Indiana high schools will be able to exercise flexibility in hiring new teachers with professional work experience through a modified teacher certification, now known as the “career specialist” license. The licensure modifies a previous “adjunct” permit and would be similar to requirements of Career and Technical Education (CTE) staff who specialize in a given professional occupation.
Working to incorporate input from state-wide hearings and previous board discussions, State Board of Education (SBOE) and Department of Education (DOE) staff worked to draft language for the Board’s consideration which valued flexibility for schools and required formal teacher training. The amended certification would allow high school administrators to consider applicants who have more than 6000 hours of professional work experience in the subject to be taught, and who begin pedagogy training to assist with classroom instruction at their time of hire, with a maximum 2-yr completion requirement.
Emphasis on pedagogy was heightened during board discussion, with members including Cari Whicker (3rd District) and Sarah O’Brien (4th District) reflecting on how much their education curriculum and student teacher experiences enriched their professional learning.
With at-large member Gordon Hendry offering the amended language to provide greater flexibility to administrators and schools in hiring, and 1st District representative Tony Walker specifying immediate pedagogy training for applicants that are hired, the motion was adopted 8-3. Seventh District member Dan Elsener added the selections would be subject to administrative decision-making, in addition to annual teacher evaluations.
The Board also voted 8-3 to amend temporary superintendent licenses, available at the request of local school boards, for applicants with three years of effective/highly effective ratings to sit for the superintendent’s licensure test and if passed, to receive a regular five year superintendent’s license.
Indianapolis Public School Superintendent Dr. Louis Ferebee presented to the Board, ultimately asking them to consider awarding more than $800,000 in Lead Partner funds directly to the school system for implementation of coaching/mentoring programs for teachers to assist students in low performing schools. Long-term board members O'Brien and Elsener noted the IPS plan exemplified what the SBOE had always hoped the interventions would eventually lead to: local districts being proactive and innovative to provide focused and intense supports to replace the board-ordered outside vendors in the state's most underperforming schools.
The Board also discussed remediation issues surrounding graduation waivers, and agreed to consider additional input at the next board meeting. Troy Albert vouched for the integrity of fellow principals who make the waiver decisions, noting over a student’s lifetime the financial impact of having a diploma could result in an additional one million dollars in earning power. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz added the process is thorough and complex for the waiver application.
The SBOE’s Assessments Committee met at the conclusion of the formal board meeting, and discussed timelines relevant to the RFI and RFP’s to be issued to vendors, as well as adding potential external stakeholders as advisors to the committee. The RFI responses will be submitted for staff evaluation on June 6, and qualified vendors selected and notified for presentations to the committee on June 12th.
Yesterday’s specially called meeting of the full SBOE allowed DOE staff to provide information on the department’s planned responses to the US Department of Education’s communication last week, citing nine deficiencies in Indiana’s implementation of the No Child Left Behind Waiver. Members expressed appreciation for the updates and, at the direction of Ritz, will begin receiving weekly updates from DOE staff.
The Board’s next meeting will be held on June 4th at 9 am at the Indiana Government Center South’s Conference Room B.