Pharr-San Juan-Alamo (PSJA) Lyndon B. Johnson Middle School
All Toward Student Growth
Before implementing the Texas Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) grant, principal Linda Soto did what any good student would do: her homework. What stood out to Soto was that by “growing teachers and staff professionally, and through performance- based compensation, I could attract and keep the best teachers.” So even though this work was, as she put it, “new to us, and we had a lot of questions, along with a little bit of anxiety, there was also excitement, that this was something that will help.”
With support from the Texas Center for Educator Excellence, Soto implemented key features of the Texas TIF grant, including collaborative learning communities (CLCs), which are similar to PLCs, at Lyndon B. Johnson Middle School. Teachers applied to become collaborative learning facilitators (CLFs), which was “a great thing, it increased leaders in the school and teachers became very involved formally.” The CLCs met weekly, and CLFs led data-driven professional development through those meetings. It surprised principal Soto “how well the campus and teachers liked this change, how well they turned around strategies, the way it allows them to be so reflective. It improved collegiality among teachers and administrators working together as a team.”
According to Soto, a CLC meeting is quickly initiated by a CLF who shares “what we’re doing and why. Within five to seven minutes, we move into
Soto loves that “everything is focused on student growth.” The new compensation system is “not only for themselves as teachers but for the school as a whole. It’s more of a team effort and there is this collegiality where teachers bring out the best in each other. They know that together, they can be better than they would on their own.” Student growth is what setting the SLOs and spending time in CLCs is all about.
For Soto, “When they do get compensated, it’s very rewarding for them as teachers, us as administrators, and as a school. Then we get to do it all over again.” Doing it all over again is precisely the goal: Rewarding educators for success with students leads
to retaining educators.
It improved collegiality among teachers and administrators working together as a team.