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Master's Degree Requirement

Highland Park ISD currently requires all professional staff members to obtain a master’s degree or National Board Certification within seven (7) years of employment in a professional position.
Guidance Documents
The district requires each professional employee to earn a master's degree or earn and maintain valid certification from the National Board for Professional Training Standards in accordance with administrative regulations.  If, at any time, the employee abandons the plan filed or declares intention to not complete the plan within the specific seven-year period, the employee will be considered to have failed to fulfill the original contractual agreement and will be subject to dismissal. 
For more information regarding National Board Certification, please visit the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards website.  
  • The National Board Certification requirement can be extended up to two years if the employee is pursuing certification and is currently in the sixth year of HPISD employment. 
  • The regulation allows extensions to the requirement for those employees who were enrolled in a program but had extraordinary extenuating circumstances preventing them from completing their master's within the first seven years.
  • The regulation adds information about requesting an exception to the requirement.  Such a request will be filed under policy DGBA beginning at Level Two.  The determination at Level Two will be to determine if the request is for an extension or an exception to the requirement.  At Level Three, the Board will decide whether to make an exception to the requirement.  
Historical Information
This requirement has been in place for more than 50 years. The requirement has been reviewed every seven (7) to ten (10) years. Modifications have been made over the previous 50 years extending the timeline for the employee to obtain his/her master's degree from four (4) years to seven (7) years.  During spring 2023, a Master's Degree Task Force recommended, and the Board of Trustees approved, a modification to the policy allowing an employee to earn National Board Certification instead of a master's degree.   
Financial Assistance
Financial assistance is available for eligible staff to pursue either of these requirements.  This support has been requested by campus principals and district administration.
  • For the master's degree, financial assistance is provided by campus PTA/PTOs and other HPISD support organizations such as Sports Club.
  • For National Board Certification, financial assistance is provided by the Clements Foundation.  The Foundation is currently paying the annual registration fee in addition to the cost of the four components for one certification submission.
Upon completion of either requirement, the employee earns a stipend of $3,000 per year beginning with the 2023-2024 school year.  Prior to the 2023-2024 school year, the master's degree stipend is $2,500.