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  1. Florida

Florida school districts get more advice on Best and Brightest bonus

The Florida Department of Education continues to issue more guidelines on the controversial Best and Brightest teacher bonus program, as the Oct. 1 application deadline approaches.

Its latest round of information seeks to answer questions raised by superintendents charged with determining teacher eligibility. Among the highlights, the department has explained that only classroom teachers are eligible, and they may not be on leave.

Here are the questions, submitted by Citrus superintendent Sam Himmel, and the answers from deputy chancellor Brian Dassler:

What is considered an "official" document for the ACT or SAT?
The same documentation an individual would submit for college admission purposes.

We need clarification on the definition of a classroom teacher: If any teacher, such as a Media Specialist, has students assigned to them and may teach one class of reading, are they eligible?
The educator has to be an assigned classroom teacher during the 15-16 school year.

If a teacher is on approved school board leave, are they eligible?
The educator must be teaching during the 15-16 school year to be eligible.

Definition of substitute? Are all substitute teachers eligible? Do they have to be substituting this year or from last year? Is there a minimum of days being a substitute?
Substitute teachers are not eligible because the proviso requires that classroom teachers, to be eligible, must have an evaluation, and the evaluation statute 1012.34, which is referenced in the proviso, specifically excludes substitutes from receiving an evaluation.
F.S. 1012.01 (2) (a) Classroom teachers are staff members assigned the professional activity of instructing students in courses in classroom situations, including basic instruction, exceptional student education, career education, and adult education, including substitute teachers.

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