This page last updated
December 18, 2007
The 79th Texas Legislature passed House Bill 1, Subchapters N and O creating the largest statewide investment in teacher incentive programs in the nation. Subchapter N, funded at $100 million, was named the Texas Educator Excellence Grant (TEEG) program by the Texas Education Agency (TEA). Subchapter O, funded at $147.5 million for the 2008-09 school year, was named the District Awards for Teacher Excellence (D.A.T.E.) Program.
D.A.T.E. will serve as a start-up grant to a district awards program. D.A.T.E. requires districts to develop and implement an award plan either district-wide or with a selection of participating campuses. Grant awards are divided into two parts. Part I funds make up at least 60 percent of the grant award and must be used to award classroom teachers who are the most effective at improving student performance in Texas school districts and who meet the Texas Education Code (TEC) definition of a classroom teacher. Part II funds, up to 40 percent of the grant award, can be used on teacher stipends, teacher mentors, principal incentives, awards to other campus employees and elements of the Teacher Advancement Program (TAP).
The purpose of D.A.T.E. is to allow districts to create or continue a system of awards for educators demonstrating success in improving student achievement. The grant program allows districts the opportunity to create a local award plan or to implement TAP. Performance-based award systems cut to the core of organizational dynamics and are not something that can be successfully implemented when viewed as peripheral to the district’s core activities. As such, it is important that such award systems are highly aligned with the overall instructional goals for the district, and the programs are overseen by a district leadership team.
District-level planning committees will establish goals for their district award plans that are consistent with and motivated by their district improvement strategic plan. Once the district goals have been determined, district-level planning committees will create an awards plan that is either: 1) district-wide,
2) for select participating campuses including Targeted Campuses, or
3) to implement TAP.
If a district chooses to implement the program in a subset of campuses, then districts are required to target their most high-need campuses. D.A.T.E. plans should award teachers who are the most effective at improving student performance in Texas school districts and meet the TEC §5.001(2) definition of a classroom teacher.
Funding is intended to support the establishment of district award programs that accomplish the following:
- Award teachers for positively impacting student achievement;
- Create capacity and sustainability for improved instruction within the district;
- Alignment with overall district goals;
- Demonstrate district commitment through matching funds.
Depending on the number and size of the districts that choose to participate in the grant program, there may not be sufficient funds available to provide meaningful award amounts to each and every teacher and/or every campus. Therefore, districts may have to make difficult decisions in order to develop high-quality award plans that reflect significant and appropriate teacher award amounts that directly relate to meaningful, objective, and measurable criteria.