The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires teachers in Title I schools to be “appropriately certified” through being in compliance with certification requirements established by the State of Arizona. Board rule R7-2-607(J) requires teachers in grades 6-12 whose primary assignment is an academic subject area to pass the appropriate Board adopted subject knowledge exam, and further requires these teachers to have the area(s) of demonstrated proficiency specified on their certificate. Therefore, teachers who were designated as “highly qualified” through the AZ High, Objective, Uniform, State Standard of Evaluation (HOUSSE) rubric in a content area, or through 24 semester hours of coursework in the subject area, may not qualify as “appropriately certified” under ESSA.
To remedy this issue and promote the retention of experienced and effective teachers in core subject areas in grades 6-12, the State Board of Education adopted board rule R7-2-607.01. This rule provides a temporary grandfathering provision that allows teachers with a valid Elementary or Secondary certificate, or a Special Education certificate that includes grades 6-12, issued prior to August 1, 2016 to become “appropriately certified” in a subject, and add one or more approved subject areas to their certificate, without requiring a subject knowledge exam, if they meet the following requirements:
- Verification from the LEA that the teacher was “highly qualified” in the subject(s) as defined by NCLB, for reason that:
– The individual was teaching in one or more subject areas based on a verified Arizona High, Objective, Uniform, State Standard of Evaluation (HOUSSE) rubric as highly qualified to teach the subject area(s) as defined under the No Child Left Behind Act; or
– The individual has completed a minimum of 24 semester hours of courses in the subject area(s); and
- Verification that the teacher’s most recent evaluation was within the two highest performance classifications; and
- Submission of an application to add the approved area on or before August 1, 2017.
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