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Frequently Asked Questions

FAQS about Incentive Awards for National Board Certified Teachers.
Note: Please refer to the Fiscal Issues Relating to Budget Reductions and Flexibility Provisions guidance letter for information on provisions that apply to all programs. The letter covers such matters as the public hearing requirement, base year funding provisions, and how funding reductions will be calculated.

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS)

  1. Who qualifies for the $20,000 incentive award?
    National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) who are employed by a California public school district or charter school and who are assigned to teach at least 50 percent time in a high-priority school for four years are eligible for $20,000. The award is paid in $5,000 payments for four consecutive years. Districts must verify, each year, that teachers have met the percentage requirement before funds can be released to make each $5,000 payment.
  2. What defines a high-priority school?
    A high-priority school means a school in the bottom half of all schools based on the Academic Performance Index (API) statewide rankings. The baseline API ranking for purposes of this award will be from the previous year. For example, a teacher notified that he or she has become National Board Certified in fall 2009 will use the 2008 API statewide rank to establish their eligibility for the award.
  3. What does "assigned to teach" mean?
    For purposes of eligibility for this award, "assigned to teach" may include, but is not limited to, a teacher leadership role as a peer assistance and review coach, mentor, or other teacher support provider, if the position does not require an administrative credential.
  4. If I teach in a high-priority school that improves over the next four years, do I continue to receive the $5,000 annual payments?
    Yes, to qualify for the $20,000 award, a teacher must be assigned to teach in a high-priority school in the first year of the award. If this same high-priority school improves so that it is no longer considered a high-priority school, the teacher will still receive each of the $5,000 annual payments for four years. If the teacher moves to another school that is not a high-priority school, he or she will no longer qualify for the remaining $5,000 payments.
  5. Do I still receive the $5,000 annual payments if I move to another high-priority school either in my own district or in a new district?
    Yes, NBCTs may receive the annual $5,000 payment for four consecutive years if they are teaching in any high-priority public school in California.
  6. If I have been teaching in a high-priority school for a number of years and I become National Board Certified, do I receive the full $20,000 award right away?
    No, the $20,000 award is not retroactive.
  7. Is my incentive award considered salary and is it counted toward retirement?
    According to CalSTRS Employer Directive 2002-03, the state incentive awards are not creditable compensation for retirement purposes. If a district provides a salary incentive (employer to employee) then that money is considered creditable compensation.
  8. Is my incentive award taxable?
    Yes, the $5,000 payment is considered salary and thereby subject to both state and federal taxes.
  9. If I haven't already received an incentive award, may I still apply for an award this year even if I achieved national certification in a prior year?
    Yes, as long as the award is funded and you meet all current requirements, you may apply for the award within the application window. The award is granted only once, but that does not mean you must apply in any particular year.
  10. If I applied for and received a $20,000 incentive award, do I have to apply each year to continue the award?
    No, your award will continue for four consecutive years unless you move to a school that is not considered "high-priority." Your name will be included on the District Application and Verification of Eligibility form that is sent to your district each year.
  11. Do I need to contact the California Department of Education (CDE) if I change schools or districts?
    No. You need to update your Response Profile on the NB My Profile Web site.
Questions: Juliet Barbero | jbarbero@cde.ca.gov | 916-323-5795 
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