A DATE with destiny

I’ve posted twice about DATE and haven’t described it to my loyal (two) readers and I apologize to you both for the oversight.

DATE stands for District Awards for Teacher Excellence and is a two year, 85% funded grant from the state. The Texas legislature, in its infinite wisdom, decided that merit pay is still the way to award teachers that have students that show growth and DATE, dag-nabbit, is the way to provide that pay. The state decided that any district that was participating either in whole or in part would be required to kick in the remaining 15% in order to have a 100% fully-funded grant.

So the Legislature allocated a first year grant amount of $145+ million to be paid out to teachers throughout the state. We have no idea what the grant allocation will be in year two.

And here’s the catch:

School districts have to apply to receive these monies. The districts can opt out of the program, meaning that their share of the monies were to be redistributed to the districts still willing to take the time to complete the grant application process.

In addition, campuses within a district can opt out. If that is the case, then only the campuses within a district that continue to be willing to write the grant will receive monies from those allocated to that district.

Our district’s allocation as of January 4th is $454,000.

When our district had it’s original vote to determine whether it wanted to participate, five schools, including mine, said that they wanted to do it.

The district’s allocation will be distributed among the participating campuses through a simple calculation of what is called the Average Daily Attendance. Basically, how many kids came to school each day, averaged out over a segment of time. We’re guessing they will use the numbers from the annual PEIMS date, which is usually the last Friday in October.

Because each campus has a different enrollment, the total ADA enrollment of the four schools will be divided into the $454,000 in order to determine how much per student will go to each campus based on the individual campuses’ ADA.

The challenge in completing the DATE application is three-fold:

Who is eligible to receive these monies as determined by the campus
What criteria will be used to demonstrate student growth
How do the previous two align with the district’s and campus’s goals for improvement

Oh yeah, and we have to have answered these three questions before the end of February (actually, February 21st) in order to have the draft application ready for review by the grant writer.

Piece. of. cake.

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