DEAA(LEGAL) - COMPENSATION PLAN: INCENTIVES AND STIPENDS
Incentive Grants—Contract Provision
A district shall provide in employment contracts that qualifying employees may receive an incentive payment under an awards program established under Education Code Chapter 21, Subchapter O (Educator Excellence Award Program and Educator Excellence Innovation Program) if the district participates in the program. A district shall indicate that any incentive payment distributed is considered a payment for performance and not an entitlement as part of an employee's salary. Education Code 21.415
Educator Excellence Innovation Program
The Educator Excellence Innovation Program (EEIP) is a grant program under which a district may receive a competitive grant for the purposes of systematically transforming educator quality and effectiveness. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) will give priority to districts that receive Title I funding and have at a majority of district campuses a student enrollment that is at least 50 percent educationally disadvantaged.
A district is eligible to apply for EEIP grant funds if the district:
- Completes and submits a Notice of Intent to Apply to TEA by the date established by the commissioner of education;
- Complies with all assurances in the Notice of Intent to Apply and grant application;
- Participates in the required technical assistance activities established by the commissioner, including establishing leadership teams, master teachers, mentor teachers, and instructional coaches and developing career pathways;
- Agrees to participate for four years; and
- Complies with any other activities set forth in the program requirements.
An eligible district must submit an application in a form prescribed by the commissioner. Each eligible applicant must meet all deadlines, requirements, and assurances specified in the application. The commissioner may waive any eligibility requirements as specified in 19 Administrative Code 102.1073.
An eligible district that intends to participate in the EEIP shall submit a local educator excellence innovation plan to TEA. A local educator excellence innovation plan must address the elements at 19 Administrative Code 102.1073(e)(2).
A district must act pursuant to its local board policy [see DEAA (LOCAL)] for submitting a local educator excellence innovation plan and grant application to TEA. A local decision to approve and submit a plan and grant application may not be appealed to the commissioner.
A district may renew its local educator excellence innovation plan for three consecutive school years without resubmitting a full grant application to TEA. With TEA approval, a district may amend its local plan in accordance with 19 Administrative Code 102.1073(c) and (h) for each school year the district receives a program grant.
Use of Grant Funds
A district may use grant funds only to carry out purposes of the program as described at Education Code 21.7011, in accordance with the district's local plan, which may include the following specific methods or procedures:
- Implementation and administration of a high-quality mentoring program for teachers in the first three years of classroom teaching using mentors who meet the qualifications prescribed by Education Code 21.458 [see Mentor Teachers, below];
- Implementation of a teacher evaluation system using multiple measures that include:
- The results of classroom observation, which may include student comments;
- The degree of student educational growth and learning; and
- The results of teacher self-evaluation;
- To the extent permitted under Education Code Chapter 25, Subchapter C, restructuring of the school day or school year to provide for embedded and collaborative learning communities for the purpose of professional development [see EC];
- Establishment of an alternative teacher compensation or retention system; and
- Implementation of incentives designed to reduce teacher turnover.
A district may apply to the commissioner in writing for a waiver to exempt the district or one or more district campuses from one or more of the statutory sections listed at Education Code 21.7061(a).
The application for the waiver must demonstrate:
- Why waiving the identified section of the Education Code is necessary to carry out the purposes of the program;
- Approval for the waiver by a vote of a majority of the members of the board;
- Approval for the waiver by a vote of a majority of the educators employed at each campus for which the waiver is sought; and
- Evidence that the voting occurred during the school year and in a manner that ensured that all educators entitled to vote had a reasonable opportunity to participate in the voting.
Neither the board nor the superintendent may compel a waiver of rights under Education Code 21.7061.
Not later than April 1 of the year in which the waiver application is submitted, the commissioner shall notify the district in writing whether the application has been granted or denied. A waiver expires when the waiver is no longer necessary to carry out the purposes of the program, in accordance with the district's local educator excellence innovation plan.
Education Code Ch. 21, Subch. O; 19 TAC 102.1073
Local Optional Teacher Designation System
A district may designate a classroom teacher as a master, exemplary, or recognized teacher for a five-year period based on the results from single year or multiyear appraisals [see DNA]. Education Code 21.3521(a)
The commissioner's rules specify the requirements for districts to implement local teacher designation systems, including:
- Teacher eligibility;
- Application procedures and approval process;
- System expansion, spending modifications, and changes;
- Monitoring and annual program evaluation of approved local designation systems;
- Continuing approval and renewal; and
19 TAC 150.1012
The commissioner's rules establish performance and validity standards for each local optional teacher designation system that:
- Must provide a mathematical possibility that all teachers eligible for a designation may earn the designation; and
- May not require a district to use an assessment instrument adopted under Education Code 39.023 to evaluate teacher performance.
Education Code 21.3521(b); 19 TAC 150.1014
A classroom teacher that holds a National Board Certification issued by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards may be designated as recognized in accordance with the commissioner's rules for eligibility. Education Code 21.3521(c); 19 TAC 150.1013
TEA shall develop and provide technical assistance for districts that request assistance in implementing a local optional teacher designation system, including assistance in prioritizing high needs campuses. Education Code 21.3521(e)
No Property Right
A teacher has no vested property right in a teacher designation assigned under a local optional teacher designation system. A teacher designation is void in the determination that the designation was issued improperly, and the Administrative Procedure Act does not apply to the voiding of a local optional teacher designation. Education Code 21.3521(f)
Teacher Incentive Allotment
For each classroom teacher with a local optional teacher designation, a district is entitled to an allotment, adjusted by high needs and rural factors, as determined under Education Code 48.112.
A district shall annually certify that:
- Funds received were used as follows:
- At least 90 percent was used for the compensation of teachers employed at the campus at which the teacher for whom the district received the allotment is employed; and
- Any other funds were used for costs associated with implementing the local optional teacher designation system, including efforts to support teachers in obtaining designations; and
- The district prioritized high needs campuses in the district in using funds.
Education Code 48.112(c), (i)
TEA shall periodically conduct evaluations of the effectiveness of the local optional teacher designation systems and the teacher incentive allotment and report the results of the evaluations to the legislature. A district that has implemented a local optional teacher designation system or received funds under the teacher incentive allotment shall participate in the evaluations. Education Code 21.3521(g)
A district may assign a mentor teacher to each classroom teacher who has less than two years of teaching experience in the subject or grade level to which the teacher is assigned. A teacher assigned as a mentor must:
- To the extent practicable, teach in the same school;
- To the extent practicable, teach the same subject or grade level, as applicable; and
- Meet the qualifications prescribed by commissioner's rules.
Education Code 21.458(a)
The commissioner's rules for receiving funds under the mentor program allotment specify the requirements for districts to implement a mentor training program, including:
- Program requirements related to mentor selection, mentor assignment, training, roles and responsibilities, and meetings;
- An application approval process;
- Ongoing verification of compliance with program requirements;
- Allowable expenditures; and
- Program review through periodic reports.
19 TAC 153.1011
Assignment of Mentor
To be assigned as a mentor, a teacher must agree to serve as a mentor teacher for at least one school year. The assignment must begin not later than the 30th day of employment of the classroom teacher to whom the mentor teacher is assigned. A district must agree to assign a mentor to a new classroom teacher for at least two school years. Education Code 21.458(a-1)
Requirements for Mentor
The commissioner's rules must require that a mentor teacher:
- Complete a research-based mentor and induction training program approved by the commissioner;
- Complete a mentor training program provided by the district, which the district may allow to be satisfied by completing the commissioner's research-based mentor and induction training program above;
- Have at least three complete years of teaching experience with a superior record of assisting students, as a whole, in achieving improvement in student performance; and
- Demonstrate interpersonal skills, instructional effectiveness, and leadership skills.
Education Code 21.458(b)
A district must provide the training program described above to mentor teachers and any appropriate district and campus employees who work with the classroom teacher or supervise the classroom teacher. A district may allow the commissioner's research-based mentor and induction training program to qualify for the district's required training. The training must be completed by the mentor teacher and the district and campus employees before the beginning of the school year. A district shall also provide supplemental training to mentor teachers and employees during the school year. The training must include content related to best mentorship practices. Education Code 21.458(b-1)
A mentor teacher must meet with each classroom teacher assigned to the mentor not less than 12 hours each semester. Observations of the mentor by the classroom teacher being mentored or of the classroom teacher being mentored by the mentor may count toward the 12 hours of meeting time required for the semester.
Unless the district has created a mentoring curriculum as provided below, the mentoring sessions must address the following topics:
- Orientation to the context, policies, and practices of the school district;
- Data-driven instructional practices;
- Specific instructional coaching cycles, including coaching regarding conferences between parents and the classroom teacher;
- Professional development; and
- Professional expectations.
Subject to approval by TEA, in determining the topics to be addressed in the mentoring sessions, a school district may create an appropriate curriculum that meets the district needs.
A district must:
- Designate a specific time during the regularly contracted school day for meetings between mentor teachers and classroom teachers assigned to a mentor; and
- Schedule release time or a reduced teaching load for mentor teachers and classroom teachers under this section to facilitate mentoring activities, including classroom observations or participation in supportive coaching.
Education Code 21.458(f), (f-1)
A school district that has implemented a mentoring program is entitled to an allotment to fund the mentoring program and provide stipends for mentor teachers under a formula adopted by the commissioner.
Funding may be used only for providing:
- Mentor teacher stipends;
- Scheduled release time for mentor teachers and the classroom teachers to whom they are assigned for meeting and engaging in mentoring activities; and
- Mentoring support through providers of mentor training.
Education Code 48.114
Achievement Academy Stipends
A stipend received by a teacher who attends a literacy or mathematics achievement academy is not considered in determining whether a district is paying the teacher the minimum monthly salary under Education Code 21.402. Education Code 21.4552(d), .4553(d)
A stipend received by a school counselor or teacher who attends a postsecondary education and career counseling academy under Education Code 33.009 is not considered in determining whether a district is paying the school counselor or teacher the minimum monthly salary under Education Code 21.402. Education Code 33.009(h)
A district may provide a salary incentive or similar compensation to a teacher who completes training provided by a regional education service center (ESC) relating to autism. A school district that decides to provide an incentive or compensation shall adopt a policy to implement this section. Education Code 21.465
A district may not offer or provide a financial or other incentive to an employee to encourage the employee to retire from the Teacher Retirement System of Texas. Education Code 22.007
A district shall not deny an educator a salary bonus or similar compensation given in whole or in part on the basis of educator attendance because of the educator's absence from school for observance of a religious holy day observed by a religion whose places of worship are exempt from property taxation under Tax Code 11.20. Education Code 21.406