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Project: Rewarding Teacher Excellence in Texas

In June 2019, the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 3 establishing the Teacher Incentive Allotment, which provides a pathway for effective teachers to achieve performance-based salary increases and enables districts to improve recruitment and retention measures, especially in rural and high-needs areas.

The Texas Education Agency partnered with the Region 14 Comprehensive Center to better equip local education agencies to strategically compensate educators as outlined in the Teacher Incentive Allotment. This was achieved through the creation and development of training materials and resources related to strategic compensation and teacher retention.


The Need

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) is working to address the growing teacher shortage that is spreading across the nation. There is high turnover and an insufficient amount of effective, experienced teachers, especially in high-needs schools. Traditional seniority-based educator pay models do not financially encourage effective teachers to work in high-needs areas and do not offer meaningful raises to retain experienced educators.

The passage of House Bill 3 and introduction of the Teacher Incentive Allotment (TIA) for Texas school districts allow for schools to better reward and retain their top-performing teachers through distribution of allotment funds based on teacher performance. TIA builds on the success of previous national incentive programs while also removing barriers to progress. TIA is also a first-of-its kind sustainable model that builds funding into the state’s school finance formula.  

The Teacher Incentive Allotment website on an image of a laptop

Our Approach

Strategic Compensation

The Region 14 Comprehensive Center (R14CC) supported TEA in creating the Strategic Compensation Fellowship and Grant, providing local education agencies (LEAs) and regional Education Service Centers (ESCs) the opportunity to plan and implement salary-based strategic compensation systems aligned to TIA and supplemented with local funds. R14CC has also assisted TEA in preparing training materials for grant application scoring.

Additionally, R14CC and TEA created a Spending Engagement Toolkit, downloadable on the TIA website. The toolkit provides resources to Texas districts to help tailor TIA implementation to specific challenges a district may be facing in the recruiting, developing, or retaining of effective teachers. The Strategic Compensation Guide included in the toolkit outlines potential goals and how to achieve them and offers examples of strong strategic compensation plans.


Trainings and Resources

To assist Texas district leaders with retaining educators and improving strategic compensation using TIA, R14CC supported TEA in the development of training sessions for district leaders. These sessions covered strategic communications, project planning and management, funding for a strategic compensation plan, and the use of continuous improvement concepts to monitor the impact of strategic compensation.

For resources focused on district spending and featured on the TIA website, R14CC assisted TEA in creating a guide to going beyond compensation, which explains how effective human resources practices can extend beyond compensation; a guide for paying for strategic compensation systems; and a payout calculator as well as templates related to strategic compensation and project management planning.


Landscape Analysis

R14CC conducted a landscape analysis to support TIA districts in selecting and creating high-quality assessments. This included reviewing the process for creating assessments and ensuring that rubrics included standard alignments and rigor levels. The purpose for the analysis was to help improve educators’ understanding and use of high-quality assessments in the classroom. TEA used the resulting report internally to both further their knowledge and to assist districts through resources, trainings, and support.


Advancing Forward

The R14CC team will continue to work with TEA to identify areas in which grantees and districts need support, either through review of collected materials, focus groups, or feedback and data. This includes supporting TEA in establishing a process to recruit grant application reviewers. To fight training fatigue, TEA is working to set a manageable schedule for trainings. Throughout the partnership, R14CC focused on ensuring the longevity of supports and processes. As the R14CC team’s role in the work recedes, TEA is set up for success.