Mass. launches recruitment campaign for turnaround school teachers

Diverse Elementary ClassMassachusetts kicked off a statewide recruitment campaign in May 2010 to encourage outstanding educators to apply for vacancies in the state’s lowest performing schools with the launch of a new website, Teachers also can be nominated as candidates for positions in turnaround schools on the website.

The website appeals to teachers who want a new challenge to join teams of educators leading the transformation of the state’s so-called “Level 4” or turnaround schools.

Among the benefits to working in a turnaround school, according to the website, are the ability to have an impact with underserved students, to participate in high-quality, job-embedded professional development, to work with quality student data, to have more time to collaborate with colleagues and to earn additional pay for extended school days or school years and for performance based on student results. Each district is also developing unique incentives to attract teachers to apply for their open positions.

In March, the state released a list of 35 persistently low-performing schools in 9 urban school districts. Two-thirds of the schools are located in the state’s two largest cities, Boston and Springfield. The other schools are in seven other cities: Fall River, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, New Bedford and Worcester. In all, 20 are elementary schools, 8 are middle schools, 3 are K-8 schools and 4 are high schools.

More than 17,000 mainly minority students attend the 35 schools. Nearly 9 out of 10 students in the schools are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch based on family income, 21% are students with disabilities and 26% are limited English proficient.

Massachusetts is eligible for an estimated $76 million over the next three years from the U.S. Department of Education (USED) for school improvement in low-performing schools. States will be able to offer competitive grants over the next three years to support intervention efforts in these schools. Districts that commit to one of four intervention models identified by USED can apply for grants of $500,000 or more per year on behalf of each Level 4 school.

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