Frequently Asked Questions

Highly Qualified Teachers and Paraprofessionals FAQ

A highly qualified teacher is a teacher with a bachelor’s degree, full state certification (intern, provisional, reciprocal or standard teaching certificate) and demonstrates subject matter competency in the core academic subject assigned to teach. With the exception of special education, charter school teachers are exempt from certification requirements.

All teachers in core academic content areas must be highly qualified, regardless of whether the school receives federal funding.

All teachers in core academic content areas must be highly qualified if they are working in district or charter schools.

Core academic subjects include the following: elementary content, reading/language arts, English, mathematics, science (including the discrete areas of biology, chemistry, physics, earth science and general science), arts (visual and music), history, geography, political science/government, economics, and foreign languages. Instructional paraprofessionals in any program supported by Title I funds must also be highly qualified.

SPED teachers must hold a Bachelor’s degree and full state certification as a special education teacher.

Special Education teachers must be identified as “teacher of record” or “not-teacher of record”. A “teacher of record” directly instructs, evaluates, and assigns grades to students in core academic subjects. A teacher identified as “not-teacher of record” does not directly instruct students in core academic subjects; the role is limited to providing highly qualified teachers with consultation on the adaptation of curricula, the use of behavioral supports and interventions, the selection of appropriate accommodations, assisting students with study or organization skills, or reinforcing instruction the child has already received from a teacher who is highly qualified in that core academic subject.

Teachers instructing with a Teaching Intern Certificate may be considered highly qualified. These teachers are participating in a State Board approved Alternative Path to Certification that meets NCLB requirements as defined in Public Law 107-110, January 8, 2002.

The criterion for “highly qualified” applies to all public district and charter schools. However, private school teachers serving Title I students in a Title I program must meet the highly qualified requirements.

All core academic content teachers are required to complete the Teacher Attestation during the first four (4) weeks of continuous employment each year. An attestation must be completed for all core content areas being taught.

Building administrators must verify the status of “highly qualified” and “not-highly qualified” core academic content teachers through the Highly Qualified Teacher Application database each year.

Paraprofessionals with instructional duties in any program supported by Title I funds must be highly qualified at the time of hire.