Florida Legislature established Florida’s Best and Brightest Teacher Scholarship Program to reward Florida’s teachers who have been evaluated as highly effective and who have earned college entrance exam scores that indicate they were exceptionally well prepared for college level coursework (see General Appropriations Act (Ch. 2015-232, Laws of Florida, p.27, SB 2500-A, Item 99A).
Many are in disarray over this legislature with even some educators and teachers’ associations speaking out against this proactive step forward in soliciting topnotch teachers to forge forward to the future with purging the past and even the present if need be for those that become hindrances and/or impediments to the educational success of all students. In education we have had good, we tried better—-now our school system requires the best to fulfill the obligations, needs and aspirations of a nation compelled to be a driving force economically and socially throughout the world supplied with 21st century technology and propelled by an elite force of educational guides.
We must remember that in all things—-“many are called, but few are chosen” and with the Best and Brightest Scholarship Program, in Florida we will begin to plant seeds in our students from high school so that they can yield a bountiful harvest to be hand- picked to lead the army of education which will become skilled in defeating lack, poverty, ignorance, disease, et al. We cannot rely on the “same old songs” in education to rid us of our woes, but must engage in strategic precision planning inclusive of effective marketing with messaging that is well received and understood by all people regardless of class, heritage or economic status.
Read the article, “Questions abound for new program that rewards teachers based on SAT and ACT scores” by Jeffrey S. Solochek (Times Staff Writer). See information below and check with your school district superintendent to find out more about this amazing program “Just for Teachers”.
Instructions for School Districts, Charter School Governing Boards, Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind and Teachers
· Teachers eligible for the Best and Brightest Teachers Scholarship Program are classroom teachers as defined in s. 1012.01(2)(a), F.S., who are employed by Florida school districts, charter schools, or the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind (FSDB).
· To be eligible, a teacher must:
o Have received an evaluation of highly effective on their most recent evaluation available on October 1. This would include a teacher’s 2014-15 evaluation, or, if not available, the teacher’s most recent evaluation may be used; and
o Submit to their school district, charter school governing board or FSDB by October 1 official ACT or SAT documentation either that their score on the ACT was at or above the 80th percentile based on the rank in effect when the assessment was taken or that their scores on the SAT were at or above the 80th percentile based on the rank in effect when the assessment was taken.
· First year teachers who have not been evaluated must submit to their school district, charter school governing board or FSDB by October 1 official ACT or SAT documentation either that their score on the ACT was at or above the 80th percentile based on the rank in effect when the assessment was taken or that their scores on the SAT were at or above the 80th percentile based on the rank in effect when the assessment was taken.
· Teachers rated highly effective may retake the ACT or SAT in order to earn the scholarship; however, the requisite documentation that they have met the current 80th percentile ranking must be submitted to the district by the October 1 deadline.
· School districts, charter school governing boards and the FSDB are responsible for collecting each teacher’s eligibility information and determining eligibility for the awards. If requested, the department can provide a template that may be used in coordinating the Best and Brightest Teacher Scholarship at the local level.
· Each district, charter school and FSDB must submit to the department by December 1, 2015, the complete list of teachers who qualify for this award. The department will provide a template districts may use to submit the list of eligible teachers.
· Teachers must have a composite score on the ACT that is at or above the 80th percentile or must have both a Critical Reading and Mathematics score on the SAT at or above the 80th percentile.
· All payments to teachers from this program are subject to payroll and income tax withholding.
· Based on information provided by school districts, the department will provide a total award to each district, charter school and to FSDB according to the number of eligible teachers submitted. If the number of eligible teachers statewide exceeds the total amount of the legislative appropriation, the department shall prorate the per teacher scholarship amount. This award will be paid by the department to districts and FSDB by February 1, 2016.
· Eligible teachers must receive their scholarship by April 1, 2016.
Source: Hershel Lyons, Florida K-12 Public Schools Chancellor, July 27, 2015