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PRESS RELEASE

June 6, 2007

Tom Butler
(850) 245-0413

Florida Department of Education Commissioner Blomberg Applauds Recipients of Federal Teacher Incentive Fund Grants

TALLAHASSEE – Education Commissioner Jeanine Blomberg today applauded four Florida school districts announced last week by the U.S. Department of Education as recipients of $13.6 million in Federal Teacher Incentive Fund grants this year. The grants are expected to be funded over five years for a total of $81.5 million for Florida educators. Launched in 2006 as part of the American Competitiveness Initiative, the Federal Teacher Incentive Fund enables states and school districts to provide financial incentives to educators in high-needs areas for raising student achievement or closing the achievement gap.

“Through Federal Teacher Incentive Fund grants, Florida has been given an opportunity to reward educators whose dedicated efforts make a difference in the classroom every day,” said Commissioner Blomberg. “These funds, combined with state incentive programs, help to ensure the continuance of teaching excellence across the state.”

Awardees were chosen through an application process in which applicants provided detailed explanations about viable and sustainable program ideas to reward and incentivize excellent teachers. Florida received the most grants of any state, with four district winners out of a total of 18 winners nationwide.

The four Federal Teacher Incentive Fund grants were awarded as follows:

  • The National Institute for Excellence in Teaching in Lake County will receive $1,219,957 this year and is expected to receive $20.5 million over five years. The grant will fund the Schools Under Performance Pay Offer Remarkable Teaching (SUPPORT) program, which provides incentives for teachers in Lake County's high-needs schools.
  • Orange County Public Schools will receive $6,595,095 this year and are expected to receive $27.3 million over five years. The grant will fund the Recognizing Excellence in Achievement and Professionalism (Project REAP) program, which provides professional development training to attract highly-qualified teachers and enhance student achievement levels in the district.
  • Hillsborough County Public Schools will receive $3,088,827 this year and are expected to receive $15.4 million over five years. The grant will be used to fund the Performance Optimized with Effective Rewards (POWER) initiative for teachers in 116 high-need schools in the district.
  • Miami-Dade County Public Schools will receive $2,691,841 this year and are expected to receive $18.3 million over five years. The grant will be used to fund the Rewards and Incentives for School Educators (Project RISE) project which provides a jump-start to 36 low-performing schools by creating learning communities and enhancing professional development of teachers in the nation's fourth largest school district.

In addition to the Federal Teacher Incentive Fund grants, existing Florida teacher incentive programs include:

  • Through the new Merit Award Program the state has provided $147.5 million for school districts to provide financial rewards to educators whose efforts have resulted in positive outcomes for students.
  • Florida's Advanced Placement (AP) Bonus Program is a financial incentive program for teachers to teach AP courses. Based on student achievement, teachers are eligible for a bonus of $50 for each student who scores a three or higher on the College Board AP exam.
  • The Differentiated Pay incentive attracts highly skilled and more seasoned teachers to low-performing schools and helps fill vacancies in fields experiencing critical shortages, such as math, science and special education.
  • The Dale Hickam Excellent Teaching Program rewards teachers obtaining certification by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

For more information about the Federal Teacher Incentive Fund grants visit http://www.ed.gov/programs/teacherincentive/faq.html.