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Initial Reimbursement and Annual Grant

DPI is currently receiving a high volume of contacts for assistance.  The three most commonly asked questions and their answers are below:

Help with WAMS IDs

Before you can submit an application to DPI, you must register for a Web Access Management Systems (WAMS) user ID.

How to set up a WAMS account

Already have one or more WAMS accounts?

How to start your WAMS account recovery:

Perform a WAMS account recovery for all emails you have. Enter your email address but do NOT enter your User ID to start your WAMS account recovery. Once in the account recovery process you will be prompted to change your password. After you change your password you will be told in parentheses what your correct User ID is. Please make note of that before you terminate the account recovery session. Once you have recovered all WAMS accounts you have, login to ELO with each of your accounts individually. If you can see your licenses, you are logging in with the correct WAMS account. If you are taken through the Onboarding process again, you are not using the correct WAMS account and should try another account.

If you encounter errors in the WAMS account recovery process, please contact WAMS directly.  DPI is unable to help with WAMS recovery because the system is used by many state agencies and is run by the Department of Administration:

Revalidating Life or Lifetime License

Educators, whose Life or Lifetime license was invalidated in July, have until December 31 to revalidate their license. Upon approval of the $45 Request Background Check - Lifetime Licensee [5900] application, the Lifetime license will be revalidated just as if the educator completed the application before June 30. Educators will have until December 31 to complete this application for their license to be revalidated.

Background Checks

DPI is required by law to conduct a background check on each applicant for a Wisconsin educator license regardless of whether it is an initial request or a renewal request.

All educators are required to complete a background check to maintain or revalidate a life or lifetime license. There are directions for how to complete the $45 Request Background Check - Lifetime Licensee [5900].

To find the year in which your most recent background check was submitted, search License Lookup using your name or entity number and check see the “Last Background Check Submitted” field.

Initial Reimbursement

After receiving the NBPTS certificate and within the first school year of its effective date, National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) may apply for reimbursement of up to $2,000 for expenses personally incurred for NBPTS certification process. The expenses must be directly related to the process of becoming NBPTS-certified, and may include the cost of the application fees that were not subsidized.

In order to qualify for the reimbursement, the NBCTs must be:

  • Certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.
  • Licensed as a teacher by the state superintendent or employed as a teacher in a private school or tribal school located in this state.
  • Employed as a teacher located in this state.
  • Have a rating of effective or highly effective in the applicable Educator Effectiveness System.

The DPI will mail reimbursement forms to the NBCTs upon notification from the NBPTS. The completed form for reimbursement must be submitted to the DPI before June 30th of the school year in which the NBPTS certificate was received.

NBCTs who are certified in another state and employed as a teacher in Wisconsin may apply for reimbursement. The application for reimbursement must be submitted prior to submitting the application for annual grants. Contact TEPDL (contact form) to request NBPTS Reimbursement Application Form. Attach a copy of the NBPTS certificate or score report letter with the application form.

Annual Grant

After receiving reimbursement for certification expenses (above), NBCTs are eligible to apply for an annual grant in each of the subsequent school years for the remaining duration of their NBPTS certificate.

To qualify for the annual grant, the NBCTs must:

  • have submitted the application for reimbursement;
  • maintain his or her NBPTS certificate;
  • maintain his or her license as a teacher issued by the state superintendent or remains employed in a private school or tribal school located in this state;
  • remains employed as a teacher in this state;
  • have a rating of effective or highly effective in the applicable Educator Effective System.

Annual grants are awarded in the amount of $2,500 in each of the subsequent school years for the duration of the valid NBPTS certificate. Beginning in 2007-08 school year, NBCTs who are employed as a teacher in a high-poverty school (Glossary: At least 60% of the pupils enrolled are eligible for free or reduced lunch under 42 USC 1758(b)) are eligible for a $5,000 annual grant.

NBCTs who successfully renew their certificate may continue to receive the annual grant of $2,500 or $5,000.

Complete and submit the application form to the DPI by June 30 of each school year.

Effective or Highly Effective Rating

As a result of 2013 Wisconsin Act 20, starting in the 2014-15 school year and thereafter, applicants who received the National Teacher Certification by NBPTS Initial Reimbursement grant are required to provide annual verification of being effective or highly effective in the applicable Educator Effectiveness System in order to receive a grant for national teacher certification.  This only effects applicants who are required to be evaluated in the Educator Effectiveness system.

Rating of effective or highly effective means a score of greater than or equal to 2.5 in both the educator practice outcome summary and the student outcomes summary or, if the person has not had an initial evaluation, the person is in the process of being evaluated.  

NOTE:  The list of high-poverty schools for the NBPTS Annual Grant is posted sometime in March each school year.  The $5,000 grant will not be awarded until this list is available.  Therefore, the NBPTS Annual Grant application should be submitted after the list is available and you have confirmed that the school where you are employed is identified as a high-poverty school.

Related Forms:

  • PI 1645 NBPTS Annual Grant Application (fillable)
  • PI 1645 NBPTS Annual Grant Application
  • PI 1678 Employment Verification form (fillable)
  • PI 1678 Employment Verification form

    Please go to Appendix A for High Poverty Data.

    Wisconsin statutes and administrative rules supporting national teacher certification or master educator licensure:

    • Wis. Stat. 115.42 - Grants for national teacher certification or master educator licensure.
    • Wis. Admin Code PI 37 - Criteria and procedures for awarding grants for national teacher certification or master educator licensure