By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
Three years’ worth of student achievements at the Red Bank Charter School put the school at the top of a national list to receive a heavy infusion of cash and a boost in morale for its teachers and administrators.
The school’s 19 teachers and seven adjuncts will share $100,000 in incentive money from the New Leaders for New Schools’ Effective Practice Incentive Community for overseeing “breakthrough student achievement gains” in standardized state test scores the last three years, according to an announcement from the benefactor organization.
Of the 18 schools selected for the grant, the charter school was one of only four to receive the Gold Gain Award, the highest attainable level.
The funneling of additional cash into teachers’ pockets, who took a pay freeze this school year, is not only a professional reward, but a personal one, Principal Meredith Pennotti said.
“They felt affirmed,” Pennotti said. “They took the hit last year because it’s what we needed, so to have this reward affirmed by a credible organization was really gratifying.”
The grant, while putting more money in educators’ pockets, will also place more responsibility on them.
They’ll be required to share their strategies for success with others in various ways electronically, through site visits and presentations to other school leaders, for example.
“This is such an important opportunity for us. It’s more responsibility, absolutely,” Pennotti said. “But it’s one that we welcome. We think that’s what we should be doing.”
Pennotti and her team will spend the spring and summer packaging their most effective practices for New Leaders to help prepare new educators and administrators from urban schools. The school, among others chosen, will help investigate and document actions and practices that lead to schoolwide success.
Through the grant, charter school leaders will receive awards ranging from $5,000 to $12,000, while teachers will get between $3,000 and $4,000, according to a release from the charter school. Pennotti said the payouts are dictated by each educator’s assumed responsibility in the program.