Compensation: LIFT and IMPACTplus 

Bookmark and Share

We believe that teaching is the most important job in the world. 

And while we recognize that teachers do not enter the field of education for monetary reasons, we think that they deserve to be compensated as true professionals.

This is why DCPS collaborated with the Washington Teachers’ Union to develop IMPACTplus, a groundbreaking performance-based pay system that was introduced during the 2009–2010 school year. Through IMPACTplus, outstanding DCPS educators are now being paid what they deserve. In fact, thanks to annual bonuses of up to $20,000 and base salary increases of up to $27,000, some educators have seen their compensation more than double.

Just as in years past, all Highly Effective teachers will be eligible for annual bonuses. However, through LIFT, we have expanded the base salary component of IMPACTplus to reward more teachers in new ways.


■ Teachers who earn consistent Effective ratings at high-poverty schools will be eligible for base salary increases of up to $9,000 at the Advanced Teacher stage.

■ Base salary increases are tied to LIFT stages with increases at the Advanced, Distinguished, and Expert Teacher stages for teachers in high-poverty schools.

We know that teachers are driven by the difference that they make in students’ lives — not by annual bonuses or impressive salaries. But we hope that these changes not only demonstrate just how much DCPS teachers are valued, but also help us to continue attracting and retaining the outstanding teachers that our students deserve.

How will my compensation increase over time through LIFT?

All Effective and Highly Effective teachers will continue to earn the annual step increases outlined in the Washington Teachers’ Union contract. However, at the Advanced, Distinguished, and Expert Teacher stages, teachers will earn significantly larger base salary increases. 

The graph below represents compensation over time for four hypothetical teachers with master’s degrees:

How are DCPS teachers compensated compared to teachers in other districts?

Outstanding DCPS teachers are compensated at unprecedented levels. As shown in the following figures, DCPS teachers earn significantly more than teachers in other districts in the DC metro area, as well as teachers in similar urban school districts across the country. In fact, teachers’ salaries in DCPS exceed those in other districts even without including the annual bonuses and base salary increases that are available to high performers.

How does it work?

For teachers, IMPACTplus has two parts: an annual bonus and an increase in base salary.


How does the annual bonus work?

With a Highly Effective rating, you will be eligible for an annual bonus according to the chart below.

How do I know what my school’s free and reduced-price lunch rate is?

Each school’s status is listed on the DCPS website at If you work at more than one school, we will use the average of your schools’ rates.

Why do teachers in schools with high free and reduced-price lunch rates receive higher bonuses?

One of the goals of IMPACTplus is to help our highest-poverty schools attract and retain outstanding teachers. This is why we are offering higher bonuses to the teachers who serve in these schools.

In the past, teachers in Group 1 have received an additional add-on to their IMPACTplus bonuses. Will this be the case for the 2014-2015 school year?

No. Due to the transition in assessments from the DC CAS to the PARCC test and the fact that IVA will not be included as
a component in final IMPACT scores for the 2014-2015 school year, there will not be an additional Group 1 bonus add-on
this year.

Why do teachers who work in the 40 lowest-performing schools receive a special add-on?

One of the goals outlined in DCPS’s five-year strategic plan, A Capital Commitment, is that by 2017, our 40 lowest performing schools will increase proficiency rates by 40 percentage points. We felt it was appropriate to recognize the most effective teachers in these schools with higher bonuses, given the additional challenges they face.

How do I know if I work in one of the 40 lowest-performing schools?

If you are not sure, please ask your administrator. You may also contact the IMPACT team at 202-719-6553 or


How does the increase in base salary work?

Upon entering the Advanced, Distinguished, and Expert Teacher stages, teachers in high-poverty schools will be eligible for an increase in their base salary in the form of a service credit, meaning that they will be paid as if they had additional years in the system. The size of the base salary increase depends on a teacher’s LIFT stage and education level, as indicated in the chart below.

* In addition to the five-year service credit, teachers entering the Distinguished Teacher stage will move to the master’s degree salary band if not already there, and teachers entering the Expert Teacher stage will move to the PhD salary band if not already there.

Why are base salary increases only available to teachers at high-poverty schools?

More than 75% of DCPS teachers work in high-poverty schools and may be eligible for base salary increases through LIFT. Furthermore, one of the goals of LIFT and IMPACTplus is to help our highest-poverty schools attract and retain excellent teachers. These schools serve large populations of students who need extra support and who face additional challenges outside of the classroom; teachers who are successful in accelerating these students’ achievement deserve the greatest compensation.

Teachers in all schools will be eligible for the leadership opportunities and reduced IMPACT observations available through LIFT, and Highly Effective teachers in all schools will be eligible for annual bonuses.

For how many years do I need to teach in a high-poverty school in order to qualify for the base salary increase?

You must be teaching in a high-poverty school during the year in which you qualify for a service credit and during the following school year. For example, imagine that you are at the Established Teacher stage during the 2014–2015 school year. If you earn a Highly Effective rating at the end of the year, you will begin the 2015–2016 school year at the Advanced Teacher stage. In order to qualify for the two-year service credit at the Advanced Teacher stage, your school in both the 2014–2015 and 2015–2016 school years must be high-poverty.

Inside DCPS Highlights.


DC.Gov Home Page              Best Of The Web Award

© 2012 District of Columbia Public Schools, 1200 First Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002, (202) 442-5885