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California TOY County and District Participation

Participation information for county offices of education and districts in support of the California Teachers of the Year Program.

Most county offices of education (COEs) organize and administer regional Teacher of the Year recognition programs for applicants within the county. The California Department of Education (CDE) urges counties to ensure that state and local teacher of the year eligibility and application information is made accessible to all public and private school teachers. Counties should seek applicants who represent the diversity of their students. As in past years, each COE is entitled to send forward for consideration by the state selection committee one teacher for every 5,000 (or fraction thereof) teachers in the county. Counties with fewer than 5,000 teachers may submit one teacher for consideration.

Districts and counties are encouraged to hold local competitions in the spring. The state deadline for submission of candidates by COEs is in the summer. This deadline is driven by the National Teacher of the Year Program. The CDE recommends that counties use the Timeline of Activities designed to provide local and county agencies with a time frame to organize and conduct Teacher of the Year selection and recognition activities.

The state application is based on the National Teacher of the Year application. Counties may consider using shorter applications for their local competitions, reserving the state application for county finalists.

Counties can support their finalists by carefully reviewing the final application so that each candidate, as a potential state or national finalist, offers a well-proofed, compelling, and competitive application. Counties should avoid encouraging "cookie cutter" applications which may diminish the applicant's voice and individual strength in favor of a template.

To ensure that the School Schedule and Time Constraints section of the application is complete, counties must check with applicants and their principals before submitting the application to the CDE to ensure that all minimum, professional development, restructuring, and other days impacting the applicant's schedule are listed. If the candidate is selected for a site visit, the visit schedule will be planned in accordance with this section and last-minute adjustments could result in difficulties for the review team and the candidate alike.

Counties should maintain an electronic (Word Document format) version of the application, or at minimum, have access to it in the event that the teacher becomes a California Teacher of the Year. The county would also be asked to provide a professional 2-3 minute video clip of the teacher to be shown at the recognition ceremony. More information on this clip will be made available once Teachers of the Year are selected.

California Teachers of the Year (TOY) serve from January to December for their year of service. In past years, teachers have been called away from their classrooms for as many as 30 instructional days over a period of three to five years, and several days in following years. The employer of each California TOY is responsible for any costs associated with necessary release time without adversely affecting the applicant's salary or benefits. In addition, California TOYs will be expected to travel to Sacramento several times during their year of service and approximately 1 to 2 times a year for the next ten years. The district or county will be expected to cover substitute teacher fees, as well as travel expenses, when necessary.

IMPORTANT! The teacher selected as the candidate to the National Teacher of the Year Program will attend a conference in a host state in January/February of their year of service. Airfare, lodging, and meals are provided for this conference. However, the teacher's district or county is responsible for the registration fee for this conference. In addition, the teacher selected as the candidate to the National Teacher of the Year Program will attend a special ceremony in Washington, D.C. in the spring of their year of service. If selected as National Teacher of the Year, the candidate would be required to be out of the classroom for their year of service in order to meet a rigorous schedule consisting of interviews, site visits, speeches, and other presentations around the nation. The employer of the candidate selected as National Teacher of the Year will be responsible for any costs associated with necessary release time without adversely affecting the applicant's salary or benefits.

Questions: Awards Team | awards@cde.ca.gov | 916-319-0842 
Last Reviewed: Thursday, August 1, 2019