HISD teachers, campus staff earn $21.9 million for student achievement gains

The Houston Independent School District on Wednesday awarded $21.9 million in bonuses to 5,771 educators whose students made the largest academic gains during the 2013-2014 school year.

The bonuses were distributed as part of the ASPIRE Award Program, which aims to recognize the impact of teachers, administrators and other campus-based employees who are accelerating students’ progress and helping them improve significantly.

About 11,000 HISD educators were deemed eligible for the 2013-2014 round of ASPIRE Awards, and more than half of those received payouts. The bulk of that money — $18.5 million — is going to educators who teach core subjects, such as math, science, social studies, and language arts.

“Teachers are the most important component in a student’s education,” said HISD Superintendent Dr. Terry Grier. “These highly effective teachers are making a difference in the classroom every day, and we’re thrilled to have them on Team HISD.”

The award payouts are up from last year, when $18 million was distributed to more than 5,100 educators for academic achievements during the 2012-2013 schools year.

HISD’s Teacher Performance Pay Program was first launched during the 2005-2006 school year. It evolved into the ASPIRE program the following year, and students have achieved outstanding results ever since. Hoping to build upon that success, administrators now are looking at revising the program to offer additional incentives at the district’s lowest-performing schools.