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School Part Of Pilot Program For Merit Pay

By Jack Gurner

WATER VALLEY – The school district has been invited to join a teacher merit pay research program.
District Superintendent Kim Chrestman said Sept. 17 that Johnny Frankin, Education Advisor for the Governor’s Office, and the Department of Education asked the district to participate in MSTAR, the Mississippi Statewide Teacher Appraisal Rubric.
The MSTAR program was created to gather information on teacher strengths and areas of challenge and will be part of the process used to evaluate teacher performance.
“They would like to use Water Valley to help pilot the program,” Chrestman told school board trustees at their September meeting.
Gov. Phil Bryant has been promoting his plan to pay teachers based on performance and in late July unveiled a report from the Research and Curriculum Unit at Mississippi State University on MSTAR.
Mississippi teachers are currently paid based on years of experience and educational level and each year they receive a salary increase that ranges from about $500 to $800 depending on their degree. The governor wants to end that system and reward teachers with raises for high performance, which he believes will encourage teachers to improve.
Chrestman said that he would be meeting this week with Julie Jordan, director of the Research and Curriculum Unit at Mississippi State University, to get details of the program. “So we can consider whether we want to be a part of it or not.”

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