Before this summer, tramping around the woods near Chippewa Falls at an environmental science camp would have earned Alicia Moore personal fulfillment and knowledge to share with her students in the fall.
The camp would not have counted as the kind of formal education credit that, along with extra years of experience, has historically increased teachers' salaries over their careers.
But the recent wilderness lessons may indirectly help Moore boost her salary this year in the Hartland-Lakeside School District, because the Waukesha County district is debuting a new compensation system that aims to reward good performance over seniority - something a few Wisconsin districts are experimenting with in the wake of state legislation that opened the door for rethinking how teachers are paid.
So while Moore, 34, plotted GPS coordinates and learned computer mapping software, she also planned how to teach those concepts to students and measure their learning. Later this school year she'll include all that data in a portfolio to convince administrators and educators she's worthy of a raise.