Statewide Initiatives in Texas Increase Teacher Effectiveness

January 17, 2024

Statewide Initiatives in Texas Increase Teacher Effectiveness

As many states take steps to increase teacher pay in response to teacher shortages, Texas provides a powerful example of how new funds can be targeted to attract and retain effective educators in high-need and rural schools. The Texas Incentive Allotment (TIA) is a strategic compensation program enacted as part of House Bill 3 in 2019 to recognize and reward teacher performance, increase recruitment, improve equitable distribution of effective educators, and retain teachers, particularly in high-need and rural schools. Districts can receive up to $32,000 per teacher per year, with awards weighted more heavily if the school is rural and/or has a low socioeconomic status.

First, districts develop a local designation system to be approved by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) in partnership with Texas Tech University. Teachers are then designated as Recognized, Exemplary, or Master based on multiple measures of teacher skill, performance, and student academic growth. The designation is applied to and remains on a teacher’s certificate for five years, and the school where the teacher works is awarded the TIA funding annually.

NIET has been approved by TEA to deliver a wide spectrum of coaching and services to help districts as they design TIA plans and work with them every step of the way: from the creation of local designation systems and their TIA plan to the teacher observation and appraisal, data analysis, compensation, change management, and communication strategies necessary for successful implementation. Up to 10% of the funding districts receive through TIA can be used for costs associated with implementing and maintaining their TIA system, including teacher leadership and professional learning systems. 

Strengthening mentoring for new teachers 

NIET’s work with partners on the Mentor Program Allotment (MPA) is based on a proven track record in developing teacher leaders. NIET’s mentor training builds skills and knowledge across a range of topics such as understanding and building trust with adult learners, using data to improve teaching, providing high-quality feedback to transform and advance instructional practices, and creating continuous cycles of improvement. School and district leaders participate in training and support before and during the school year to build a common understanding of the work of mentors and the goals of the program.

The investments to focus the work of mentors on instructional improvement have produced strong results. New teachers are returning at higher rates and, just as important, learning how to reflect on and improve their practice. District leaders share that their most effective teachers have the opportunity to take on a leadership role as a mentor, continuing to develop their skills and knowledge and earning additional compensation for their work. This structure of support builds instructional leadership capacity and expertise in each school and across the district. As districts respond to challenges, well-trained, effective mentors and coaches are critical to creating an equitable and inclusive learning system that meets the needs of every student.

About the 2023 NIET Annual Report

The 2023 NIET Annual Report highlights key milestones and achievements over the past year as we have supported partners around the country in building the capacity of educators and unleashing the power of teacher leadership. Read about NIET’s partnerships across the country and how these partnerships are leading to significant impacts on student achievement in the full report here.