With New Bedford's Hayden-McFadden Elementary school showing little growth, the state is offering to help.

Russell Johnston of the Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education met with the School Committee on Wednesday. Johnston spoke about strategies for the school's new turnaround plan that have worked elsewhere in the state.

He says the district will have tough budget decisions to get the school up from a level 4, including possibly taking funds from other schools.

More professional development days for teachers and introducing performance-based compensation were also among Johnston's recommendations.

Currently, the district has one day per semester for teachers to work together and develop better teaching techniques and ideas. Johnston says the state wants a minimum of 15 professional development days.

Johnston suggested that compensation adjustments could help keep the better teachers in New Bedford.

He compared New Bedford's issues to his experience in Springfield, where there were 9 middle schools at level 4.

"The attitude in Springfield was we can't fire our way out of this problem. We're not trying to get rid of teachers to solve the problem. We want to work with the teachers we have," Johnston says.

With Hayden-McFadden's last turnaround plan showing little results, the state also wants to see a higher focus on student needs in the next one.

Johnston says students should recieve 1,330 hours of instructional time, compared to the 990 hours they currently get.

The state will evaluate Hayden-McFadden's new turnaround plan in June. If they don't see enough progress, the school will be in danger of dropping to a level 5 school.