By: Quinton Allen, CCPS Communications Specialist II
When you think of an effective educator, you may think of a person who is able to assist their students to acquire knowledge that they did not previously possess. Collier County Public Schools (CCPS) takes great pride in providing students with the ability to meet and exceed high performance standards. For students on their academic journey within CCPS, one thing they may have in common is having their favorite teacher(s) in the district. Now our beloved teachers are being rewarded with additional financial incentives.
CCPS and the Collier County Education Association (CCEA) have reached an agreement regarding compensation for CCPS teachers for the 2020-2021 school year and the deal was approved at the recent October 6, 2020, School Board Meeting. “It’s definitely a great step in the right direction,” said Gulfview Middle School teacher Marisa Vessella. The sixth-grade math teacher believes it should alleviate some financial burdens for some teachers in the District. “I know some teachers that work other jobs, so hopefully this really helps them.”
Under the new agreement, the base salary for incoming teachers with 0-4 years of experience is now $47,720. Veteran CCPS teachers will receive an additional annual compensation of between $2,640 and $3,000, depending on the level of their education and experience. “The bargaining process was collaborative in nature and both the District and the CCEA were pleased with the final agreements to compensate our teachers,” CCPS Executive Director for Human Resources Valerie Wenrich explained following a tentative agreement in September. The District also credits its strong bargaining and financial teams with helping provide teachers with a significant pay bump.
The benefits of working at CCPS go beyond base pay. As Collier County’s largest employer, CCPS still pays 100% of employee health insurance premiums. When considering both the health and life insurance policies for employees in 2021, those annual benefits will equate to around $9,500.The District feels with this agreement finalized, it increases its efforts to recruit and retain high-level and quality teachers for students. An optimistic Ms. Vessella said, “I think this will help draw other potential teachers to our district.”
Like all school districts, CCPS wants families in our community to feel confident their children are receiving quality instruction. To accomplish this, it takes a roster of high-quality instructional staff members that are hard-working and dedicated to all students. As an “A” school district for a fourth consecutive year, it is safe to say that CCPS is meeting its goal. With a 91.4% graduation rate, which has risen from 72.5% since 2011, the instructional staff members of CCPS have shown their incredible worth.
Taking into account students and staff adapting to innovative instructional models and health guidelines related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the need to attract and retain high-quality educators is especially critical as our community navigates through these unique times. Think about it, we’ve all had them – teachers who bring out the best in us – while also helping us realize our true potential as students and eventually adults. The knowledge and wisdom of a great teacher can leave a positive, lasting impression on an entire family.