Master Teacher Premium

Frequently Asked Questions

(PDF version)

Q: Why do we have a Master Teacher Premium?

A: The legislature wanted to identify and recognize teachers who exhibit the highest levels of mastery of instructional techniques and exemplary professional practice through the demonstration of highly effective teaching.

The Master Teacher Premium Basics

It is an effort by the Idaho Legislature to recognize and financially reward outstanding teachers.

It is a premium paid to the teacher of $4,000 per year for the first three years ($12,000), in addition to the teacher’s normal salary. Following the initial three year period teachers are eligible to receive the premium on an annual basis.

Master Teacher Premium determinations are based on the teacher meeting the minimum requirements and a collection of artifacts and evidence (portfolio) of exemplary teaching practices within five standards, including:

  • Leadership
  • Professional Collaboration and Partnerships
  • Students and Learning Environment
  • Content, Instruction and Assessment
  • Professional Growth

Master Teacher Premium is an option that full-time and part-time educators who have been teaching for at least 8 years may choose to pursue.

What the Master Teacher Premium is NOT:

It is NOT part of the leadership premium funds distributed by your district.

It is NOT part of or connected to your administrator’s evaluation of the teacher’s performance.

It is NOT part of the certification or recertification process.

It is NOT tied to your placement on the Career Ladder.

Minimum Eligibility Requirements:

– Eight years of teaching experience, three years immediately preceding the award must be continuous.

– Successful completion of an annual individualized professional learning plan.

– A majority of students meet measurable student achievement as defined in section 33-1001, Idaho code for not less than three of the previous five years.

– Provide artifacts demonstrating evidence of effective teaching for three of the previous five years.

– This is an option that full-time and part-time educators who have been teaching for at least 8 years may choose to pursue.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why do teachers have to submit a portfolio?
A: The committee considered three options for determining the criteria for demonstrating “mastery of instructional techniques.”
1) Require that teachers meet a determined number of distinguished marks;
2) Require a higher percentage level of students showing improvement over the minimum; or
3) Develop a portfolio that allows teachers to choose artifacts demonstrating mastery of instructional techniques. Feedback from stakeholders indicated that the portfolio system would be the best approach.

Q: What is the Difference between the Master Teacher Premium and the Career Ladder?
A: Once earned, the Master Teacher Premium is a $4,000 per year premium distributed to the teacher, for a minimum of three years, and is not tied to placement on the Career Ladder. The Career Ladder is a model for distributing funds to school districts for personnel costs.

Q: What is the difference between the Master Teacher Premium and the Leadership Premium?
A: The Leadership Premium is distributed to the school districts for compensating teachers for leadership roles, mentoring, or other positions identified by the district. The district determines how the Leadership Premium funds are distributed. The Master Teacher Premium is dedicated funds distributed to teachers who choose to apply and meet the requirements.

Q: Who can qualify for the Master Teacher Premium?
A: Any certified teacher in Idaho, who meets the minimum requirements, may apply for the master teacher premium. The evidence required in the portfolios should be adjusted to reflect that teacher’s area of expertise.

Q: How much time should it take to complete the portfolio?
A: Estimated, it could take between 20-40 hours to complete the portfolio (varied depending on the individual).

Q: What is an artifact?
A: Physical evidence (including narrative) documenting how an educator is meeting the criteria of the Master Teacher Standards.

Q: How many standards are there and how many artifacts do I have to have?
A: There are five standards: Leadership; Professional Collaboration and Partnerships; Students and Learning Environment; Content, Instruction, and Assessment; and Professional Growth. The number of artifacts necessary will be varied dependent on the type of artifact and the individual.

Q: Which artifacts must be demonstrated to show the standards being met?
A: Applicants will be able to choose from a variety options when selecting artifacts. This allows for a great deal of flexibility on behalf of the teachers. Evidence (artifacts) must be provided to show mastery of each standard.

Q: Do we resubmit the portfolio every year, how long does it last?
A: The initial award is for three years. After the third year of receiving the Master Teacher Premium, teachers must demonstrate they meet the requirements annually thereafter.

Q: Who will be evaluating the portfolios?
A: A volunteer group of Idaho educators who would receive a stipend for their service.

Q: Is there a template?
A: The Master Teacher Premium Committee is currently in the process of developing a template.

Q: How do I submit my portfolio?
A: This is to be determined. Options are currently being explored, including an option for electronic submittal. Once determined, information on how to submit portfolios will be provided on the State Board of Education website.

Q: Does this impact my certification?
A: No.

Q: Can districts develop their own criteria?
A: Districts may develop their own criteria and evaluation process, which must be approved by the State Board of Education. District development plans must meet the same level established at the state level and be approved by the State Board of Education.

Q: How does the collaboration work?
A: Teachers may choose to work collaboratively for some of the artifacts. However, teachers must submit the artifacts individually.

Q: Must the eight years of experience be in Idaho?
A: Clarification on this issue is being discussed.

Q: How would the portfolios be evaluated?
A: Portfolios will be evaluated based on a common rubric that will be available as part of the application process.

Q: Is there a template or rubric for evaluating the portfolios?
A: The Master Teacher Premium Committee will develop rubrics and templates to guide the portfolio process. It is the intent of the committee to make this as clear as possible.

Q: Who creates the evaluation rubric?
A: For the state-level criteria, the rubric will be created by the Master Teacher Premium committee.

Q: What happens to the portfolio when the selection has been determined?
A: The committee envisions sharing them with other teachers to promote excellence in educational practices. They will be returned to the teacher and electronic copies will be made available.

Q: What are other states doing?
A: A number of states have tiered certification models that include a “master teacher” or equivalent level of certification or licensure, additionally, some states have compensation models that tie pay to different levels of performance. There were no states that had a separate premium that was not tied to either a larger compensation model or teacher certification (licensure). The Master Teacher Premium Committee looked at the following states criteria and review processes for movement to or evaluation of becoming a “master teacher” in their system: Alaska | Colorado | Georgia | Maryland | New Mexico | Ohio | Texas | Washington | Wisconsin

Basic Master Teacher Premium Timeline

  • (2015) House Bill 296 established Section 33-10041, Idaho Code, creating a master teacher premium to recognize master teachers with a $4,000 annual premium dispersed over a minimum of three years.
  • (2015) Master Teacher Premium Committee was tasked with creating the standards and process to fulfill the law.
  • (2016-17 school year) Starting year for creating the Educator Portfolio, which must span and cover a minimum of three years of evidence.
  • (2017-18 school year) Teachers will continue to enhance their Educator Portfolio with additional documents to note growth and/or change, and additional evidence.
  • (2018-19 school year) Teachers will continue to enhance their Educator Portfolio documents and reflections.
  • (June 2019) Submit Educator Portfolio. Timeline for notification of successful qualification to be determined.
  • (July 1, 2019) Funds available for educators who achieve the standards Approved by the State Board of Education and created by the Master Teacher Premium Committee or have met their district developed and State Board approved master teacher qualifications. Disbursement method to be determined.