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Illinois law requires that holders of the Standard Teaching Certificate renew their certificate every five years, contingent upon proof of continuing education and professional development. The following paragraphs describes the legislation adopted by the Illinois Senate (SB 556, as amended) on March 25, 1999. Changes or additions from the previous summary are identified in italics.
The bill will now go to the House for its consideration. Therefore, all of the provisions set forth in this summary are subject to change.
We recognize that this summary will not answer all questions. Once legislation is adopted, the State Board of Education and the State Teacher Certification Board will begin the challenging process of implementation.
SB 556 changes the effective date for the certification system changes to January 1, 1999. Since certificates are registered and renewed with a July 1 date, the effective date for the certificate renewal requirement is July 1, 2000.
Certificate registration and renewal during the remainder of 1999 will be subject to current law, meaning that individuals whose certificates are up for renewal in 1999 can renew for either one year or three years.
Summary of Proposal
The certificate renewal requirements and procedures will apply to both Standard and Master Teaching Certificate holders. Standard Teaching Certificates are valid for five years. The legislative proposal will make the Master Teaching Certificates valid for ten years instead of the current seven.
There will be two categories of certification for the Standard and Master Teaching Certificate: Valid and Active and Valid but Inactive.
Certificate holders who are NOT teaching and performing services in the public schools (e.g., administrators, university personnel) will be able to renew their certificates as Valid but Inactive simply by registering their certificate(s) with the Regional Office of Education and paying the proposed fee ($25 for the 5-year cycle for Standard Certificates and $50 for the 10-year cycle for Master Certificates).
Holders of Valid but Inactive certificates will be required to activate their certificate(s) if they accept a teaching position in the public schools; that is, they will have to conform to all of the requirements for a Valid and Active certificate, as described below.
Certificate holders who are not teaching and performing services in the public schools, and therefore are not required by the State to maintain their certificates as Valid and Active, may voluntarily activate their certificate by fulfilling the requirements described below. The ROE will serve as the LPDC for such individuals.
All individuals who are teaching in the public schools under a Standard or Master Teaching Certificate will be required to meet the standards and procedures for a Valid and Active certificate designation. Teaching is defined as employment and performance of services in an Illinois public or State-operated elementary school, secondary school, cooperative or joint agreement with a governing body or board of control, in a certificated teaching position, or a charter school operating in compliance with the Charter Schools Law.
The State Board of Education and the State Teacher Certification Board will jointly establish standards and procedures for the Valid and Active certificate, including the acceptable categories of continuing professional development activities, their maximum credit value, and the type of documentation needed to show that the continuing professional development requirements have been met.
The two boards will also establish standards and procedures for approving providers of continuing professional development, including universities, regional offices of education, professional organizations and associations, individual consultants, etc.
Each teacher must accumulate 120 Continuing Professional Development Units (CPDUs) during the five- or ten-year cycle.
The CPDU requirements for a certificate holder who does not teach for a portion of a five- or ten-year cycle (i.e., their certificate is Valid but Inactive for one or more years in a certificate renewal cycle) will be proportionately reduced for the period of time that he or she is not teaching. For example, a teacher who teaches in year one of the five-year cycle, takes other employment for the next three years, and teaches again in year five of the cycle will be required to have earn 40% of the 120 CPDUs in order to renew the certificate as Valid and Active.
Part-time teachers will be able to meet the continuing professional development requirement by earning 50% of the required CPDUs.
Requirements for individuals who are part-time teachers and part-time administrators will be developed jointly by the State Board of Education and the State Teacher Certification Board, as part of the standard-setting process.
In assigning credit value toward the CPDU requirement, a semester hour will be equivalent to 15 CPDUs and a 5 clock-hour CEU will be equivalent to 5 CPDUs. All other CPDU values will be assigned jointly by the State Board of Education and the Teacher Certification Board and will vary according to the category of professional development activity.
Except as otherwise provided, at least 50% of the CPDUs must advance the teacher's knowledge and skills (1) in his or her areas of his or her certification, endorsement or teaching assignment and
(2) in areas determined to be critical for all Illinois teachers, as defined by the State Board of Education. These two provisions are known as, respectively, the first and second purposes for continuing professional development.
The remaining CPDUs must advance the teacher's knowledge and skills related to the goals of the local school improvement plan. They may also expand knowledge and skills in an additional teaching field or toward another teaching certificate, endorsement and/or relevant education degree. These two provisions are known as the third and fourth purposes for continuing professional development.
Teachers may choose to meet their continuing professional development requirements during the five or ten year period by earning 8 semester hours in an approved educational program (e.g., toward a degree or endorsement.) In this instance, at least 20% of the credit hours must be related to improving the teacher's knowledge and skills in his or her areas of certification, endorsement or teaching assignment; however, none of the other purposes apply.
Teachers may also choose to meet their continuing professional development requirements during the five (or ten) year period by earning 24 Continuing Education Units, each representing a five-clock hour session. The required distribution of credit among the purposes, as described above, will still be applicable. Specific language to this effect has been put into the law.
Teachers whose plans indicate an intent to complete the work for certification by the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards will be exempted from all other continuing professional development requirements during that five-year period. Once a teacher has gained NBPTS certification, the renewal cycle automatically becomes ten years.
The required 120 CPDUs may also be earned by a combination of various activities, including but not limited to collaborative work with other teachers, MENTORING, curriculum development, coursework, seminars, CEUs, etc. The bill as amended modifies some of the specific activities listed as acceptable, emphasizing that they must improve the knowledge and skills of the teacher. Strike related activities are prohibited and mentoring includes service as a consulting teacher in relation to teacher evaluation (Article 24A)
The teacher will be able to design a continuing development plan that reflects best practices in professional development, is aligned with personal goals and state and national standards for teachers, and is job-related.
The State Board of Education and the State Teacher Certification Board are required to provide teachers and others with timely and accurate information about these requirements and procedures, as well as about approved professional development opportunities.
Using this information, each teacher must develop a Certificate Renewal Plan that identifies at least three individual improvement goals. These goals must be consistent with the four continuing professional development purposes (see above) and the plan must describe how these goals are to be met. This includes projected activities and timelines for earning the 120 CPDUs, the 8 semester hours, the 120 CEUs or the NBPTS.
The plan must address only the certificate(s) on which the holder is currently teaching and providing services. However, completion of the plan will result in renewal of all teaching certificates held at that time.
Certificate Renewal Plans will be approved by Local Professional Development Committees (LPDC) comprised of at least 3 teachers and one other certificated person, all selected by the exclusive bargaining agent (if any), and one at large member who may be an administrator, a parent or member of the business community, as determined by the district. Committee members must be known to demonstrate best practices in teaching or their respective fields of practice. By mutual agreement, additional members may be appointed to the LPDC so long as the majority of members are teachers.
The school district is responsible for determining how many LPDCs it will have, and at what levels (e.g., in each school, across grade levels or curricular areas).
The local board of education is responsible for convening the initial meeting of the LPDC. Meetings of the Local Councils shall be scheduled so as not to interfere with committee members' regularly scheduled teaching duties, unless agreed to by the local school board.
If the LPDC turns down a Certificate Renewal Plan, the teacher can appeal to the Regional Professional Development Review Committee (RPDRC) appointed by the Regional Superintendent. The RPDRC will be comprised of four teachers and one other certificated person appointed by the exclusive bargaining agent, if any, plus two administrators. Again, additional members may be appointed to the committee so long as the designated proportion of teachers to administrators is maintained.
If the RPDRC approves the proposed plan, it can be put into effect. If not, the teacher and the local committee must work out an acceptable plan.
Certificate renewal plans may be changed, through the LPDC, at any time during the renewal cycle, so long as approval is obtained in advance.
If a certificate holder moves to another teaching position in the same school/district, or another school/district, the certificate renewal plan should be changed as necessary. However, credit earned toward a certificate renewal plan shall count toward the total requirements for that five or ten year cycle.
Documentation that the Certificate Renewal Plan has been completed will be reviewed by the LPDC. If the committee decides that certificate renewal is not warranted, the teacher must be notified and given a chance to ask for reconsideration by the LPDC.
Following its deliberations, the LPDC will send a recommendation for certificate renewal or non-renewal, along with the supporting documentation, to the Regional Superintendent. If the final LPDC recommendation is for non-renewal, the teacher may appeal to the RPDRC.
The members of each RPDRC must participate in training provided jointly by the State Board of Education and the State Teacher Certification Board so they will be able to fulfill their responsibilities. LPDC members will be provided with guidelines for committee operation, which they must read and sign.
The Regional Superintendent will review the recommendation of the LPDC and, if appealed, the recommendation of the RPDRC, along with the supporting documentation. He or she will then send a recommendation for certificate renewal or non-renewal to the State Teacher Certification Board.
The Certification Board is responsible for renewal of the Standard and Master Teaching certificates and for hearing appeals of any Regional Superintendent recommendation not to renew a Standard or Master Teaching Certificate. Appropriate provisions are provided to ensure due process.
The fee for certificate renewal will be increased by $1 per year and will be paid at the beginning of a cycle -- i.e., $25 at the time of renewal of a Standard Certificate and $50 for renewal of a Master Certificate. These fees will go into the ROE Institute Fund and shall be used to address administrative expenses associated with the certificate renewal process.
Other fees paid by teachers for certificate-related actions (issuance, endorsements, duplicate certificates) remain the same, although some of the fees now paid into the stateís general revenue fund will go to State Board's certificate revolving fund for state administration of the certificate renewal program.
Because each district will be required to have at least one Local Professional Development Council, the state will provide a $1000 per district payment for administrative costs associated with the Council. Except for this payment, the state mandates act does not apply.
The certificate renewal system will be evaluated by an independent party every three years, with the first report due to the General Assembly by January 1, 2005.
These provisions are intended to provide rigorous standards and fair procedures for Illinois teachers as they engage in continuing professional development. The emphasis is on ensuring that teachers are kept current in their respective teaching fields, while also having opportunities to expand into other educational areas through individually designed certificate renewal plans.
Other Provisions of SB 556, as amended:
The State Board will be required to provide the General Assembly and others with an annual report on the supply and demand for teachers and other educators. The first report is due January 1, 2000.
The effective date for the assessment for the Standard Teaching Certificate will be July 1, 2003.
Qualified teachers in non-public schools and from out of state will be eligible to receive a Standard Teaching Certificate.
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