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232 Bonuses For Project Lift Teachers, 100 Transfer Out Of Schools

Nine schools on Charlotte's west side will see some big changes next year under a new initiative called Project LIFT. A lot of private money is going into these struggling schools to boost learning. Some of it is bonus money that's going to about 230 teachers for staying put. About 100 teachers are transferring. Teachers at the Project LIFT schools were handed something called a dedication agreement this spring. They had to decide whether they were on board with the new initiative. Project LIFT's director Denise Watts visited each of the schools and told teachers what would be expected of them. For example, there'd be longer days and more collaboration with other teachers. "Are you a heavy lifter? Are you going to help us push these nine schools to the place they need to be? Are you a team player? And are you ready to go?" Watts asked teachers at Allenbrook Elementary in the spring. About 100 teachers said, "No thanks" or were ordered to transfer. That's one-sixth of the teachers in those schools. But many more stayed on. In fact, 232 teachers received bonuses for agreeing to do so. They ranged from $1,000 to $13,000 dollars. Thomasboro Principal Jan McIver says she evaluated every teacher at her school to decide whether to reserve a place for them next year. "We looked at initiative and persistence, their belief in learning potential for our students, the impact and influence they have not just on their kids, but on everyone in the building, their teamwork, but also their achievement level, how they can grow kids," says McIver. Project LIFT's director Denise Watts says she didn't know how the process would shake out, but she says the schools have the right team of teachers in place for next year.