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Guilford County Schools offers $20K bonus to entice effective teachers to lower-performing schools

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GREENSBORO — With the start of school just weeks away, Guilford County Schools is dangling a $20,000 signing bonus to entice top teachers to work in its 25 lowest-performing schools.

The district is paying for the bonuses with federal COVID-19 relief money.

To qualify, teachers have to be able to prove their ability to help students learn. Specifically, they must provide at least two consecutive years of student test data that shows they are “highly effective” teachers, based on the academic growth of their students.

Teachers are eligible for consideration if they can show that growth through elementary or middle school end-of-grade test data, or high school biology, math or English end-of-course test data.

The bonus, announced Wednesday, is open both to teachers new to the district or who would be moving from a district school to one of the designated schools. To get the signing bonus, teachers must commit to teach for at least three years.

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Officials expect to have 20 to 30 or more positions to be filled that would be eligible for the bonus.

Alison Yates, the district’s director of staffing, said she is not sure how the bonus will be given out. However, if it is like recent signing bonuses offered by the district, these bonuses would be paid half in the first paycheck and half at the end of the first year.

The district first turned to similarly-sized signing bonuses late last fall and continued to offer them through the end of the 2020-21 school year. Yates said the district has had a couple of bonuses to attract teachers to lower-performing schools before that, but nothing approaching the $20,000 range.

The district started offering big signing bonuses in late November 2020 to try and help bring in K–5 elementary classroom teachers across the district as well as mathematics teachers for several high schools. At the time, the district was looking for more K-5 teachers because of social distancing requirements due to the COVID-19 pandemic that were forcing the schools to limit the number of students in a classroom and split up larger classes.

They offered signing bonuses ranging from $10,000 to $30,000 and saw results.

“In the winter and spring we did see an uptick in the number of applicants who applied for positions in the district,” said Kyva Jones, the district’s director of recruiting. “We definitely got several inquiries from teachers from various states, from various school districts … so we definitely saw that interest level increase.”

Contact Jessie Pounds at 336-373-7002 and follow @JessiePounds on Twitter.

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