Performance Pays

from School CIO

Denver Public Schools CIO Ed Freeman talks about the district's groundbreaking teacher pay-for-performance system.

Q. Tell me more about the system.

A. It's a system we built in-house, called ProComp, and it has been implemented over a five-year period. Over a third of the teachers have enrolled—it's optional for existing teachers, but not for new teachers.

ProComp's payout system has four components. The first is knowledge and skills, which includes payouts for professional development, graduate degrees and certifications, and tuition reimbursements. The second component is professional evaluation, which has payouts every year. Third, there are market incentives: payouts for hard-to-staff positions and hard-to-serve schools. The fourth component is student growth, which is based on annual student growth expectations, a standardized achievement test called the CSAP, and a distinguished schools system. If you have helped to create a school that has distinguished itself academically, then you get a payout.

Q. How does the technology work?

A. ProComp processes absolutely have to be automated. We have modules that, for example, help principals assess student growth objectives and do performance evaluations with their teachers. We're also building a module that will help teachers manage their professional development units. They will be able to find out about new courses, have courses tracked and have that information sent to the central data warehouse so that they can be paid properly for professional development. We also have a backend module that takes all the information from automated and manual sources, does the necessary salary calculations, and produces accurate paychecks.

—Interviewed by Lindsay Oishi