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High School-Level Accountability: Rewards
4. Rewards

This database seeks to address the following questions:

4A
. Does the state reward high-performing schools? Thirty-nine states currently reward high performance, and one state is developing a rewards program.

Why does it matter?
  • Recognizing schools for increased achievement encourages schools faced with big challenges to stretch.
  • Rewards can maximize motivation and learning in low-performing schools.
  • With negative media coverage about low-performing schools, "success stories" can be a very positive force.


  • 4B. Are the school rewards monetary or nonmonetary? Sixteen states have both monetary and nonmonetary rewards.

    Why does it matter?
  • A monetary award can allow cash-strapped schools the freedom to make desired improvements.
  • Statewide recognition of hard work is very important to struggling schools.


  • 4C. Are reward recipients school and/or staff? Schools receive the reward in 33 states, while both schools and staff receive the rewards in four states.

    Why does it matter?
  • Rewards to the school allow the school to honor the efforts of everyone, and promote collaboration and a team spirit.
  • Rewards to individual staff recognize individual effort and achievement.


  • 4D. Can school rewards be used for staff bonuses? Only eight states allow the school reward to be used for staff bonuses.

    Why does it matter?
  • Money talks.


  • 4E. Are school rewards based on absolute performance or school improvement? Ten states base the reward on school improvement, whereas 11 states base the reward on absolute performance. Eighteen states base the reward either on school improvement or absolute performance.

    Why does it matter?
  • Absolute performance provides a real target for schools and teachers.
  • Rewards based on school improvement allow recognition of gains in achievement.


  • Methodology: Policies were collected from state statutes, recently enacted legislation (session laws), and rules and regulations. Where necessary, statewide initiatives created outside of policy were collected from state education agencies. The information will be updated as changes occur.

    Last updated: October 2007

    Research was conducted by Melodye Bush. Please contact Melodye Bush at 303-299-3631 or mbush@ecs.org with comments or questions about this database.

    Alabama
    Rewards
    Does the state reward high-performing schools? Yes
    School rewards monetary or nonmonetary? Both monetary and nonmonetary
    Are reward recipients school and/or staff? Schools
    Can school rewards be used for staff bonuses? No
    Are school rewards based on absolute performance or school improvement? School improvement
    Sources Rewards: ALA. CODE § 16-1-35

    Alaska
    Rewards
    Does the state reward high-performing schools? Yes
    School rewards monetary or nonmonetary? Nonmonetary
    Are reward recipients school and/or staff? Schools
    Can school rewards be used for staff bonuses? Not applicable since rewards are nonmonetary
    Are school rewards based on absolute performance or school improvement? Both absolute performance and school improvement
    Sources Rewards: ALASKA ADMIN. CODE tit.4, §§ 06.885, 06.895

    Arizona
    Rewards
    Does the state reward high-performing schools? No
    School rewards monetary or nonmonetary? Not applicable
    Are reward recipients school and/or staff? Not applicable
    Can school rewards be used for staff bonuses? State does not have a reward program.
    Are school rewards based on absolute performance or school improvement? Not applicable
    Sources Rewards: Not applicable

    Arkansas
    Rewards
    Does the state reward high-performing schools? Yes
    School rewards monetary or nonmonetary? Both monetary and nonmonetary
    Are reward recipients school and/or staff? Both school and staff
    Can school rewards be used for staff bonuses? Yes
    Are school rewards based on absolute performance or school improvement? Both absolute performance and school improvement
    Sources Rewards: ARK. CODE ANN. § 6-15-2107

    California
    Rewards
    Does the state reward high-performing schools? Yes
    School rewards monetary or nonmonetary? Both monetary and nonmonetary
    Are reward recipients school and/or staff? Schools
    Can school rewards be used for staff bonuses? No
    Are school rewards based on absolute performance or school improvement? Both absolute performance and school improvement
    Sources Rewards: ANN. CALIF. CODE § 52057

    Colorado
    Rewards
    Does the state reward high-performing schools? Yes
    School rewards monetary or nonmonetary? Both monetary and nonmonetary
    Are reward recipients school and/or staff? Schools
    Can school rewards be used for staff bonuses? Yes
    Are school rewards based on absolute performance or school improvement? Both absolute performance and school improvement
    Sources Rewards: COLO. REV. STATS. §22-7-610; COLO. CODE REGS. § 301.51

    Connecticut
    Rewards
    Does the state reward high-performing schools? Yes
    School rewards monetary or nonmonetary? Both monetary and nonmonetary
    Are reward recipients school and/or staff? Schools
    Can school rewards be used for staff bonuses? No
    Are school rewards based on absolute performance or school improvement? Absolute performance
    Sources Rewards: CONN. GEN. STAT. § 10-262L

    Delaware
    Rewards
    Does the state reward high-performing schools? Yes
    School rewards monetary or nonmonetary? Nonmonetary
    Are reward recipients school and/or staff? Schools
    Can school rewards be used for staff bonuses? Not applicable since rewards are nonmonetary.
    Are school rewards based on absolute performance or school improvement? Absolute performance
    Sources Rewards: DEL. CODE ANN. 14 §156.

    District of Columbia
    Rewards
    Does the state reward high-performing schools? No
    School rewards monetary or nonmonetary? Not applicable
    Are reward recipients school and/or staff? Not applicable
    Can school rewards be used for staff bonuses? District does not have a reward program.
    Are school rewards based on absolute performance or school improvement? Not applicable
    Sources Rewards: Not applicable, Master Education Plan - Accountability

    Florida
    Rewards
    Does the state reward high-performing schools? Yes
    School rewards monetary or nonmonetary? Monetary
    Are reward recipients school and/or staff? Both school and staff
    Can school rewards be used for staff bonuses? Yes
    Are school rewards based on absolute performance or school improvement? Both absolute performance and school improvement
    Sources Rewards: FLA. ANN. STAT. § 1008.36

    Georgia
    Rewards
    Does the state reward high-performing schools? Yes
    School rewards monetary or nonmonetary? Both monetary and nonmonetary
    Are reward recipients school and/or staff? Both school and staff
    Can school rewards be used for staff bonuses? Yes
    Are school rewards based on absolute performance or school improvement? Both absolute performance and school improvement
    Sources Rewards: GA. CODE ANN. § 20-14-38

    Hawaii
    Rewards
    Does the state reward high-performing schools? Yes
    School rewards monetary or nonmonetary? Nonmonetary
    Are reward recipients school and/or staff? Schools
    Can school rewards be used for staff bonuses? Not applicable since rewards are nonmonetary.

    Are school rewards based on absolute performance or school improvement? School improvement
    Sources Rewards: Hawaii Revised Stat. Ann. § 302A-1004

    Idaho
    Rewards
    Does the state reward high-performing schools? Yes
    School rewards monetary or nonmonetary? Both monetary and nonmonetary
    Are reward recipients school and/or staff? Schools
    Can school rewards be used for staff bonuses? No
    Are school rewards based on absolute performance or school improvement? Absolute performance
    Sources Rewards: IDAPA 08.02.03.113

    Illinois
    Rewards
    Does the state reward high-performing schools? Yes
    School rewards monetary or nonmonetary? Nonmonetary
    Are reward recipients school and/or staff? Schools
    Can school rewards be used for staff bonuses? Not applicable since rewards are nonmonetary.

    Are school rewards based on absolute performance or school improvement? Both absolute performance and school improvement
    Sources Rewards: ILL. COMP. STAT. § 5-2.3.25c

    Indiana
    Rewards
    Does the state reward high-performing schools? Yes
    School rewards monetary or nonmonetary? Rewards are both monetary and nonmonetary. Monetary if the improvements have been made in all performance benchmarks. Nonmonetary if the improvements have been made in at least one performance benchmark.
    Are reward recipients school and/or staff? Schools
    Can school rewards be used for staff bonuses? No
    Are school rewards based on absolute performance or school improvement? Absolute performance
    Sources Rewards: IND. CODE ANN. §§ 20-31-11-1, 20-31-11-3, 20-31-11-5, 20-31-11-6

    Iowa
    Rewards
    Does the state reward high-performing schools? No
    School rewards monetary or nonmonetary? Not applicable
    Are reward recipients school and/or staff? Not applicable
    Can school rewards be used for staff bonuses? State does not have a reward program.
    Are school rewards based on absolute performance or school improvement? Not applicable
    Sources Rewards: Not applicable

    Kansas
    Rewards
    Does the state reward high-performing schools? Yes
    School rewards monetary or nonmonetary? Nonmonetary
    Are reward recipients school and/or staff? Schools
    Can school rewards be used for staff bonuses? Not applicable since rewards are nonmonetary
    Are school rewards based on absolute performance or school improvement? Both absolute performance and school improvement
    Sources Rewards: KAN. ADMIN. REGS 91-31-39

    Kentucky
    Rewards
    Does the state reward high-performing schools? Yes
    School rewards monetary or nonmonetary? Monetary
    Are reward recipients school and/or staff? Schools
    Can school rewards be used for staff bonuses? No
    Are school rewards based on absolute performance or school improvement? School improvement
    Sources Rewards: KY. REV. STAT. § 158.6455, KY. ADMIN. REG. 5:020, KY. ADMIN. REG. 5:130

    Louisiana
    Rewards
    Does the state reward high-performing schools? Yes
    School rewards monetary or nonmonetary? Monetary
    Are reward recipients school and/or staff? Schools
    Can school rewards be used for staff bonuses? Unclear
    Are school rewards based on absolute performance or school improvement? School improvement
    Sources Rewards:  LA. REV. STAT. ANN. § 17:10.3; LA. ADMIN. CODE tit. 28 § LXXXIII.1301

    Maine
    Rewards
    Does the state reward high-performing schools? Yes
    School rewards monetary or nonmonetary? Unclear
    Are reward recipients school and/or staff? Schools
    Can school rewards be used for staff bonuses? No
    Are school rewards based on absolute performance or school improvement? Two rewards, one based on absolute performance and the other on school improvement
    Sources Rewards:  CODE ME. R. § 05-071-125

    Maryland
    Rewards
    Does the state reward high-performing schools? Yes
    School rewards monetary or nonmonetary? Both monetary and nonmonetary
    Are reward recipients school and/or staff? Schools
    Can school rewards be used for staff bonuses? No
    Are school rewards based on absolute performance or school improvement? School improvement
    Sources Rewards: MD. REGS. CODE 13A § 01.04.09

    Massachusetts
    Rewards
    Does the state reward high-performing schools? Yes
    School rewards monetary or nonmonetary? Monetary
    Are reward recipients school and/or staff? Schools
    Can school rewards be used for staff bonuses? No
    Are school rewards based on absolute performance or school improvement? Both absolute performance and school improvement
    Sources Rewards: Exemplary Compass Schools

    Michigan
    Rewards
    Does the state reward high-performing schools? No
    School rewards monetary or nonmonetary? Not applicable
    Are reward recipients school and/or staff? Not applicable
    Can school rewards be used for staff bonuses? State does not have a reward program.
    Are school rewards based on absolute performance or school improvement? Not applicable
    Sources Rewards: Not applicable

    Minnesota
    Rewards
    Does the state reward high-performing schools? No
    School rewards monetary or nonmonetary? Not applicable
    Are reward recipients school and/or staff? Not applicable
    Can school rewards be used for staff bonuses? State does not have a reward program.
    Are school rewards based on absolute performance or school improvement? Not applicable
    Sources Rewards: Not applicable

    Mississippi
    Rewards
    Does the state reward high-performing schools? Yes
    School rewards monetary or nonmonetary? Both monetary and nonmonetary
    Are reward recipients school and/or staff? Schools
    Can school rewards be used for staff bonuses? No
    Are school rewards based on absolute performance or school improvement? Both absolute performance and school improvement
    Sources Rewards: Mississippi Public School Accountability Standards 2007 Sec. 3.5.1

    Missouri
    Rewards
    Does the state reward high-performing schools? Yes
    School rewards monetary or nonmonetary? Monetary
    Are reward recipients school and/or staff? Schools
    Can school rewards be used for staff bonuses? No
    Are school rewards based on absolute performance or school improvement? School improvement
    Sources Rewards: MO. CODE REGS. ANN. tit 5 § 80-870.010

    Montana
    Rewards
    Does the state reward high-performing schools? No
    School rewards monetary or nonmonetary? Not applicable
    Are reward recipients school and/or staff? Not applicable
    Can school rewards be used for staff bonuses? State does not have a reward program.
    Are school rewards based on absolute performance or school improvement? Not applicable
    Sources Rewards: Not applicable

    Nebraska
    Rewards
    Does the state reward high-performing schools? No
    School rewards monetary or nonmonetary? Not applicable
    Are reward recipients school and/or staff? Not applicable
    Can school rewards be used for staff bonuses? State does not have a reward program.
    Are school rewards based on absolute performance or school improvement? Not applicable
    Sources Rewards: Not applicable

    Nevada
    Rewards
    Does the state reward high-performing schools? Yes
    School rewards monetary or nonmonetary? Nonmonetary
    Are reward recipients school and/or staff? Schools
    Can school rewards be used for staff bonuses? Not applicable since rewards are nonmonetary.
    Are school rewards based on absolute performance or school improvement? Absolute performance
    Sources Rewards: NEV. REV. STAT. ANN. § 385.3785

    New Hampshire
    Rewards
    Does the state reward high-performing schools? No
    School rewards monetary or nonmonetary? Not applicable
    Are reward recipients school and/or staff? Not applicable
    Can school rewards be used for staff bonuses? State does not have a reward program.
    Are school rewards based on absolute performance or school improvement? Not applicable
    Sources Rewards: Not applicable

    New Jersey
    Rewards
    Does the state reward high-performing schools? Yes
    School rewards monetary or nonmonetary? Both monetary and nonmonetary
    Are reward recipients school and/or staff? Schools
    Can school rewards be used for staff bonuses? No
    Are school rewards based on absolute performance or school improvement? Absolute performance
    Sources Rewards: N.J. STAT. ANN. § 18A:7F-29

    New Mexico
    Rewards
    Does the state reward high-performing schools? Yes
    School rewards monetary or nonmonetary? Monetary
    Are reward recipients school and/or staff? Schools
    Can school rewards be used for staff bonuses? No
    Are school rewards based on absolute performance or school improvement? Both absolute performance and school improvement
    Sources Rewards: N.M. STAT. ANN. §§ 22-2C-8, 22-2C-9

    New York
    Rewards
    Does the state reward high-performing schools? Yes
    School rewards monetary or nonmonetary? Nonmonetary
    Are reward recipients school and/or staff? Schools
    Can school rewards be used for staff bonuses? Not applicable since rewards are nonmonetary.
    Are school rewards based on absolute performance or school improvement? Both absolute performance and school improvement
    Sources Rewards: N.Y. COMP. CODES R. & REGS. tit. 8 § 100.2

    North Carolina
    Rewards
    Does the state reward high-performing schools? Yes
    School rewards monetary or nonmonetary? Monetary
    Are reward recipients school and/or staff? Staff
    Can school rewards be used for staff bonuses? Yes
    Are school rewards based on absolute performance or school improvement? School improvement
    Sources Rewards: N.C. GEN. STAT. 115C-105.36

    North Dakota
    Rewards
    Does the state reward high-performing schools? No; however, they are currently developing a system of rewards.
    School rewards monetary or nonmonetary? Not applicable
    Are reward recipients school and/or staff? Not applicable
    Can school rewards be used for staff bonuses? State does not have a reward program.
    Are school rewards based on absolute performance or school improvement? Not applicable
    Sources Rewards: Not applicable

    Ohio
    Rewards
    Does the state reward high-performing schools? Yes
    School rewards monetary or nonmonetary? Nonmonetary
    Are reward recipients school and/or staff? Schools
    Can school rewards be used for staff bonuses? Not applicable since rewards are nonmonetary.
    Are school rewards based on absolute performance or school improvement? Absolute performance
    Sources Rewards: Ohio Department of Education's Schools of Distinction Information

    Oklahoma
    Rewards
    Does the state reward high-performing schools? Yes
    School rewards monetary or nonmonetary? Both monetary and nonmonetary
    Are reward recipients school and/or staff? Schools
    Can school rewards be used for staff bonuses? No
    Are school rewards based on absolute performance or school improvement? School improvement
    Sources Rewards: OKLA. ADMIN. CODE § 210:10-13-20; OKLA STAT. tit 70 § 3-152.1 

    Oregon
    Rewards
    Does the state reward high-performing schools? No
    School rewards monetary or nonmonetary? Not applicable
    Are reward recipients school and/or staff? Not applicable
    Can school rewards be used for staff bonuses? State does not have a reward program.
    Are school rewards based on absolute performance or school improvement? Not applicable
    Sources Rewards: Not applicable

    Pennsylvania
    Rewards
    Does the state reward high-performing schools? Yes
    School rewards monetary or nonmonetary? Monetary
    Are reward recipients school and/or staff? Schools
    Can school rewards be used for staff bonuses? Yes
    Are school rewards based on absolute performance or school improvement? Both absolute performance and school improvement
    Sources Rewards: Pennsylvania Accountability System, PA. STAT. ANN. 24 P.S. § 25-2599.2

    Puerto Rico
    Rewards
    Does the state reward high-performing schools? Yes
    School rewards monetary or nonmonetary? Both monetary and nonmonetary
    Are reward recipients school and/or staff? Schools
    Can school rewards be used for staff bonuses? No
    Are school rewards based on absolute performance or school improvement? Both absolute performance or school improvement
    Sources Rewards:  Consolidated State Application Accountability Workbook, May 2003, Amended as of Sept. 2006

    Rhode Island
    Rewards
    Does the state reward high-performing schools? Yes
    School rewards monetary or nonmonetary? Nonmonetary
    Are reward recipients school and/or staff? Schools
    Can school rewards be used for staff bonuses? Not applicable since rewards are nonmonetary.
    Are school rewards based on absolute performance or school improvement? School improvement
    Sources Rewards: Regents' Commended Schools

    South Carolina
    Rewards
    Does the state reward high-performing schools? Yes
    School rewards monetary or nonmonetary? Both monetary and nonmonetary
    Are reward recipients school and/or staff? Schools
    Can school rewards be used for staff bonuses? No
    Are school rewards based on absolute performance or school improvement? Both absolute performance and school improvement
    Sources Rewards: S.C. CODE ANN. § SEC. 59-18-1100

    South Dakota
    Rewards
    Does the state reward high-performing schools? Yes
    School rewards monetary or nonmonetary? Nonmonetary
    Are reward recipients school and/or staff? Schools
    Can school rewards be used for staff bonuses? Not applicable since rewards are nonmonetary.
    Are school rewards based on absolute performance or school improvement? Both absolute performance and school improvement
    Sources Rewards: S.D. CODIFIED LAWS § 13-3-67, S.D. ADMIN. R. 24:42:01:02

    Tennessee
    Rewards
    Does the state reward high-performing schools? Yes
    School rewards monetary or nonmonetary? Monetary
    Are reward recipients school and/or staff? Schools
    Can school rewards be used for staff bonuses? Yes
    Are school rewards based on absolute performance or school improvement? Absolute performance
    Sources Rewards: TN. CODE ANN. § 49-3-360

    Texas
    Rewards
    Does the state reward high-performing schools? Yes
    School rewards monetary or nonmonetary? Both monetary and nonmonetary
    Are reward recipients school and/or staff? Both schools and staff
    Can school rewards be used for staff bonuses? Yes
    Are school rewards based on absolute performance or school improvement? Either absolute performance or school improvement
    Sources Rewards: TX. CODES ANN. §§ 39.092, 39.093, 39.094, 39.011

    Utah
    Rewards
    Does the state reward high-performing schools? Yes
    School rewards monetary or nonmonetary? Nonmonetary
    Are reward recipients school and/or staff? Schools
    Can school rewards be used for staff bonuses? Not applicable since rewards are nonmonetary.
    Are school rewards based on absolute performance or school improvement? School improvement
    Sources Rewards: UTAH CODE ANN. § 53A-1a-107

    Vermont
    Rewards
    Does the state reward high-performing schools? No
    School rewards monetary or nonmonetary? Not applicable
    Are reward recipients school and/or staff? Not applicable
    Can school rewards be used for staff bonuses? State does not have a reward program.
    Are school rewards based on absolute performance or school improvement? Not applicable
    Sources Rewards: Not applicable

    Virgin Islands
    Rewards

    Virginia
    Rewards
    Does the state reward high-performing schools? Yes
    School rewards monetary or nonmonetary? Both monetary and nonmonetary
    Are reward recipients school and/or staff? Schools
    Can school rewards be used for staff bonuses? No
    Are school rewards based on absolute performance or school improvement? Both absolute performance and school improvement
    Sources Rewards: VA. CODE ANN. §§ 22.1-19, 22.1-253.13:3, 8 VA. ADMIN. CODE 20-131-325

    Washington
    Rewards
    Does the state reward high-performing schools? Yes
    School rewards monetary or nonmonetary? Nonmonetary
    Are reward recipients school and/or staff? Staff
    Can school rewards be used for staff bonuses? Not applicable since rewards are nonmonetary.
    Are school rewards based on absolute performance or school improvement? Absolute performance
    Sources Rewards: WASH. REV. CODE §§ 28A.625.020

    West Virginia
    Rewards
    Does the state reward high-performing schools? Yes
    School rewards monetary or nonmonetary? Nonmonetary
    Are reward recipients school and/or staff? Schools
    Can school rewards be used for staff bonuses? Not applicable since rewards are nonmonetary.
    Are school rewards based on absolute performance or school improvement? Absolute performance
    Sources Rewards: W.VA. CODE § 18-2E-5(j)(5)(F)

    Wisconsin
    Rewards
    Does the state reward high-performing schools? No
    School rewards monetary or nonmonetary? Not applicable
    Are reward recipients school and/or staff? Not applicable
    Can school rewards be used for staff bonuses? State does not have a reward program.
    Are school rewards based on absolute performance or school improvement? Not applicable
    Sources Rewards: Not applicable

    Wyoming
    Rewards
    Does the state reward high-performing schools? Yes
    School rewards monetary or nonmonetary? Both monetary and nonmonetary
    Are reward recipients school and/or staff? Schools
    Can school rewards be used for staff bonuses? No
    Are school rewards based on absolute performance or school improvement? Absolute performance
    Sources Rewards: CODE OF WYO. RULES § 005-000-006 SECTION 10



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