Today's Choice for Tomorrow's Future

Best and Brightest

Information

The State of Florida has revised the Florida Best and Brightest Teacher Program (F.S. 1012.731) to recruit, retain, and recognize teachers who meet the needs of this state and have achieved success in the classroom.  Also revised is the Florida Best and Brightest Principal Program (F.S. 1012.732) to identify and award school principals whose schools make noticeable academic improvement.

*Update* As indicated in a recent Press Release, the District is working on disbursing funds to eligible employees by December 20, 2019. Information on this webpage, including but not limited to program qualifications and Frequently Asked Questions, is being updated on an ongoing basis.

Last Updated: Thursday 12/05/2019


Am I eligible?

You can see your eligibility status by logging into Skyward Employee Access. Once you are logged in, follow the steps listed below.

  • Click on Employee Information.
  • Click on Personal Information.
  • Navigate to Custom Forms.
  • Click on Best and Brightest.

The following awards have been established for the 2019-2020 school year.

Award Type Amount* How to Qualify
Recruitment $1,000
  • Be a classroom teacher that is newly-hired in the current school year.
  • Be a "content expert" in math, science, computer science, reading, or civics.
Retention (Highly Effective) $2,500
  • Be a classroom teacher that has taught at an eligible school for at least 2 consecutive school years, including the current school year.
  • Received a summative rating of Highly Effective for the 2018-19 school year.
Retention (Effective) $1,000
  • Be a classroom teacher that has taught at an eligible school for at least 2 consecutive school years, including the current school year.
  • Received a summative rating of Effective for the 2018-19 school year.
Recognition $600-$1,000
  • Per statute, each school districts will establish eligibility criteria for this award.
  • Award amounts were determined through collective bargaining, based on remaining funds after all other awards were calculated.
Principal $5,000
  • Be a school principal that has served as principal at an eligible school for at least 4 consecutive school years, including the current school year.


*Award allocations received through this Program are subject to applicable employer and employee payroll taxes, and will be adjusted accordingly. Final amounts may also be prorated based on the total number of eligible employees and available funds.

Additional Resources

Eligible Schools

Based on school performance and as determined by the Florida Department of Education, for the 2019-2020 school year, the following Lake County Schools are eligible for the Retention award as outlined in the Florida Best and Brightest Teacher Program, as well as the award outlined in the Florida Best and Brightest Principal Program.

Elementary Schools

  • Cypress Ridge Elementary School
  • Eustis Heights Elementary School
  • Leesburg Elementary School
  • Lost Lake Elementary School
  • Pine Ridge Elementary School
  • Sawgrass Bay Elementary School
  • Seminole Springs Elementary School

Middle Schools

  • East Ridge Middle School
  • Mt. Dora Middle School
  • Tavares Middle School
  • Umatilla Middle School
  • Windy Hill Middle School

High Schools

  • Lake Minneola High School
  • South Lake High School
  • Tavares High School

Charter Schools

  • Minneola Charter School
  • Round Lake Charter School
  • Spring Creek Charter School

The list of eligible schools was released on September 20, 2019, and can be accessed at
http://www.fldoe.org/core/fileparse.php/5306/urlt/bestandbrightest-rp.xls.

FAQ

This page will be updated as more information is made available.

Am I eligible to receive more than one award?

No. In situations where an employee may fit in more than one of the award categories, eligible staff will receive the higher of the awards to which they are categorized.

Do I need to request SAT/ACT scores?

No.  As of the 2019-20 school year, the current version of the statute has eliminated this requirement. 

How can I determine if I am eligible for an award?

You can see your eligibility status by logging into Skyward Employee Access. Once you are logged in, follow the steps listed below.

  • Click on Employee Information.
  • Click on Personal Information.
  • Navigate to Custom Forms.
  • Click on Best and Brightest.

How do I apply for the Program?

For the 2019-20 school year, staff eligibility will be automatically assessed for any of the provisions outlined in the Florida Best and Brightest Teacher Program, and as negotiated through collective bargaining.

For newly hired teachers that may qualify for the Recognition award (see the "How To Apply" section/tab), information for eligibility consideration must be received by the District no later than February 28, 2020.

How do I qualify for the Recognition award?

For staff that do not otherwise qualify for the Recruitment or Retention awards, those eligible for a Recognition award (as defined in F.S. 1012.731, and as negotiated through collective bargaining) must be direct-hire instructional personnel as defined by F.S.1012.01(2)(a-e), that have been rated Effective or Highly Effective for the 2018-19 school year.

How is a school determined eligible for the Retention award?

To be considered an eligible school, overall school performance (as measured by Florida school grades) at a school must have improved an average of three (3) percentage points or more in the percentage of total possible points achieved for determining school grades over the prior (3) years.

To ensure the maximum number of eligible teachers, the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) established three separate calculation methods to identify which schools meet this requirement.

The FLDOE has published a short guide explaining the calculation methods, and can be accessed at
https://info.fldoe.org/docushare/dsweb/Get/Document-8600/dps-2019-109a.pdf

The list of eligible schools was released on September 20, 2019, and can be accessed at
http://www.fldoe.org/core/fileparse.php/5306/urlt/bestandbrightest-rp.xls.

How is my employment status defined when determining eligibility?

In order to be considered for any of the awards outlined in the Florida Best and Brightest Teacher Program, eligibility will be considered based upon your employment status as reported to the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) during the 2019-20 FTE Staff Survey Reporting period. Specifically, your employment status as of "date-certain", which is defined by the FLDOE during this period as Friday, October 11, 2019. Note: Special consideration will be afforded to individuals who were on a board-approved leave of absence (i.e. FMLA, maternity) during this timeframe.

Additionally, you must have been actively employed with the District as of the date that the Lake County Education Association (LCEA) and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) reached an agreement on funds associated with the Program, which is Monday, December 2, 2019.

How much of an award amount will be issued to me?

Funds associated with the Florida Best and Brightest Teacher Program are subject to applicable payroll taxes, including the employer portion of FICA taxes, and any mandatory payroll expenses to determine the gross amount that will be paid to each award recipient. Based on current rates, approximately 8.26% of the total award allocation is being used for these expenses. As an example:

Amount Description Additional Information
$1,000.00 Award Allocation  
$70.66 Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) Contributions of the employer’s share of Social Security and Medicare for school district personnel (including hourly personnel). For the current school year, this is a rate of 7.65%
$5.63 Workers’ Compensation Expenditures to provide workers’ compensation coverage. For the current school year, this is a rate of 0.61%
$76.30 Total Employer Expenses
$923.70 Gross Amount


Do note that awards received through this program are also subject to applicable employee payroll expenses and income tax withholding. The Gross Amount is what you will receive, which is the Award Allocation minus employer payroll taxes and mandatory payroll expenses. Individual net amounts will vary.

I am a paraprofessional. Is this the education supplement I get each year?

No. The Florida Best and Brightest Teacher Program and the SEIU Paraprofessional Education bonus are two separate items, each with different criteria.

The SEIU Paraprofessional Education bonus provides paraprofessionals with an Associate’s degree or higher from an accredited college or university, a bi-annual supplement totaling $600.00. The bi-annual supplement payment of $300.00 shall be paid no later than the last payday of December and final payment of $300.00 to be paid on the last check at the end of the school year.

Some paraprofessionals will qualify for one or both of these awards, and will receive payment for these awards prior to December 20, 2019. However, to reiterate, they are two separate programs and are not related to one another. Additionally, neither program is related to the SEIU award pay application process that is also occurring in December 2019.

If I qualified for the $7,200 award last year, can I qualify for that award this year?

No. The State of Florida has revised the Florida Best and Brightest Teacher Program (F.S. 1012.731) to recruit, retain, and recognize teachers who meet the needs of this state and have achieved success in the classroom. As such, this particular award no longer exists, and individuals who were eligible under previous rules should no longer assume continued eligibility each school year.

You will need to review the current award types and eligibility criteria on the Information tab of this page for information on qualifying for an award in this school year.

What is the definition of a "classroom teacher"?

Per F.S. 1012.01(2)(a), a classroom teacher is defined as any K-12 staff member assigned the professional activity of instructing students in courses in classroom situations, including basic instruction, exceptional student education, and career education.

Your job assignment will need to be in alignment with one of the aforementioned instructional areas in order to be considered for the Recruitment or Retention awards set forth in the Florida Best and Brightest Teacher Program.

Note that regarding the Florida Best and Brightest Teacher Program, the definition of a classroom teacher was clarified by the Florida Department of Education as K-12 staff members only. As such, Pre-K teachers are not eligible for the Program.

Additionally, non-classroom teachers and staff members do not meet the definition of a classroom teacher, and cannot be considered for the Recruitment or Retention awards set forth in the Florida Best and Brightest Teacher Program. These include, but are not limited to: student services personnel, librarians/media specialists, program specialists, resource teachers, instructional coaches, adjunct educators, and paraprofessionals.

What is the definition of a "content expert"?

Rule 6AER19-01 was established to define "Content Expert" in the areas of Mathematics, Science, Computer Science, Reading or Civics for the Recruitment award set forth in the Florida Best and Brightest Teacher Program

You must meet one of the following requirements in order to be considered a "content expert"

  • Hold a valid Florida educator’s certificate in one of the specified content areas as set forth in Rule 6A-1.0503(2)(a).
  • Hold a Master’s degree in one of the specified content areas.
  • Hold a Bachelor’s degree in one of the specified content areas AND have five (5) years of teaching or work-related experience in the associated area.

Additionally, acceptable degree majors are also specified for some of the content areas:

  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Computer Science
  • Reading - English, English literature, reading, or literacy instruction.
  • Civics - political science, American history, social studies, or social science.

What is the definition of a "newly hired" teacher?

For the purposes of the Florida Best and Brightest Teacher Program, Lake County Schools defines a "newly hired" teacher as being newly hired by the District for the current school year (on or after July 1, 2019), regardless of prior years of teaching experience.

How to Apply

There is no formal application process to this program.

For the 2019-20 school year, staff eligibility will be automatically assessed for any of the provisions outlined in the Florida Best and Brightest Teacher Program, and as negotiated through collective bargaining.

Special Information for Newly Hired Teachers
If you are a teacher that is newly hired by the District on or after 7/1/2019, and received an evaluation rating of Effective or Highly Effective in the previous school year with another school district, you may be eligible for a Recognition award. Note: Teachers that meet this qualifier and are determined to be eligible will be issued payment at a later date (Spring 2020).

If you have such documentation and would like to submit it in consideration for this award, you must do so no later than February 28, 2020 using one of the following methods:

Be sure to include your Name and EIN (employee identification number) when submitting information.

Jackrabbit (interoffice mail)
To: Human Resources
Attn: Best and Brightest

Fax
352-253-6502
Attn: Best and Brightest

Email (attachment)
Salary@lake.k12.fl.us
Subject: Best and Brightest