Governor's Teacher Fellowship Program

Frequently Asked Questions

API Low-Performing School Questions
  1. What is the Teaching Obligation for GTF Fellows?

    To fulfill their GTF teaching obligation, Fellows agree to teach in a "low-performing" school. How do I know if a school meets this criterion?

    A "low-performing school" is a school that is in the bottom half of the Academic Performance Index (API) ranking as determined by the California Department of Education (CDE). Low-performing schools will have a ranking of 5 or less on the 10 point API ranking scale. To determine whether a school is a low-performing school, you should check with the school districts in your area or check a school's API ranking by clicking on the API Low Performance School Database in the Quick Links section of this website. Alternatively, go to the California Department of Education website and follow the instructions there.

  2. How do I use the API Low Performance School Database to find the current API of a specific school?

    Use the following steps to locate the API for a specific school:

    1. Click on API by County

    2. Select a County and click on the "Submit" button.

    3. On the next screen, select the Base Report for the most recent year for which API scores are available. After selecting the Base Report year, click on the "Submit" button.

    4. The resulting screen lists Districts and Schools located within each District in alphabetical order. Scroll down through this list until you find the District and the School whose API Statewide rank you want. Note: only an API Statewide Rank - NOT the Similar Schools Rank nor the Growth Targets - determines whether a school is a low-performing school.

  3. Will all public schools in California have an API ranking?

    No. If a public school is new or is an alternative or small school, it may not have an API rank. Also, a school will not have API ranking if there has been an irregularity at the school in the testing on which the API ranking is based.

  4. If I take a position at a public school that does not have a current API ranking, can this position ever satisfy my teaching obligation to the GTF Program?

    If you are interested in teaching at a specific school, and that school does not have a current API score, it may still be possible for that school to qualify as a low-performing school. For example, a new school may draw its students from other schools that are low-performing. Please contact the GTF by email for further information about how to determine if a public non-API ranked school will qualify.

  5. Do teaching positions in Charter Schools satisfy my GTF teaching obligation?

    Charter schools can be public schools and carry an API ranking. If the charter school has a California Department of Education API ranking of 5 or less, it qualifies as a low-performing school. If the charter school is a private school or has an API ranking of greater than 5, then your teaching at that school will not count towards your four years of required service in a low-performing school.

  6. Does the GTF Program consider a Title 1 school to be the same as a low-performing school?

    No. A Title 1 school is a school that serves low-income children. A Title 1 school might also be a low-performing school (since poverty and low school performance are highly correlated). A school's eligibility for fulfilling a GTF teaching obligation is determined solely by the API ranking of that school. Teaching in a Title 1 school that has an API ranking of 6 or more would not satisfy your GTF teaching obligation.

  7. Does the GTF Program consider a PI school to be the same as a low-performing school?

    No. A Program Improvement (PI) school is a school that has failed to meet the performance or growth targets for students in that school under the U.S. Office of Education No Child Left Behind legislation. A high-performing school (API of 6 or more) could still be designated as a PI school. A school's eligibility for fulfilling a GTF teaching obligation is determined solely by the API ranking of that school. Teaching in a PI school that has an API ranking of 6 or more would not satisfy your GTF teaching obligation.

  8. Will transferring from one low-performing school to another low-performing school affect the repayment of my GTF obligation?

    No. You are obligated to complete four years of teaching service in low-performing schools. You may transfer from one low-performing school to another without affecting the completion of your four years of total service.

  9. Suppose I am teaching in a low-performing school (API of 5 or below) and in a subsequent year, the API ranking moves up to a 6 or higher. Do I have to change schools to satisfy my teaching obligation since my school is no longer low-performing?

    No. You can stay at that school and continue to satisfy your teaching obligation. It is the API ranking at the time of your hire that determines whether the school is a qualifying school or not. API increases in subsequent years do not affect the status of your school as one that satisfies your teaching obligation to the GTF Program. However, if you change schools at any time, your new school would again be required to have an API of 5 or less.

  10. Suppose I am teaching in a high-performing school (API 6 or more) and in a subsequent year, the API ranking drops to 5 or less. Does this school become a qualifying school for repayment of my GTF teaching obligation?

    Teaching at a high-performing school puts you into default on your teaching obligation and you would be required to repay your fellowship financially (see the Employment Frequently Asked Questions for details). However, if your school drops into the low-performing range, then it would become a qualifying school and your service from that time onward would qualify towards completing your teaching obligation.