School board approves teacher retention plan

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Bossier Parish School Board. (Stacey Tinsley/Press-Tribune)

The Bossier Parish School Board has approved a plan meant to retain effective teachers at the schools that need them most.

The Sept. 19 school board meeting saw members approved an academic strategy to retain highly effective teachers to certain schools in the parish that have critical challenges.

Step 1 of the strategy is to identify schools with issues attracting and retaining highly effective teachers. Step 2 is to select an academics strategy model to attract and retain highly effective teachers at those schools. Step 3 is to identify teacher qualifications to be eligible to receive stipends to remain at said schools or transfer to said schools.

Five pilot schools have already been chosen for the plan. Those schools are Bossier Elementary, R.V. Kerr Elementary, Waller Elementary, T.O. Rusheon Middle and Bossier High.

Selection was based on greatest need and availability of funds.

“We wanted to start small so we could manage it and sustain it and be able to adapt and evaluate at the end of the first year,” said Mitch Downey, Bossier Parish Schools superintendent.

Through principal and district level recommendation, teachers will be trained in the following areas:

– Mentor ($2,000 cost to district)

– ELA Content Leader ($3,500 cost to district)

– Math Content Leader ($3,500 cost to district)

– Intervention Content Leader ($2,000 cost to district)

All teachers completing the training will receive a certification and will be awarded a one-time $750 stipend.

“All teachers no matter what school they are at, if they receive this endorsement on their certificate they will be awarded the $750 dollar stipend. Which hopefully will result in improved instruction in all our schools, not just those five identified in the pilot,” said Downey.

Teachers at said schools with their Certification on Teacher Certificate by end of January will be eligible for a $3,000 stipend at the end of May 2020. Qualified teachers remaining or transferring into said schools will be eligible for $3,000 stipend at the end of May 2021-beyond.

Training will be open to all teachers in the parish. After completing nine days of training, teachers will then have to complete several modules in order to graduate from the program and reach the certification.

“It’s actually a pretty extensive process,” said Downey.

Qualifications include a teacher certificate showing Mentor Certified — mandatory for student residents) — Content Leader Certified. 

Performance based qualifications include leadership — sponsor club or organization/coach a sport or spirit group, or a teacher leader — and professional development.

The second part of the academic strategy is to attract substitute teachers at T.O. Rusheon Middle School.

“Depending on educational level, we’re trying to create an additional $30 to $35 dollar increase above what we normally pay in order to try to help attract substitute teachers to Rusheon Middle School,” said Downey.

Within the strategy, the daily flat rate of pay for substitutes will be $100 — normal is $60, $65, or $70. Long Term Subs, after their 15th consecutive day, and High School Diploma Subs will receive $115. While College Grad Subs will receive $120, and Certified Teachers will receive $130.

“All of these funds will come from title one set asides or Title II, as far as the district being responsible for the payment of the training through the state,” said Downey.