ASHLAND — The Ashland School District hopes to participate in a statewide study on teacher-pay reform as part of its own study on how to better reward good teachers and weed out ineffective ones.

ASHLAND — The Ashland School District hopes to participate in a statewide study on teacher-pay reform as part of its own study on how to better reward good teachers and weed out ineffective ones.

"It would be nice to have some resources and also be connected to other school districts in Oregon who are working on this," Superintendent Juli Di Chiro told the School Board this week. "I'm very encouraged by this opportunity."

A representative from the Chalkboard Project, a nonprofit focused on improving Oregon schools, will meet with the district's Alternative Compensation Committee in January to discuss the district possibly participating in the statewide study, she said.

The Chalkboard Project's Creative Leadership Achieves Student Success initiative received a $13.2 million federal grant in September to study and implement teacher compensation reforms over the next five years.

Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden supported the Chalkboard Project's request for the Teacher Incentive Fund money.

"The Chalkboard Projects' CLASS program is one of the most innovative education initiatives in Oregon and a model that the entire nation can benefit from," he said in a release.

Seven school districts are participating in the study so far: Albany, Bend-La Pine, Crook County, Lebanon, Oregon City, Redmond and Salem-Keizer.

Researchers are looking for three more school districts to participate and have expressed interest in working with a district in Southern Oregon, Di Chiro said.

"They contacted us and expressed interest," she said. "It is exciting news for us and we certainly hope that that comes to fruition for us."

It's unclear how much funding the district could receive to help complete the study, she said.

The district's Alternative Compensation Committee hasn't released any findings yet. It is evaluating teacher hiring practices, professional development standards and student test scores to try to determine how to improve teaching quality, Di Chiro said.

"As we dig into this, we realize how complex it is," she said. "We're looking at everything from, 'How do we hire and support new teachers?' to evaluations and professional development."

Teacher-pay reform studies are being conducted across the nation this year, Di Chiro said.

"It's a complex subject but there's lots of work being done in the country right now on this, so I think it's a good time for us to be conducting this study," she said.

Hannah Guzik is a reporter for the Ashland Daily Tidings. She can be reached at 541-708-1158 or by e-mailing hguzik@dailytidings.com.