HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Thousands of Houston ISD's hardest-working teachers got a big thank you -- in the form of a check -- from the school district Wednesday.
HISD awarded $21.9 million in bonuses to 5,771 educators whose students made the largest academic gains during the 2013-2014 school year.
The bonuses were distributed as part of the ASPIRE Award Program, which rewards teachers, administrators and other campus-based employees who are accelerating students' progress and helping them improve significantly.
About 11,000 HISD educators were deemed eligible for the 2013-2014 round of ASPIRE Awards, and more than half of those received payouts. The bulk of that money - $18.5 million - is going to educators who teach core subjects, such as math, science, social studies, and language arts.
"Teachers are the most important component in a student's education," said HISD Superintendent Dr. Terry Grier. "These highly effective teachers are making a difference in the classroom every day, and we're thrilled to have them on Team HISD."
The award payouts are up from last year, when $18 million was distributed to more than 5,100 educators for academic achievements during the 2012-2013 schools year.
HISD pays $21.9M to some of its hardest-working teachers