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FWCS gets $1.6 million grant for teachers

INDIANAPOLIS – Fort Wayne Community Schools on Thursday received a $1.6 million grant to reward its best teachers.

School corporations around Indiana will receive a total of $6 million from the new merit pay program, which was established during the 2011 legislative session in an effort to help public schools recruit and retain effective educators.

"Receiving this grant enables us to align the Fort Wayne Community Schools system of support that was developed as a part of our reform agenda with the new state requirements linking student academic growth and teacher evaluations with compensation," FWCS Superintendent Wendy Robinson said. "Our participation in this grant shows FWCS is committed to leading the way in ensuring all students are educated to high standards."

Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett announced the 28 recipients of Indiana's "Excellent in Performance for Teachers" grant at a Statehouse ceremony Thursday featuring more than 100 school leaders and teachers.

"Great teachers change lives," said Tony Bennett, state superintendent of public instruction. "This grant program lets us support schools in their efforts to identify, develop, recruit and retain highly effective teachers

"There is a dramatic culture shift happening in our schools. Teachers and school leaders are working together to build evaluation and compensation systems that reflect our unwavering commitment to excellent instruction for Indiana's students. This program lets us highlight those who are leading this charge."

Applications featured performance and compensation systems aligned to new state laws requiring schools to differentiate teacher performance, provide meaningful feedback to help all teachers improve, and financially reward their best teachers.

Several other area school districts also received a grant – North Adams Community Schools, $172,790; and East Noble School Corporation, $287,136.

Niki Kelly is Statehouse bureau chief of The Journal Gazette.