Forty-three educators in Pittsburgh Public Schools have reaped
two kinds of rewards: Their students are doing better than expected,
and the educators are getting bonuses of as much as $11,000 as a
The educators at Allderdice, Brashear and Carrick high schools
received a total of $169,660 in bonuses -- 70 percent from federal
funds and 30 percent from the district -- as a result of success in
the Promise Readiness Corps, in which teachers work with the same
students in grades 9 and 10.
The district started the PRC in hopes that colleagues working
together, continuity and building stronger relationships with
students and parents would make more students eligible for
Pittsburgh Promise scholarships.
City students who earn a 2.5 grade-point average in high school
and have 90 percent attendance are eligible for up to $40,000 for
The teachers receiving bonuses taught mostly the same students in
ninth grade in 2011-12 and 10th grade in 2012-13 in what is called
The teams typically included English, math, social studies and
science teachers as well as special education teachers, counselors
and social workers. The science teachers do not loop unless they are
certified in both biology and chemistry.
At all three schools, nearly all ninth- and 10th-graders are in
the Promise Readiness Corps group. The program is continuing this
year in those grade levels.
Awards varied by team and were pro-rated based on how much time
the educator was assigned to a team.
The most successful teams were at Pittsburgh Allderdice where the
average award for 24 members of three teams was $6,685.
Four Allderdice teachers on one team for two years earned $11,000
each: Holly Neely, Michele Papalia, Jonathan Parker and Nicolle
Schmiedlin. Three other members of the same team earned $5,500 each
because they were each on the team for just one year: Terri Alessio,
Amy Galloway-Barr and John Milcic.
Another team at Allderdice earned bonuses as high as $10,300.
The awards for 11 educators on two teams at Carrick averaged
At Brashear, two of three teams didn't earn a bonus. For the nine
educators on one team that did, the average was $778.
While there was a corps pilot program, these are the first
bonuses for members of teams that were assigned the same students
for two years.
Josh Aderholt, director of strategic compensation for the
district, said that teacher participation on the PRC is voluntary
and some of the teams were incomplete, which may be a major reason
for differences in student results.
"The level of fidelity we see to the PRC model at Allderdice is
very, very strong," he said.
The teams were judged on student growth over two years on four
measures: attendance, core course pass rate, the district's own
curriculum-based assessments, and the PSAT, a preliminary college
The growth was measured using a value-added statistical model
that looked at whether the student did better than expected.
PRC teachers work more days and hours -- including early morning
team meetings four days a week -- than other teachers and receive
$9,300 a year above the pay scale to compensate them for time and