• Florida to offer teachers bonuses up to $15K to work at some of its worst schools

    By: Michael Lopardi , Katlyn Brieskorn

    Updated:

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Florida is offering its best teachers bonuses of up to $15,000 to work in some of the worst schools in the state. 

    The county offered teachers thousands of dollars in bonuses to help turn around struggling classrooms.

    The principal of Carver Middle School tells us that the school’s culture has completely changed since then, and students are performing better inside the classroom.  

    Jackie Ramsey, the school’s principal, sat down with us and told us how much things have changed. “Test scores have gone up in every area, just some areas more than others,” she explained. 

    For the past three years, the school has received a “C” grade. Ramsey says that’s better than the D's and F’s of the past. 

    While the school has its troubles, the students have noticed a change for the better.

    One student told us, “When I was in sixth grade, the school had, like, kids fighting and things. But now, it actually changed. Everybody is, like, learning and our grade went up as a school.”

    As for how the bonus works, teachers can earn $20,000 extra for the first year, and $25,000 extra for the second and third years. 

    “The initial goal was to attract experienced, high quality teachers and to retain them,” Ramsey said. A total of 61 teachers received the bonus just last year.

    The state is considering taking a similar approach for schools that earn “D” and “F” grades. 

    Ramsey says the money helps but it’s still hard work. “It's time. It's time after school. It's time before school. It's committing to the students, not just the lessons that you're delivering but it's committing to them as a whole.”

    The program is entering its third and final year, but the district has not said whether it will be extended.

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