Some Wake teachers to get bonuses up to $2,000 for training. Here’s who will be eligible.

Scott Sharpe/ssharpe@newsobserver.com

Wake County elementary school teachers will get bonuses and stipends for attending state-required training on a new program for teaching literacy to students.

The Wake County school board approved Tuesday paying bonuses of up to $2,000 for elementary school teachers and $1,000 for pre-kindergarten teachers who complete the LETRS training program. The board also approved providing a $125 stipend to teachers who will be taking some of the training during non-school hours.

Wake will use federal COVID relief dollars to pay most of the $16 million in bonuses over the next two years.

North Carolina is paying Voyager Sopris Learning $49.8 million to train 44,000 teachers on how to use the LETRS program. LETRS stands for “Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling.”

State lawmakers are requiring every elementary school teacher to receive this “science of reading” literacy instruction by 2024. This approach stresses phonics when teaching students how to read.

The LETRS training has produced complaints that the time commitment is a burden on teachers, causing some to take the training on nights and weekends.

Wake added six early release days into the calendar for this school year to give teachers some time to receive LETRS training.

State Superintendent Catherine Truitt has credited the LETRS training for statewide gains in reading performance from young readers.

Eligible teachers

Teachers will be eligible for $2,000 in bonuses: half for attending the training and half if they demonstrate mastery. Payments will be made in Novembe, May 2023, November 2023 and May 2024 if they’re still working in Wake.

Eligible teachers are:

K-5 teachers

ESL teachers at the elementary level

1 instructional specialist (IF or Literacy Coach)

SPED teachers teaching on regular curriculum

Wake teacher who took the training during the 2019-20 school year.

Wake Intervention and AIG teachers participating between 2022-2024

These teachers are taking eight units of training. Wake Pre-K teachers who complete the first four units will be eligible for a bonus of up to $1,000 — half for attending and half for mastery.