Teachers, custodians and even lunchroom personnel at some schools are getting bonuses in their paychecks.
And they earned it.
The Georgia Department of Education is handing out $5.7 million in Pay for Performance grants to 68 schools throughout the state that set specific goals and found creative ways to meet them.
A. Brian Merry Elementary School in Augusta has been awarded nearly $45,000 for raising test scores, increasing the number of parent volunteers and getting teachers to map out effective strategies. Two methods: an "illustrated word wall" and writing contests.
Teachers can expect at least $1,000 each. Other staffers also get a portion, Principal Beverly Arnold said.
"We just came together as a school, and the students bought into it," she said.
This is the second time Columbia County's Riverside Elementary School has received the grant award in the seven years Jeanie Hill has served as principal. This year, it's about $80,000.
Riverside had four primary goals: improve test scores, implement two lesson plans based on Max Thompson's Learning Focused Schools philosophy, increase parent volunteer hours and meet accelerated reader goals.
The school accomplished all four. For example, parent volunteer hours rose from 6,000 to 8,000.
"It wasn't any new programs, just improvement on what we already had in place," Mrs. Hill said.
The school's 56 teachers will receive $1,300 each, but even paraprofessionals, custodians and lunchroom workers will get a slice of the pie.
"It is pay for these teachers' performance, and that's where it goes, in their pocket," Mrs. Hill said. "It's a real morale booster, but it would kill morale if just the teachers got the money. Everybody makes the school function."
Four regional schools earned Pay for Performance grants:
Reach Melissa Hall and Greg Rickabaugh at (706) 724-0851.