Florida's Best and Brightest Teacher Scholarship Program

  • The stated intent of the Best and Brightest Teacher Program is “to recruit, retain, and recognize teachers who meet the needs of this state and have achieved success in the classroom.”  Each school district has now received their allocation for this program, $9.7 million of which has been earmarked for Pinellas County Schools.  The 2019 Legislature revised section 1012.731, Florida Statutes (F.S.), The Florida Best and Brightest Teacher and Principal Program.  For your reference, the current statute is available at the following link:



    Changes to this year’s program include:

    • SAT and/or ACT scores are no longer required for award eligibility
    • Applications are no longer required to be sent in to HR 


    Recruitment award

    This award is available to newly hired K-12 classroom teachers who are “content experts” hired to teach math, science, computer science, reading or civics.  This is for “new to Pinellas County” teachers, not existing employees.  A content expert is defined as:  Master’s degree in subject or Bachelor’s degree in subject plus 5 years of content related experience.  Those employees will be notified directly of their award, which will be paid out half in January and half in June. 



    Retention award (see list of qualifying schools below)

    Under the statute, a school qualifies if the school has improved an average of 3 percentage points or more in the percentage of total possible points achieved for determining school grades over the prior 3 years.  The State Department of Education (FLDOE) provided the formula for determining the schools which qualify.

     List of Qualifying Schools

    To be eligible for the retention award, a K-12 classroom teacher must have been rated as Highly Effective or Effective in the 2018-2019 school year AND have taught in the school 2 consecutive years (2018-2019 and 2019-2020). 


    You will receive a one-time bonus of $2,500 (less taxes) if you:

    • Are a classroom teacher (see definition and list of ineligible titles below) this year - the 2019-2020 school year
    • Received a rating of Highly Effective based on the 2018-2019 PCS Evaluation
    • Taught at your current school last year (2018-2019) and this year (2019-2020)

    *To be paid out in February


    You will receive a one-time bonus of $1,000 (less taxes) if you are a:

    • Are a classroom teacher (see definition and list of ineligible titles below) this year - for 2019-2020 school year
    • Received a rating of Effective based on the 2018-2019 PCS Evaluation
    • Taught at your current school last year (2018-2019) and this year (2019-2020)

    *To be paid out in February


    What is the definition of a classroom teacher?

    1012.01(2)(a), F.S.:  Classroom teachers. – Classroom teachers are K-12 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 and excludes those categories defined in 1012.01(2)(b)—( e).


    What job titles are NOT eligible for the Retention award?

    PCS has identified the following job titles as being ineligible for the Retention award:   

    • Library/Media and/or Tech Specialist
    • Instructional Staff Developer  
    • Audiologist
    • Behavior Specialist
    • Counselor
    • Diagnostic Specialist
    • Educational Diagnostician
    • Teacher, Job Coach
    • Occupational Therapist
    • Physical Therapist
    • Reading Coach
    • Math Coach
    • Science Coach
    • MTSS Coach
    • School Psychologist
    • School Social Worker
    • Speech/Language Pathologist
    • Coordinator
    • Career Specialist
    • Dropout Prevention Specialist
    • Goals Intervention Specialist
    • Curriculum Specialist
    • Curriculum Tech Specialist
    • Teacher, Varying Exceptionality Specialist
    • Teacher, Varying Exceptionality Liaison
    • Teacher, Speech Correction
    • Teacher, PreK
    • Teacher, Adult Ed


    Recognition award

    All instructional staff rated Highly Effective or Effective qualify for this award, as well as paraprofessionals who were rated on the Supporting Services Personnel Alternative Performance Appraisal, the Supporting Services Personnel Performance Appraisal or the Supporting Services Personnel Probationary Performance Appraisal and did not receive 3 or more ratings of less than satisfactory.  Instructional personnel is broader than classroom teachers and includes student services, media specialists, and instructional coaches, to name a few. 


    The amount for this award will be based on the remaining funds after the other awards are paid out.  The remaining funds will be equally distributed to all qualifying employees and will be paid out in early March.  Employees can receive both the Retention Award and the Recognition Award, if they qualify based on requirements. 


    If you have questions or need additional information, please send all questions and requests to bestandbrightest@pcsb.org.