Highly Qualified Exceptional Student Education Teachers. Questions and Answers

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1 Florida Department of Education Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services Highly Qualified Exceptional Student Education Teachers Questions and Answers Exceptional student education (ESE) teachers who deliver direct instruction to students with disabilities in core academic subject areas as defined by No Child Left Behind (NCLB) must meet the appropriate state special education certification requirements for the grade level and exceptionality of the students being taught, in addition to meeting the same standard for subject matter competency to be highly qualified (HQ). These requirements apply whether the direct core academic instruction is provided in a self-contained classroom, a resource room, or any other setting. The Florida Department of Education (DOE) is providing the following questions and answers to assist school district personnel in implementing the DOE September 16, 2004, and December 8, 2005, memorandums regarding highly qualified requirements for ESE teachers. ESE teachers should work through their principals, ESE directors, and district personnel offices to determine their HQ status. The highly qualified teacher (HQT) determination is complex and is based on the specific courses taught, the level of instruction of the ESE students, and the individual teacher s background and teaching experiences. Definitions A highly qualified teacher (HQT) meets NCLB requirements for the HQT designation, with: 1. An acceptable bachelor s or higher degree, 2. State licensure/certification (no requirements waived), and 3. Demonstration of subject competency for the subject(s) and grade level(s) taught. The highly qualified (HQ) designation is triggered by specific core academic courses listed in the Florida Course Code Directory (CCD). Additionally, HQ is defined by the level of instruction provided for the ESE students in some ESE courses. For purposes of completing a HOUSSE plan, a new teacher has less than one full school year of teaching experience. The definition is not tied to a specific year of employment, i.e For purposes of completing a HOUSSE plan, an experienced teacher has at least one school year or more of full-time teaching experience. The experience does not have to be in Florida. Core academic subjects are English, reading, language arts, mathematics, science, foreign languages (other than English), civics, government, economics, arts, history, and geography. FLDOE has defined arts as music, art, and drama in regards to core academic subjects. The teacher of record is the teacher who provides primary instruction and gives the grades. The level of instruction is based on the grade level content that is provided, not the reading or math level of the student.

2 PreK HQT 1. Are there changes to the previously released technical assistance paper (TAP) FY , Highly Qualified Teacher Requirements for Special Program Under the No Child Left Behind Act, regarding the questions related to preschool children? Yes. Subsequent to the publication of this TAP, the U.S. Department of Education released further clarification related to preschool teachers working in Title I preschool programs. Based on this clarification, the answers included in that TAP are no longer applicable. 2. Do the requirements related to HQT apply to preschool programs operated by school districts? No. In the March 4, 2004, document entitled Serving Preschool Children Under Title I, the U.S. Department of Education clarified that the requirements for the highly qualified designation apply to states that consider preschool as part of public elementary education. Since Florida s public education system begins with kindergarten, the requirements related to highly qualified personnel are not applicable to school district-operated preschool programs, including programs serving pre-kindergarten children with disabilities. The Florida Course Code Directory and Instructional Personnel Assignments document provides guidance to districts on the credentials that are required for instructional personnel serving preschool children. 3. Do the requirements related to HQT apply to pre-kindergarten/kindergarten combination classes? Yes. The ESE teacher must meet the HQ requirements for kindergarten level certification in addition to ESE certification if any of the students are enrolled in kindergarten. Elementary (K-6) HQT 4. Is the reading endorsement or reading certification required for an ESE teacher teaching reading to ESE students at the elementary level (courses #771002, # , # )? No. The elementary ESE teacher does not have to have the reading endorsement and/or certification. However, because of the Title II monitoring finding, the ESE teacher would have to meet the HQ requirements for an elementary teacher using one of the options listed in the ESE Teachers (K-6) Teaching Elementary Education chart ( If the ESE teacher meets the HQ requirements of a general education elementary teacher, then the ESE teacher also meets HQ for reading, grades K-6. An ESE teacher certainly can go beyond this requirement and obtain the reading endorsement or reading certification. 5. Is the reading endorsement or reading certification required for an ESE teacher teaching reading to ESE students in grade 6 (course # )? No. However, the ESE teacher must meet the elementary highly qualified requirements (see question above).

3 6. Which HQ requirements must an ESE teacher meet if teaching a general education course to ESE students? Highly qualified is triggered by courses; consequently, an ESE teacher who teaches a general education core academic course must meet the HQ requirements for the subject taught in addition to the appropriate ESE certification listed in the course code directory. 7. If an ESE teacher is teaching core academic subjects (78 courses) to grade 6 students, which HQ requirements must the teacher meet? The ESE teacher must meet either the HQ requirements for an elementary teacher using one of the options listed in the ESE Teachers (K-6) Teaching Elementary Education chart ( pass the appropriate subject area exam, hold a certification appropriate for 5-9, 6-12, or K-12, or meet the requirements for a HOUSSE plan appropriate for the subject(s) taught. 8. If a teacher has elementary education certification, is it necessary for the teacher to have taken and passed the elementary education subject area test? The teacher must either pass the elementary subject area test or complete an elementary HOUSSE plan. 9. Is an ESE teacher who has met HQ requirements through an ESE Elementary HOUSSE plan considered an HQT for general education? No. The HOUSSE plan for ESE elementary was specifically developed to allow ESE teachers to teach core academic subjects to ESE students in grades K-6. Middle/High (7-12) HQT 10. Is the reading endorsement or reading certification required for an ESE teacher teaching reading to ESE students in grades 7 12 (courses # , , )? It depends on the level of instruction. If the level of instruction of the students is elementary, then the ESE teacher must meet the HQ requirements for elementary education. If the level of instruction of the students is above the elementary level, the ESE teacher would be required to have the reading endorsement or certification. 11. Is an ESE teacher who has met HQ requirements through an ESE Middle/Secondary Content Course HOUSSE plan considered an HQT for general education? No. The HOUSSE plan for ESE middle/secondary content course was specifically developed to allow ESE teachers to teach core academic subjects to ESE students in grades 7-12.

4 12. Which HQ requirements must an ESE teacher meet if teaching core academic subjects (78 or 79 courses) to ESE students? It depends on the level of instruction of the content, not the students reading or math levels. The ESE teacher must be HQ in the specific content area(s) in addition to the appropriate ESE certification if the students are taught the Sunshine State Standards, assessed by the FCAT, and/or working toward a standard diploma. The ESE teacher must be HQ in elementary education in addition to the appropriate ESE certification if the students are working on alternate achievement standards, assessed by an alternate achievement test, and working toward a special diploma. 13. Which HQ requirements must an ESE teacher meet if teaching a general education course to ESE students? Highly qualified is triggered by courses; consequently, an ESE teacher who teaches a general education core academic course must meet the HQ requirements for the subject taught in addition to the appropriate ESE certification listed in the course code directory. 14. How does an ESE teacher who is providing instruction at the secondary level in core academic subject(s) to ESE students become HQ? An ESE secondary teacher who is teaching a core subject must either meet the ESE Middle/Secondary Content Course HOUSSE plan, pass the subject area test for the core academic subject(s) taught, pass the middle grades integrated curriculum exam (if appropriate for the specific course according to the CCD), or hold a certification for the appropriate middle/secondary content area. Information concerning an online study module for the middle grades integrated curriculum exam (MGIC) can be located at How does an ESE teacher who is providing instruction at the secondary level in a core academic subject(s) to ESE students working on alternate achievement standards become HQ? If the level of instruction for the students is elementary, the ESE teacher needs to meet the highly qualified requirements for elementary education (see question # 12). 16. How does an ESE teacher who is providing instruction far below grade level in a core academic subject(s) to ESE students who are taking the FCAT but not working toward a standard diploma become HQ? If the level of instruction is elementary, the ESE teacher needs to meet the highly qualified for elementary education (see question # 12). If the level of instruction is above the elementary level, the ESE teacher is required to meet HQ for the appropriate secondary core course(s).

5 High, Objective, Uniform State Standard of Evaluation (HOUSSE) Plan 17. How long is a HOUSSE plan valid? A HOUSSE plan can be valid indefinitely as long as the teacher s assignment is covered under the current HOUSSE plan. However, if the teaching assignment changes, the current HOUSSE plan should be reassessed. 18. Where is the completed HOUSSE plan kept? The completed HOUSSE plan should be kept in the teacher s personnel file at the district office. Any supporting documentation should be available at the district office. 19. Which college courses can be counted on a HOUSSE plan? College level courses that can be counted are the basic core academic courses content, such as English, math, reading, science, or history - not methodology courses. 20. Can a HOUSSE plan be used in lieu of a reading endorsement/certification? No. A HOUSSE plan cannot be used to satisfy the reading endorsement or reading certification requirement. However, some of the reading courses may be used to satisfy the professional development or college course requirements of the HOUSSE plan. 21. Can a HOUSSE plan be used in lieu of a gifted endorsement? No. A HOUSSE plan cannot be used for gifted endorsement. However, individual HOUSSE plans may be used for the core academic subject(s) taught by the teacher of gifted students. General HQT 22. How should districts code hospital/homebound (H/H) courses for secondary students? For students who are earning credit for promotion or graduation, the general education course code should be used in conjunction with the H/H code and the HQ requirements for that core academic subject would apply to the teacher who delivers the instruction to the student. 23. Must an ESE teacher have a teaching certificate in elementary education or the appropriate subject area(s) taught in order to be an HQT? No. There are several options available to ESE teachers to become HQ, such as passing the appropriate subject area test or completing the requirements for a HOUSSE plan. Additional areas of certification do not have to be added to the educator certificate. For specifics refer to (

6 24. Must teachers meet the highly qualified requirements if they are not teaching a core academic subject? No. Only teachers who teach core academic courses are required to meet the definition of an HQT. 25. Which ESE courses do not trigger the HQ requirements? Most of the courses which are not core academic are listed under the subject heading of special courses, special skills courses, therapies, etc. These courses target specific skills that are more applicable to certain areas of exceptionality, such as students who are on modified curricula. Attached within this document is a chart that lists all the ESE courses and the certification or highly qualified requirements. 26. Which service delivery models do not require content area certification? Consultation, co-teaching, and support facilitation do not require content area certification. 27. Which course number should be used for support facilitation for a student with significant cognitive impairments in a general education class? The ESE course number and the students should be assigned to the general education teacher if that teacher is teaching students with significant cognitive impairments, on a modified curriculum, and assessed on an alternate assessment. The general education teacher does not need ESE certification. As far as highly qualified, the basic education teacher would have the subject area expertise with the ESE teacher providing the ESE support necessary as identified in the individual educational plan (IEP). In the Florida Course Code Directory under support facilitation, the narrative section under ESE states, In cases where non-ese certified teachers have classes in which students are enrolled in general education courses as well as students who are enrolled in ESE courses, the basic education teacher is not out-of-field for the ESE course if an ESE certified teacher is providing support facilitation services. 28. Is an ESE teacher, with appropriate general education certification, HQ to teach a general education class to ESE students and general education students in the same setting? Yes, if the ESE teacher has the appropriate general education certification for the grade level assigned. However, since the ESE teacher is serving in the role of the general education teacher, the teacher cannot simultaneously provide ESE services and general education services. A teacher cannot serve in both roles (an ESE teacher and general education teacher) during the same class period. 29. Can a teacher s HQ status change from one year to the next? Yes. HQ depends on the teaching assignment. If a teacher s assignment changes, the HQ status must be reassessed to ensure that the teacher can demonstrate competency in the new subject area(s).

7 30. How do the new requirements affect teachers of the gifted? There have been no changes. A teacher of the gifted who teaches a core academic subject to students identified as gifted must meet the HQ requirement for the core content area(s) taught. Additionally, the teacher of the gifted must have either a gifted endorsement or certification in gifted education in order to be considered in-field for gifted in Florida. 31. How does highly qualified affect center school teachers who provide elementary level instruction to students in secondary ESE courses? A center school situation would be no different from another school. Depending on the course numbers and the level of instruction for the students, a determination would be made concerning the requirements for meeting the appropriate highly qualified requirements. 32. Is a teacher who is delivering instruction through H/H required to be an HQT? Yes, if the H/H teacher is teaching core academic subjects, is the primary instructor, and is the teacher of record. 33. Is a teacher who is delivering instruction through a computer lab required to be an HQT? Yes, if the teacher is teaching core academic subjects, is the primary instructor, and is the teacher of record.

8 Florida Department of Education No Child Left Behind Act and Exceptional Student Education Teacher Requirements February 2006 Required for NCLB Highly Qualified ESE COURSES Certification to match ESE Table in CCD Evidence of Core Academic Subject knowledge through subject area test or HOUSSE plan (for experienced teachers) Elementary ESE Academics General Elementary Highly Qualified Academics: K Academics Skills: K Advanced Academics: K Developmental Skills: K-5 Elementary ESE Academics Subject Areas Elementary Highly Qualified Art: K-5 ESE optional, must meet subject area HQT Language Arts: K Communications: K : Spelling: K : Writing: K : Math: K : Music K-5 ESE optional, must meet subject area HQT : Science: K Social Studies K-5 Grades 6-8 ESE Academics General Elementary or Higher (based on level of instruction of students) Academics: Academic Skills: Advanced Academics: Developmental Skills: 6-8 Grades 6-8 ESE Academics Subject Areas Elementary or Higher (based on level of instruction of students) Language Arts: Communications: Math: Science: Social Studies: 6-8 Grades 6-8 ESE Miscellaneous Visual & Perform Arts: 6-8 ESE optional, must meet subject area HQT Music: 6-8 ESE optional, must meet subject area HQT Secondary Highly Qualified Grades 9-12 ESE Academics Subject Areas Elementary or Higher (based on level of instruction of students) English: Life Skills Comm Math: Life Skills Math: 9-12

9 Science: Social Studies: 9-12 Grades 9-12 ESE Supported Level Elementary highly qualified Academic Skills for Functional Living Communication Skills for Functional Living Grades 9-12 ESE Participatory Level Elementary highly qualified Cognitive and Linguistic Skills Grades 9-12 ESE Miscellaneous Secondary highly qualified Visual and Perf. Arts Grades K-12 ESE Reading Reading: K-5 Elementary highly qualified or reading endorsement or reading certification Reading: 6-8 For grade 6 - Elementary highly qualified or reading endorsement or reading certification; For grades Based on level of instruction of students, elementary highly qualified or reading endorsement or reading certification Reading: 9-12 Based on level of instruction of students, elementary highly qualified or reading endorsement or reading certification Life Skills Reading: 9-12 Based on level of instruction of students, elementary highly qualified or reading endorsement or reading certification

10 Basic Ed. Courses taught by ESE teachers in self-contained or resource room setting Basic Elementary Core Course Prefixes Certification to match ESE Table in CCD Certification to match ESE Table in CCD or HOUSSE plan Evidence of Core Academic Subject knowledge through subject area test or HOUSSE plan (for experienced teachers) Evidence of Core Academic Subject knowledge through subject area test or HOUSSE plan 5001 Art Visual Arts 5007 Foreign Languages 5010 Language Arts 5012 Math 5013 Music 5020 Science 5021 Social Studies Basic Graded Self Contained Elementary Kindergarten First Grade Second Grade Third Grade Fourth Grade Fifth Grade Basic Ungraded Elementary Ungraded-Primary (K-3) Ungraded-Intermediate (4-5) Ungraded-Elementary Basic Secondary Courses first 2 digit prefixes 01 Art-Visual Arts 04 Drama-Theatre Arts 07 Foreign Languages 10 Language Arts 12 Mathematics 13 Music 20 Science 21 Social Studies 24 Graded Self-Contained (except , or )

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