At the Eastern Kentucky University Board of Regents meeting Tuesday, John Williamson, the superintendent and dean of K-12 programming, discussed the new performance-based pay program to be implemented at the Model Laboratory School.

"We are really excited to get started with the performance-based pay for teachers," he told the board.

Model, the state's only remaining laboratory school, will introduce the new system in 2021, and according to Williamson, it will be an incentive for teachers to come to the school and help make Model a "center of innovation."

"We are incentivizing teachers to develop a plan with a new pedagogy or program that would go beyond the four walls of their classroom that would help change education in the commonwealth," Williamson said. "And if they would be willing to undertake that, we would be willing to compensate them for the year that they are undergoing that research."

According to Williamson, the school will offer "compensating and competitive pay," offering the same salary as Fayette County, the highest paying school system in the region.

He said the program is not automatic, so teachers who agree to participate in performance-based pay will have more work to do in order to improve efforts in education in a broader context.

So far, Williamson said, he has received good feedback from the faculty, especially with less experienced teachers.

"We have gotten a good reception especially from less experienced teachers who are just starting out in the profession with the initiative," he said. "That's what we want, to start them off and influence their instructional practice for the rest of their career."

Williamson, who just recently took his position, told the board that when he was hired, he was focused on three initiatives to help make the laboratory school the "model" for K-12 education.

In his position, he hopes to revitalize the school as a learning lab and center for innovation, become the center for K-12 education and strategically focus the school's dual enrollment offerings and initiatives.

He updated the board at their regular meeting of the school's 5% increase in enrollment, noting that since students pay tuition to attend the lab school, it was impressive.

However, with that increase, he told the board the current facilities the school operates in are too small for meaningful growth.

"In order to grow and scale our work, our facilities just don't work," he said. "They are out of date, the infrastructure doesn't work. When we have heating or cooling, it is in the opposite season of when you would need it."

He went on to thank the facilities department at the university for helping to update and maintain the existing structure to better serve both the students and faculty.

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