COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

P.O. BOX 2120

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120

SUPTS. MEMO NO. 43

February 23, 2007

INFORMATIONAL

TO:

Division Superintendents

 

FROM:

Billy K. Cannaday, Jr.

Superintendent of Public Instruction

 

SUBJECT:

Revisions in Criteria to Designate Teachers

Highly Qualified

 

In June 2006, the United States Department of Education (USED) reported to the Virginia Department of Education the results of the USED Academic Improvement and Teacher Quality Programs team review of the state's progress in meeting the highly qualified teacher provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) and Virginia's administration of the Title II, Part A, Improving Teacher Quality State Grants program.

 

In the report, USED cited Virginia on the following two issues related to Virginia's implementation of the highly qualified teacher requirements:

 

                     Virginia's using the Praxis II middle school assessments for newly-hired high school special education teachers to demonstrate content knowledge did not meet the requirements of NCLB or the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA); and

 

                     Virginia's High Objective Uniform State Standard of Evaluation (HOUSSE) option of allowing licensed elementary, middle, and secondary teachers not new to the profession to become highly qualified by the completion of an earned advanced degree in any area from an accredited college or university did not meet the requirements of NCLB.

 

The Virginia Department of Education was advised by USED that these issues regarding highly qualified teachers must be resolved by December 29, 2006, and the approved definition reflected in the 2005-2006 data reported on highly qualified teachers. Virginia submitted a response, and notification was received on January 25, 2007, that the data fully addressed the requirements, and the conditions on both the ESEA Title I, Part A, and Title II, Part A, grants have been removed.

 

High school special education teachers new to the profession must meet one of the following options to demonstrate subject-matter competency in the subject(s) they teach. The criteria for highly qualified teachers do not apply to special education consultative teachers who are collaborating with a core academic teacher.

 

1.  Options provided by the No Child Left Behind Act, including an academic major in the content area, graduate degree in the teaching content area, or coursework equivalent to an undergraduate major. [New secondary special education teachers who teach two or more academic subjects who are highly qualified in mathematics, language arts, science, or social studies have two years after the date of employment to be highly qualified in the other core academic subject area, which may include HOUSSE. If teaching core academic subjects exclusively to children assessed on alternate achievement standards, the teacher must meet highly qualified requirements for an elementary teacher.]

 

2.  Rigorous State Academic Subject Test: Pass the appropriate Praxis II assessment(s) in the high school subject(s) they teach.

 

3.  Rigorous State Academic Subject Test: Pass the appropriate Middle School Praxis II assessment(s) in the subject(s) they teach if the special education teacher new to the profession is teaching classes at a high school campus in which the students are not earning standard credit in core academic areas towards a high school diploma.

 

To address the citation regarding the option of allowing licensed elementary, middle, and secondary teachers not new to the profession to become highly qualified by the completion of an earned advanced degree (with any major) from an accredited college or university, the Board of Education approved an amendment to Virginia's High Objective Uniform State Standard of Evaluation (HOUSSE). The completion of an earned advanced degree from an accredited college or university must be in the subject(s) the teacher is teaching. Attached is the amended HOUSSE reflecting this change.

 

Each state was required to submit a plan to limit the use of the HOUSSE. Attached is Virginia's plan including specific exceptions. Teachers who have met previously approved criteria by the Virginia Department of Education will continue to be designated highly qualified.

 

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Mrs. Patty S. Pitts, assistant superintendent for teacher education and licensure, at (804) 371-2522; Patty.Pitts@doe.virginia.gov.

 

BKCJr/psp

 

http://www.doe.virginia.gov/administrators/superintendents_memos/2007/inf043a.pdf

http://www.doe.virginia.gov/administrators/superintendents_memos/2007/inf043b.pdf