Superintendents Wayne Rush of Emmett and Rob Sauer of Homedale testified before the House Education Committee on Monday regarding how their districts approached the leadership premium awards that were made available for the first time this year. Rob Winslow, Executive Director of the Idaho Association of School Administrators, presented a statewide overview of the awards.
Rush indicated that 49% of the teachers in the Emmett School District received some amount of additional compensation from the leadership premium awards, and noted that the awards have been very important to providing stability and funding. He also shared that teachers and principals made most of the decisions about what criteria the district would use to have teachers qualify for the award—not the school board. “The leadership award money gave us a big push forward on innovation and allowed teachers to have more autonomy,” he said. Rush has two children who are teachers, and he warned the committee that unless Idaho can get salaries and compensation to a competitive level, his children and many other young teachers will opt out of the profession.
Homedale had a fairly similar experience, according to Superintendent Sauer. 55% of the district’s teachers have received (or will receive) at least the minimum $850 leadership premium award. Many of the awards were allocated to teachers for mentoring of other teachers or taking on a lead role in professional development. Sauer encouraged the legislature to continue providing tangible recognition of teachers for their quality work. “Don’t move the target every year,” he said. “The awards have had a positive impact on the culture, and have led to a buy-in on the part of our teachers.”
Winslow shared that 42 of the 46 districts surveyed used the awards to compensate teachers for providing instructional support to other teachers. “Hard-to-fill” roles and academic support for students were other common uses for the leadership premium awards.
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