HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — A new Hillsborough County teacher bonus program to recruit outstanding educators at struggling schools is kicking into gear.
Superintendent Jeff Eakins announced the Spark program about a month ago.
Now the window for teachers to transfer and earn the bonus salary money is open.
Most would call Forest Hills Elementary a struggling school.
"These kids absolutely deserve the best,” said Forest Hills Principal Rachael O’Dea.
Principal Rachael O'Dea says if you want to work for her, you'd call teaching here an opportunity.
"Previously over the summer I definitely had a hard time getting applicants for the positions I had,” she said.
The recruiting process here and district-wide is changing because of the Spark program. That's $17 million to reward educators who chose to work at struggling or "achievement" schools.
"I actually have around eight resumes from in county, out of county, out of state, and ready to transfer up to six people right now,” said Principal O’Dea.
The window is now open for teachers to transfer to Forest Hills or one of 49 other achievement schools and earn up to a $13k bonus and free or discounted child care.
But these teachers must be after more than the extra cash.
"They have to be able to tackle some of the challenges of behavior. We want to make sure students are making better choices, bringing the right conditions in classrooms. That takes a skill set,” said Superintendent Jeff Eakins.
A skill set that allows teachers to see opportunity, instead of struggles.
"With the Spark initiative and offering an incentive that allows people to think about it that maybe hadn't before,” said O’Dea.