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The Florida Statutes

The 2017 Florida Statutes

Title XLVIII
K-20 EDUCATION CODE
Chapter 1012
PERSONNEL
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F.S. 1012.731
1012.731 The Florida Best and Brightest Teacher Scholarship Program.
(1) The Legislature recognizes that, second only to parents, teachers play the most critical role within schools in preparing students to achieve a high level of academic performance. The Legislature further recognizes that research has linked student outcomes to a teacher’s own academic achievement. Therefore, it is the intent of the Legislature to designate teachers who have achieved high academic standards during their own education as Florida’s best and brightest teacher scholars.
(2) There is created the Florida Best and Brightest Teacher Scholarship Program to be administered by the Department of Education. The scholarship program shall provide categorical funding for scholarships to be awarded to classroom teachers, as defined in s. 1012.01(2)(a), who have demonstrated a high level of academic achievement.
(3)(a) To be eligible for a scholarship in the amount of $6,000, a classroom teacher must:
1. Have achieved a composite score at or above the 80th percentile on either the SAT or the ACT based on the National Percentile Ranks in effect when the classroom teacher took the assessment and have been evaluated as highly effective pursuant to s. 1012.34 in the school year immediately preceding the year in which the scholarship will be awarded, unless the classroom teacher is newly hired by the district school board and has not been evaluated pursuant to s. 1012.34.
2. Beginning with the 2020-2021 school year, have achieved a composite score at or above the 77th percentile or, if the classroom teacher graduated cum laude or higher with a baccalaureate degree, the 71st percentile on either the SAT, ACT, GRE, LSAT, GMAT, or MCAT based on the National Percentile Ranks in effect when the classroom teacher took the assessment; and have been evaluated as highly effective pursuant to s. 1012.34, or have been evaluated as highly effective based on a commissioner-approved student learning growth formula pursuant to s. 1012.34(8), in the school year immediately preceding the year in which the scholarship will be awarded, unless the classroom teacher is newly hired by the district school board and has not been evaluated pursuant to s. 1012.34.
(b) In order to demonstrate eligibility for an award, an eligible classroom teacher must submit to the school district, no later than November 1, an official record of his or her qualifying assessment score and, beginning with the 2020-2021 school year, an official transcript demonstrating that he or she graduated cum laude or higher with a baccalaureate degree, if applicable. Once a classroom teacher is deemed eligible by the school district, the teacher shall remain eligible as long as he or she remains employed by the school district as a classroom teacher at the time of the award and receives an annual performance evaluation rating of highly effective pursuant to s. 1012.34 or is evaluated as highly effective based on a commissioner-approved student learning growth formula pursuant to s. 1012.34(8) for the 2019-2020 school year or thereafter.
(c) Notwithstanding the requirements of this subsection, for the 2017-2018, 2018-2019, and 2019-2020 school years, any classroom teacher who:
1. Was evaluated as highly effective pursuant to s. 1012.34 in the school year immediately preceding the year in which the scholarship will be awarded shall receive a scholarship of $1200, including a classroom teacher who received an award pursuant to paragraph (a).
2. Was evaluated as effective pursuant to s. 1012.34 in the school year immediately preceding the year in which the scholarship will be awarded a scholarship of up to $800. If the number of eligible classroom teachers under this subparagraph exceeds the total allocation, the department shall prorate the per-teacher scholarship amount.

This paragraph expires July 1, 2020.

(4) Annually, by December 1, each school district shall submit to the department:
(a) The number of eligible classroom teachers who qualify for the scholarship.
(b) The name and master school identification number (MSID) of each school in the district to which an eligible classroom teacher is assigned.
(c) The name of the school principal of each eligible classroom teacher’s school if he or she has served as the school’s principal for at least 2 consecutive school years including the current school year.
(5) Annually, by February 1, the department shall disburse scholarship funds to each school district for each eligible classroom teacher to receive a scholarship in accordance with this section.
(6) Annually, by April 1, each school district shall award the scholarship to each eligible classroom teacher.
(7) For purposes of this section, the term “school district” includes the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind and charter school governing boards.
History.s. 25, ch. 2016-62; s. 46, ch. 2017-116.