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More CMS Schools To Give Star Teachers New Duties, Higher Pay

WFAE file photo

Seventeen Charlotte Mecklenburg schools are about to try something different when it comes to staffing.  Schools will pay a handful of the best teachers up to $23,000 extra.  They won’t teach one particular class or grade.  They’ll coach other teachers and pick up lessons around the school. 

Not many schools across the country have taken this approach to staffing.  But this year, four Project LIFT schools on the city’s west side are. 

“Before I was a first grade teacher and I taught about 35 kids and now I teach around 165,” says Kristin Cubbage, a teacher at Ashley Park.   

She rotates among classes and grades and also spends a lot of time coaching other teachers.  This way of organizing staff at schools sets out to have the best teachers reach more students. 

Seventeen schools will begin using the staffing models next year.  They include elementary, middle and high schools throughout the district.  CMS expects to add more schools in following years. 

The approach is also designed to recruit and hold onto the best teachers by giving them more responsibility and paying them more. 

Cubbage has been offered jobs outside the classroom, but decided to stay at Ashley Park. 

“This position allowed me to have a comparable salary to those, but also stay with kids, which is where my heart is and where my passion is,” says Cubbage.  “It’s keeping me in a bunch of classrooms, which is great.”

But those higher salaries will come at a price for schools, since schools will have to pay for them within their existing budgets.  Principals may decide to cut support jobs to come up with the money. 

Education Resource Strategies and Public Impact pioneered the staffing approach.  The Belk Foundation has pitched in $500,000 to pay consultants from the groups to help schools design plans. 

It’s not a proven approach, since schools haven’t been using it long.  But, as far as recruitment, CMS points to some early success. Last year, more than 700 teachers applied for just 19 of the higher-wage jobs at the Project LIFT schools.

CMS schools trying out new staffing next year:

  • Albemarle Road Elementary
  • Ballantyne Elementary
  • Barnette Elementary
  • Beverly Woods Elementary
  • Bradley Middle
  • Coulwood Middle
  • Hidden Valley Elementary
  • James Martin Middle
  • Northwest School of the Arts
  • Quail Hollow Middle
  • Shamrock Gardens Elementary
  • Smithfield Elementary
  • Torrence Creek Elementary
  • West Mecklenburg High
  • William A. Hough High
  • Winget Park Elementary
  • Winterfield Elementary
Lisa Worf traded the Midwest for Charlotte in 2006 to take a job at WFAE. She worked with public TV in Detroit and taught English in Austria before making her way to radio. Lisa graduated from University of Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in English.