Continuing Education Procedures
Guidelines and Policies
The 2002 report of a Kinkaid ad hoc faculty committee on teacher evaluation wrote, “The greatest predictor of student success is a positive faculty culture. . . . Positive faculty culture results, among other things, from continued faculty professional growth.” At Kinkaid ongoing professional development consistent with the mission and goals of the school is an expectation of every member of the faculty. All professionals keep up with developments in their field; in education that means subject content, significant curricular developments, pedagogical methods, and research in the field of child and adolescent development, including brain research.
At Kinkaid, all professional development funding comes from a single, substantial budget in the dean of faculty’s care. The same budget that pays for a conference during the school year is used for summer grants, as well. In distributing funding for continuing education throughout the school year, the dean must reserve a significant sum for the summer, when a majority of larger grants are made. While the school is able to fund most requests in their entirety, there are times when a request cannot be funded or can be funded only in part.
The school gives priority to programs that are directly related to classroom, coaching, or other school assignments and that enhance the mission of the school or a particular program. Programmatic priorities will dictate that some specific programs or topics may be given priority at any given time. In any case, the needs of the school must come first. In addition, we consider the cost (especially as it is related to the length of the program), as well as how much the applicant has received in the current and recent years. Programs for teachers who are in the process of their periodic evaluation also receive priority treatment. All full-time faculty are eligible to apply for funds, regardless of tenure at the school. Part-time faculty may apply, as well.
TYPES OF GRANTS
Workshops, Seminars, Conferences
Faculty members interested in attending a program should discuss it first with their department head and principal. If all agree that the program is worthwhile and that the teacher’s responsibilities can be covered in his or her absence, the teacher gets a Continuing Education Application Form (available from the division office, the Business Office, the dean of faculty, or here) fills it out completely, and secures the signatures of the department head and principal. Final approval comes from the dean. Except in rare instances, the dean of faculty does not approve applications without these signatures. The completed application form and the registration materials for the program must be sent to the dean of faculty. The teacher may want to save a copy of these materials. It is important to give complete and accurate estimates (see below) for costs and to write the name and address to which the Business Office should send the check and registration.
The dean of faculty, in a weekly e-mail to the faculty, and on this web page, lists applications that have been approved. When applicants see that their application has been approved, they may proceed with the next steps. Faculty members typically make their own flight and hotel reservations with a credit card and are reimbursed by the school. Teachers should seek the lowest possible airfare, and the school cannot, without prior approval, guarantee reimbursement for flight reservations made less than two weeks before the date of travel or for fares that are significantly more expensive than standard fares. Other expenses approved in advance (food, etc.) will be reimbursed when receipts are submitted to the dean of faculty. The school’s Travel Expense Report form (available on this web page) should be used for this. Please do not expect reimbursement for expenses that were not approved in advance or for which you have no receipt.
It is important to get application materials to the dean as early as possible so that there is adequate time to consider the application and work with the Business Office to process checks to pay for registration. If the Business Office receives a request from the dean of faculty by 4:00 p.m. on Friday, it will produce a check in a week or less.
After completion of the workshop, conference, or seminar, the teacher must submit to the dean of faculty a brief (a few paragraphs via e-mail will suffice) report for his file. These reports also are made available for others to see on this web page. The report should describe the activity, its professional relevance (i.e., how the teacher will use what was learned in his or her work at the school), and a recommendation about whether others would benefit from the same professional development. Teachers must send these reports within one week of completing the activity.
The school encourages teachers to pursue graduate degrees and, within the limits detailed below, will help fund programs that are directly relevant to the teacher’s work at the school. The process for approval is similar to that outlined above. First-time applicants should have discussions with their principal and the dean of faculty about the program they hope to pursue. If the program is approved, the dean and the teacher will map out a plan for school support of the work. Given sufficient notice, the school can pay individual tuition bills in advance; an applicant who has approval also may pay the bill and apply for reimbursement. The standard continuing education application form is used to apply for funding for graduate studies. Upon completion of each course, a transcript or grade report should be sent to the dean in lieu of a written report.
Under normal circumstances, the school financially supports Master's programs only. Funds may be used only for course tuition and books and materials required for courses. The school does not pay tuition charged for post-coursework thesis research and writing. The school currently contributes $2000 per person enrolled in a degree program per year for graduate coursework, to a maximum of $6000 over three years. (In cases where a teacher is able to complete a degree program in just two years, the school may commit as much as $3000 per person per year for graduate coursework, again to a maximum of $6000.)
Collaborative Curriculum Planning
Occasionally a group of faculty who teach a common curriculum (e.g., a Lower School grade level team) will work together for some period of time over the summer to plan curriculum together. In these instances the school approves a given per hour rate for a specific number of hours. This is treated as additional salary, is paid in the teachers’ regular paycheck, and is subject to standard payroll deductions. The school does not fund the normal curricular planning that all teachers must do; rather, the school supports curricular work that is innovative, collaborative, conceptually new, and consistent with the school’s mission.
Summer Applications (see “Special Grants” below)
Applications for summer continuing education are due around the beginning of April, and the dean of faculty usually responds to them within a week. The same criteria and procedure apply, though the form, also available for downloading here, is slightly different. Requests for reimbursement and reports on these activities are due immediately after faculty return to school in August.
The Glenn Ballard Fellowship, named in honor of a past headmaster and funded by a former Kinkaid family, is awarded annually to a faculty member for a summer project. Priority is given to projects that are related to the teacher's professional assignment, and preference is given to teachers who had completed at least five years of service at Kinkaid the year prior to application and have established a record of excellence in the classroom.
The Jennifer Hicks Memorial Fund of Faculty Continuing Education honors the memory of Jennifer Hicks, a member of the class of 1998, and provides a grant supporting a member of the Kinkaid faculty in an activity or study that will enrich his or her teaching, advising, or work with students outside the classroom
The Joseph Barry Moss and Gary Brent Moss Fellowship in the Humanities is established to create the opportunity for Kinkaid teachers to enrich themselves in the formal study of the Humanities or in other activities related directly thereto. The Humanities are defined as literature, history (including histories of the various arts), foreign language, philosophy, religion, and ethics. The Fellowship is open to all teachers in all subjects and at all grade level, including mathematics, science, and athletics, who had completed at least five years of service to Kinkaid the year prior to application.
Applications for these grants should be in the form of a letter to the dean of faculty, explaining in detail the nature of the project and accompanied by a detailed and informed estimate of all costs. Application deadline is the same as for other summer grants. The recipient is chosen by a committee consisting of the headmaster, dean of faculty, and all relevant principals. Typically, recipients of these grants are asked to report to the entire faculty during the opening faculty meeting in August.
FILLING OUT THE APPLICATION FORM
The school’s continuing education application forms require accurate estimates of costs. In order to treat everyone fairly, it is important for the dean of faculty to know in advance how much is necessary for the activity. Keep the following guidelines in mind:
- While the continuing education budget is generous, and the school does not “scrimp” on expenses, it is expected that every teacher who receives funding will use the school’s money in a frugal manner. This allows more teachers to take part in more activities each year.
- Each item is a separate estimate. Underspending in one area does not give license to overspend in another. That is, the key figure is not simply the total, but each individual item.
- Hotel estimates should include taxes.
- When the hotel is in Texas, the teacher is expected to secure in advance a copy of the “Texas Hotel Occupancy Tax Exemption Certificate.” This will save the school all Texas state taxes. Forms may be found in the Business Office or in the office of the dean of faculty and must be presented at hotel check-in.
- While we understand that having a single room is convenient and, in some cases, necessary, where possible teachers should share rooms to save on costs.
- Food should be estimated at a rate of $40 per day ($50 in some more expensive cities).
- Do not make non-refundable flight reservations until the activity has been approved and confirmed. On several occasions teachers have made their reservations, only to find that the conference or workshop is cancelled because of insufficient sign-ups or that there is not room for them.
- In general, the school does not reimburse for auto rentals, and only with prior approval. Where it does, do not purchase additional items such as insurance (check to see whether, as is usually the case, your own auto insurance covers you when you rent a car) or the rental company’s fuel plan (fill the tank before returning the car to the agency).
- The continuing education budget does not usually cover the costs of materials you purchase at workshops or conferences unless they are required for the specific activity, in which case they should be approved in advance. Use division or departmental funds for purchasing additional materials.
- The continuing education budget does not usually cover professional membership dues. Where membership is necessary for attendance of a conference, that should come from departmental or division budgets.
- Applicants often fail to complete the box on the application under the words “THIS SECTION MUST BE COMPLETED.” This section saves the Business Office having to search through the registration form for that information.
- Where relevant, a completed conference or workshop registration form must accompany the school continuing application form. The registration form (or something else you enclose) must “officially” show registration costs.
- If you register on-line, put your own name in the “Make Check Payable to” line on the school application form and include a receipt or something “official” (e.g., photocopy of flyer or print-out of web page) that shows the cost of registration.
- If you drive your own car, the school reimburses on a per mile basis. This covers both fuel and wear-and-tear. Because the amount of reimbursement per mile varies as the IRS allowances vary, you should get the current figure from the dean of faculty. When the destination is quite distant, the school will not pay more for mileage than the cost of a round-trip airfare.
In order to be reimbursed for pre-approved expenses you incur, you must save all receipts, attach them to a completed school Travel Expense Report (found in the Business Office or office of the dean of faculty), and send them to the dean of faculty. The dean of faculty, after approving the expenses, sends these on to the Business Office, where a reimbursement check is cut. Because the school undergoes an annual audit, the Business Office requires receipts. If you lose or fail to get a receipt for a small amount (say, a snack that costs $2.50), just write “NR” (no receipt) next to that amount on the Travel Expense Report. If the total amount to be reimbursed is less than $25.00, the Business Office typically will refund in cash from “petty cash.”