Incentive Program Helps Recruit and Retain Teachers

Staff Report

ALBUQUERQUE Gov. Susana Martinez announced that more than 100 teachers statewide will receive a $5,000 stipend this year for teaching at ‘hard-to-staff’ schools across the state.

The initiative, announced by the governor in January, is designed to attract and keep highly qualified math and science teachers in schools that have experienced serious challenges in hiring teachers in these fields.

Teachers in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) were identified by local school administrators to receive the incentive by either transferring to a new school or by committing to teach at a school identified as ‘hard-to-staff.’ 

So far, 75 teachers have been retained at their school with 35 additional teachers moving to a new school in 14 districts across New Mexico.

“We’re proud to stand with teachers who take on the challenge of teaching high-level math and science courses to students in schools that have a tough time attracting and keeping good teachers,” Martinez said. “Students in every part of New Mexico deserve great teachers and this incentive is a key first step.”

The first round of awards go to teachers at 27 schools that are designated as ‘hard-to-staff’ in New Mexico. These schools are defined by their location, academic achievement, or the poverty status of enrolled students.

To qualify for the $5,000 incentive, teachers must commit to teaching at a school for at least two years. Not only can teachers use the funds to increase pay, but the incentive can also be added to federal programs offering student loan forgiveness for those who teach in many parts of New Mexico.

The STEM teacher initiative is part of the governor’s education reform efforts, designed to identify schools and students who are struggling and target interventions to get them the help they need.

There are additional funds available from the $1.25 million program, $675,000, which teachers and districts can continue to apply for in the coming weeks. Districts will have until Friday, Sept. 13 to apply for funds still available from the incentive. Teachers must hold a current New Mexico teaching license in the areas of science, Technology, engineering, or mathematics for grades 7-12.

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