Atlanta Schools Strengthening Educator Pathways to High-Needs Schools and Subjects

Atlanta Public Schools is using a combination of bonuses, stipends, and hiring incentives to expand learning time for students and to ensure that the district remains fully staffed, especially in high-poverty schools and high-needs classrooms. In the 2020-21 school year, elementary teachers are making an extra $3,000 a year for working an additional 30 minutes a day; the district will extend these stipends through 2022-23. The district also plans to use $6.3 million of its $201 million in federal recovery funds for special education teacher bonuses and recruitment initiatives focused on high-poverty schools.

We are spotlighting this because these incentives are a break from the traditional salary schedule and are targeted to specific needs. Research suggests that such incentives can boost application and retention rates.

Reviewer Analysis


We support policies to place the strongest teachers in schools with traditionally underserved students and paying educators more to do just that. - Matt Shaver

New Leaders

This multi-pronged and focused approach has the potential to improve student outcomes through clear incentives for teachers and increased learning time. Atlanta might consider how some of these structures could be used to attract and retain school leaders as well. APS leaders might also consider how to ensure sustainability and boost wellness for teachers in its highest-needs schools and classrooms.

Learning Heroes

This investment is laser-focused on equity: ensuring more instructional time for students that need it most, and creatively allocating resources to ensure the best teachers are there to provide it. - Dr. Eyal Bergman

The Rural Alliance

We are encouraged by the additional 30 minutes per day, that time adds up to 80-90 hours per year. - Kevin Jacka

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