Connecticut Seal

Substitute House Bill No. 6434

Public Act No. 11-127

AN ACT CONCERNING NONPUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHING EXPERIENCE AND PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATION.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Subsections (h) and (i) of section 10-145b of the general statutes are repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2011):

(h) (1) Unless otherwise provided in regulations adopted under section 10-145d, in not less than three years or more than eight years after the issuance of a provisional educator certificate pursuant to subsection (e) of this section and upon the statement of the superintendent, or the superintendent's designee, in whose school district such certificate holder was employed, or the supervisory agent of a nonpublic school approved by the State Board of Education, in whose school such certificate holder was employed, that the provisional educator certificate holder and such superintendent, or such superintendent's designee, or supervisory agent have mutually determined or approved an individual program pursuant to subdivision (2) of subsection (g) of this section and upon the statement of such superintendent, or such superintendent's designee, or supervisory agent that such certificate holder has a record of competency in the discharge of such certificate holder's duties during such provisional period, the state board upon receipt of a proper application shall issue such certificate holder a professional educator certificate. A signed recommendation from the superintendent of schools, or the superintendent's designee, for the local or regional board of education or from the supervisory agent of a nonpublic school approved by the State Board of Education shall be evidence of competency. Such recommendation shall state that the person who holds or has held a provisional educator certificate has successfully completed at least three school years of satisfactory teaching for one or more local or regional boards of education or such nonpublic schools. Each applicant for a certificate pursuant to this subsection shall provide to the Department of Education, in such manner and form as prescribed by the commissioner, evidence that the applicant has successfully completed coursework pursuant to subsection (g) of this section, as appropriate. [Notwithstanding the provisions of this subsection, on and after July 1, 2012, experience teaching in a nonpublic school shall not be accepted for purposes of issuing a professional educator certificate, but may be accepted to renew the provisional educator certificate. ]

(2) Upon receipt of a proper application, the State Board of Education shall issue to a teacher from another state, territory or possession of the United States or the District of Columbia or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico who (A) is nationally board certified by an organization deemed appropriate by the Commissioner of Education to issue such certifications, and (B) has taught in another state, territory or possession of the United States or the District of Columbia or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico for a minimum of three years in the preceding ten years (i) a provisional educator certificate with the appropriate endorsement, or (ii) if such teacher has, prior to July 1, 2016, completed thirty credit hours of undergraduate or graduate coursework beyond the baccalaureate degree, and on and after July 1, 2016, completed thirty credit hours of graduate coursework, a professional educator certificate with the appropriate endorsement, subject to the provisions of subsection (j) of this section relating to denial of applications for certification.

(i) (1) For certified employees of local and regional boards of education or nonpublic schools, except as provided in this subdivision, each professional educator certificate shall be valid for five years and continued every five years thereafter upon the successful completion of professional development activities which shall consist of not less than ninety hours of continuing education, as determined by the employing local or regional board of education or the employing supervisory agent of a nonpublic school approved by the State Board of Education in accordance with this section, or documented completion of a national board certification assessment in the appropriate endorsement area, during each successive five-year period. (A) Such continuing education completed by certified employees with an early childhood nursery through grade three or an elementary endorsement who hold a position requiring such an endorsement shall include at least fifteen hours of training in the teaching of reading and reading readiness and assessment of reading performance, including methods of teaching language skills necessary for reading, reading comprehension skills, phonics and the structure of the English language during each five-year period. (B) Such continuing education requirement completed by certified employees with elementary, middle grades or secondary academic endorsements who hold a position requiring such an endorsement shall include at least fifteen hours of training in the use of computers in the classroom during each five-year period unless such employees are able to demonstrate technology competency, in a manner determined by their local or regional board of education, based on state-wide standards for teacher competency in the use of technology for instructional purposes adopted pursuant to section 4d-85. (C) Such continuing education completed by (i) the superintendent of schools, and (ii) employees employed in positions requiring an intermediate administrator or supervisory certificate, or the equivalent thereof, and whose administrative or supervisory duties equal at least fifty per cent of their assigned time, shall include at least fifteen hours of training in the evaluation of teachers pursuant to section 10-151b during each five-year period. (D) In the case of certified employees with a bilingual education endorsement who hold positions requiring such an endorsement (i) in an elementary school and who do not hold an endorsement in elementary education, such continuing education taken on or after July 1, 1999, shall only count toward the ninety-hour requirement if it is in language arts, reading and mathematics, and (ii) in a middle or secondary school and who do not hold an endorsement in the subject area they teach, such continuing education taken on or after July 1, 1999, shall only count toward the ninety-hour requirement if it is in such subject area or areas. On and after July 1, 2011, such continuing education shall be as determined by the local or regional board of education in full consideration of the provisions of this section and the priorities and needs related to student outcomes as determined by the State Board of Education. During each five-year period in which a professional educator certificate is valid, a holder of such certificate who has not completed the ninety hours of continuing education required pursuant to this subdivision, and who has not been employed while holding such certificate by a local or regional board of education for all or part of the five-year period, shall, upon application, be reissued such certificate for five years minus any period of time such holder was employed while holding such certificate by a local or regional board of education, provided there shall be only one such reissuance during each five-year period in which such certificate is valid. A certified employee of a local or regional board of education who is a member of the General Assembly and who has not completed the ninety hours of continuing education required pursuant to this subdivision for continuation of a certificate, upon application, shall be reissued a professional educator certificate for a period of time equal to six months for each year the employee served in the General Assembly during the previous five years. Continuing education hours completed during the previous five years shall be applied toward such ninety-hour requirement which shall be completed during the reissuance period in order for such employee to be eligible to have a certificate continued. The cost of the professional development activities required under this subsection for certified employees of local or regional boards of education shall be shared by the state and local or regional boards of education, except for those activities identified by the State Board of Education as the responsibility of the certificate holder. Each local and regional board of education shall make available, annually, at no cost to its certified employees not fewer than eighteen hours of professional development activities for continuing education credit. Such activities may be made available by a board of education directly, through a regional educational service center or cooperative arrangement with another board of education or through arrangements with any continuing education provider approved by the State Board of Education. Local and regional boards of education shall grant continuing education credit for professional development activities which the certified employees of the board of education are required to attend, professional development activities offered in accordance with the plan developed pursuant to subsection (b) of section 10-220a, or professional development activities which the board may approve for any individual certified employee. Each board of education shall determine the specific professional development activities to be made available with the advice and assistance of the teachers employed by such board, including representatives of the exclusive bargaining unit for such teachers pursuant to section 10-153b, and on and after July 1, 2011, in full consideration of priorities and needs related to student outcomes as determined by the State Board of Education. The time and location for the provision of such activities shall be in accordance with either an agreement between the board of education and the exclusive bargaining unit pursuant to said section 10-153b or, in the absence of such agreement or to the extent such agreement does not provide for the time and location of all such activities, in accordance with a determination by the board of education.

(2) Each local and regional board of education or supervisory agent of a nonpublic school approved by the State Board of Education shall attest to the state Department of Education, in such form and at such time as the commissioner shall prescribe, that professional development activities for which continuing education credit is granted by the board: (A) Are planned in response to identified needs, (B) are provided by qualified instructional personnel, as appropriate, (C) have the requirements for participation in the activity shared with participants before the commencement of the activity, (D) are evaluated in terms of its effectiveness and its contribution to the attainment of school or district-wide goals, and (E) are documented in accordance with procedures established by the State Board of Education. At the end of each five-year period each professional educator shall attest to the state Department of Education, in such form and at such time as the commissioner shall prescribe, that the professional educator has successfully completed ninety hours of continuing education.

(3) In the event that the state Department of Education notifies the local or regional board of education that the provisions of subdivision (2) of this subsection have not been met and that specific corrective action is necessary, the local or regional board of education shall take such corrective action immediately. The department shall not invalidate continuing education credit awarded prior to such notice.

Sec. 2. Section 10-145a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2011):

(a) The State Board of Education may, in accordance with section 10-19 and such regulations and qualifications as it prescribes, issue certificates of qualification to teach, to administer, to supervise or to serve in other positions requiring certification pursuant to regulations adopted by the State Board of Education in any public school in the state and may revoke the same. Any such regulations shall provide that the qualifications to maintain any administrator, supervisor or special service certificate shall incorporate the continuing education provisions of subsection (i) of section 10-145b, as amended by this act. The certificates of qualification issued under this section shall be accepted by boards of education in lieu of any other certificate, provided additional qualifications may be required by a board of education, in which case the state certificate shall be accepted for such subjects as it includes.

(b) Any candidate in a program of teacher preparation leading to professional certification shall be encouraged to successfully complete an intergroup relations component of such a program which shall be developed with the participation of both sexes, and persons of various ethnic, cultural and economic backgrounds. Such intergroup relations program shall have the following objectives: (1) The imparting of an appreciation of the contributions to American civilization of the various ethnic, cultural and economic groups composing American society and an understanding of the life styles of such groups; (2) the counteracting of biases, discrimination and prejudices; and (3) the assurance of respect for human diversity and personal rights. The State Board of Education, the Board of Governors of Higher Education, the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities and the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women shall establish a joint committee composed of members of the four agencies, which shall develop and implement such programs in intergroup relations.

(c) Any candidate in a program of teacher preparation leading to professional certification shall be encouraged to complete a (1) health component of such a program, which includes, but need not be limited to, human growth and development, nutrition, first aid, disease prevention and community and consumer health, and (2) mental health component of such a program, which includes, but need not be limited to, youth suicide, child abuse and alcohol and drug abuse.

(d) Any candidate in a program of teacher preparation leading to professional certification shall be encouraged to complete a school violence, bullying and suicide prevention and conflict resolution component of such a program.

(e) On and after July 1, 1998, any candidate in a program of teacher preparation leading to professional certification shall complete a computer and other information technology skills component of such program, as applied to student learning and classroom instruction, communications and data management.

(f) On and after July 1, 2006, any program of teacher preparation leading to professional certification shall include, as part of the curriculum, instruction in literacy skills and processes that reflects current research and best practices in the field of literacy training. Such instruction shall be incorporated into requirements of student major and concentration.

(g) On and after July 1, 2006, any program of teacher preparation leading to professional certification shall include, as part of the curriculum, instruction in the concepts of second language learning and second language acquisition and processes that reflects current research and best practices in the field of second language learning and second language acquisition. Such instruction shall be incorporated into requirements of student major and concentration.

(h) On and after July 1, 2011, any program of teacher preparation leading to professional certification may permit teaching experience in a nonpublic school, approved by the State Board of Education, and offered through a public or private institution of higher education to count towards the preparation and eligibility requirements for an initial educator certificate, provided such teaching experience is completed as part of a cooperating teacher program, in accordance with the provisions of subsection (d) of section 10-220a, as amended by this act.

[(h)] (i) On and after July 1, 2012, any candidate entering a program of teacher preparation leading to professional certification shall be required to complete training in competency areas contained in the professional teaching standards established by the State Board of Education, including, but not limited to, development and characteristics of learners, evidence-based and standards-based instruction, evidence-based classroom and behavior management, and assessment and professional behaviors and responsibilities.

Sec. 3. Subsection (d) of section 10-220a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2011):

(d) The Department of Education may fund, within available appropriations, in cooperation with one or more regional educational service centers: (1) A cooperating teacher program to train Connecticut public school teachers, [and] certified teachers at private special education facilities approved by the Commissioner of Education, certified teachers at nonpublic schools approved by the commissioner and certified teachers at other facilities designated by the commissioner, who participate in the supervision, training and evaluation of student teachers, provided such certified teachers at nonpublic schools pay for the cost of participation in such cooperating teacher program and provided further that enrollment in such program shall first be made available to public school teachers; and (2) institutes to provide continuing education for Connecticut public school educators and cooperating teachers, including institutes to provide continuing education for Connecticut public school educators offered in cooperation with the Connecticut Humanities Council. Funds available under this subsection shall be paid directly to school districts for the provision of substitute teachers when cooperating teachers are released from regular classroom responsibilities and for the provision of professional development activities for cooperating and student teachers, except that such funds shall not be paid to nonpublic schools for such professional development activities. The cooperating teacher program shall operate in accordance with regulations adopted by the State Board of Education in accordance with chapter 54, except in cases of placement in other countries pursuant to written cooperative agreements between Connecticut institutions of higher education and institutions of higher education in other countries. A Connecticut institution may enter such an agreement only if the State Board of Education and Board of Governors of Higher Education have jointly approved the institution's teacher preparation program to enter into such agreements. Student teachers shall be placed with trained cooperating teachers. Cooperating teachers who are Connecticut public school teachers shall be selected by local and regional boards of education. Cooperating teachers at such private special education facilities, nonpublic schools and other designated facilities shall be selected by the authority responsible for the operation of such facilities. If a board of education is unable to identify a sufficient number of individuals to serve in such positions, the commissioner may select qualified persons who are not employed by the board of education to serve in such positions. Such regulations shall require primary consideration of teachers' classroom experience and recognized success as educators. The provisions of sections 10-153a to 10-153n, inclusive, shall not be applicable to the selection, placement and compensation of persons participating in the cooperating teacher program pursuant to the provisions of this section and to the hours and duties of such persons. The State Board of Education shall protect and save harmless, in accordance with the provisions of section 10-235, any cooperating teacher while serving in such capacity.

Approved July 8, 2011