By: Julia Deng
BIG SPRING - School Improvement Director Heidi Wagner believes the Big Spring Independent school district can make a much-needed academic turnaround if they make changes built around two core ideas: "[paying] our teachers more money and [providing them with] more time."
Wagner, whose position was created to oversee district-wide improvement, unveiled a new teaching model on Monday that aims to do just that - without making teachers work overtime or exceeding budget constraints.
"We're adopting this new method called 'Project REACH' and we're one of those districts in the state that are looking into this," she told NewsWest 9.
Dallas ISD is reportedly also restructuring their curriculum and staffing along similar guidelines.
The grant-funded Project REACH initiative is a collaborative effort involving the Texas Education Agency, the Texas System of Education Service Centers, Education First and Public Impact.
"We're essentially just maximizing our resources and the skills of excellent teachers," explained Wagner.
She said the teaching model, first implemented during a trial period at Big Spring elementary schools in December, would call for teachers to shift the number of hours spent on classroom subjects in order to target areas that are deemed to be most deficient. In addition, the district plans to hire six staff members before the start of the 2015-2016 school year.
"These will be our 'multi-classroom leaders'," said Wagner. "They'll be teaching in their own classrooms but also moving between other classrooms and acting as models for our other teachers."
The "MCLs" will be stationed at the four elementary schools and earn approximately $10,000 more than regular BSISD teachers, according to district officials.
"We'll be looking nationwide to hire," Wagner told NewsWest 9. "We're looking for dedicated educators to lead our team of teachers."