Governor Kay Ivey on Thursday signed into law the Teacher Excellence and Accountability for Mathematics and Science (TEAMS) Salary Schedule Program, an aggressive piece of legislation to combat the estimated 3,000 unfilled math and science teacher positions in 6-12 grade classrooms across Alabama.
Starting in the 2021-2022 school year, well-trained and educated middle and high school math and science teachers could earn up to $15,000 in additional pay each year.
“The quality of education in this state, particularly in rural, hard-to-staff areas, has to be solved to properly prepare our children for their futures in an ever-increasing STEM-based economy,” said Ivey, who is a former teacher. “With TEAMS, we are placing emphasis on attracting both in-state and regional teachers in key subjects to move the needle in Alabama school systems.”
The TEAMS program — introduced in the Senate by Donnie Chesteen, R-Geneva, and in the House of Representatives by Rep. Alan Baker, R-Brewton — will provide incentive pay for interested and qualifying math and science teachers.
“In Alabama, our state takes a lot of pride in being number one in college football, yet we have settled far too long with being at or near the bottom in math and science scores,” Chesteen said. “The TEAMS Act will allow Alabama to recruit more math and science teachers and enroll current teacher into the TEAMS program. This bill is a step in the right direction in preparing our state to remain competitive in recruitment of STEM jobs of the 21st century. I look forward to seeing the positive improvements this will provide students in the future.”
Each district can accept one TEAMS math and one TEAMS science teacher to participate in the program per 105 grade 6-12 students in the system — equating to roughly 7,000 teachers statewide. Prospective program teachers can apply to their district for a TEAMS position if they:
- Hold a valid regular or alternate certificate for middle level and secondary math, science or computer science courses.
- Teach courses in mathematics or science in grades 6-12.
- Teach full-time in mathematics or science, or both.
- Complete no less than four days of annual, high-quality Professional Development.
“The TEAMS Act is an aggressive and innovative investment to attract and reward highly credentialed math and science teachers in public schools,” Baker said.
Within three years of admission to the program, TEAMS teachers must receive a specialized certification or credential from the National Institute for STEM Education, the National Board of Professional Teacher Standards (Early Adolescence or Early Adolescence and Young Adulthood Math or Science), or other program as developed by the Department of Education. Three extra years are allowed for those with insufficient experience, such as new teachers, recent college graduates, etc.
Upon program entry, teachers will receive a $5,000 bonus and will earn another $5,000 upon program completion. Additionally, an annual supplement of $5,000 will be paid to those teaching in Alabama Department of Education-identified hard-to-staff schools.
Those interested can apply for Alabama’s Teacher Excellence and Accountability for Mathematics and Science (TEAMS) Salary Schedule Program by contacting the Alabama Department of Education at (334) 694-4900.