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Innovation Acceleration Fund to Reward Top Educators

Thursday, January 13, 2011 | 04:08am
NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Education has announced that four school systems will receive Innovation Acceleration Fund grants to assist districts in designing and/or implementing alternative salary schedules. Building on initiatives in First to the Top to increase educator effectiveness through innovative compensation structures, newly adopted alternative salary schedules will reward teachers and principals for their ability to increase student achievement levels.
“Performance-based compensation is one strategy to recruit, retain, and reward our teachers,” Education Commissioner Bruce Opie said. “Tennessee is increasing our efforts to find and support the best possible talent for our schools, and we expect alternative compensation systems to encourage the same in return.
First to the Top funds supply the competitive Innovation Acceleration Fund with a total of $12,000,000, to be dispersed over the course of a 1-year planning period and 3-years of implementation in awarded school systems.  The following discretionary grants are awarded based on the district’s teacher count and annual progress reports to ensure continuous funding throughout the grant:

 School System
Estimated Award Amount 
Putnam County Schools
 $ 3,100,000
Trousdale County Schools
 $ 1,050,000
*Not eligible for IAF planning funds due to previous award.
Lexington City Schools
 $ 1,050,000
*Not eligible for IAF planning funds due to previous award.
Knox County Schools
 $ 4,650,000

Districts will use funds to address such priorities as teacher recruitment and retention and long-term sustainability of new compensation systems after the term of the grant has expired. Compensation packages may be aligned with new career paths and include base salaries, as well as performance and retention bonuses and guaranteed professional benefits.
For more information, contact Amanda Maynord Anderson at (615) 532-7817 or

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