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KNOW & Tell NEWS Understanding the 2014 educator certification rule changes OVERVIEW The Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GaPSC) voted to adopt new Certification Rules on April 10, 2014. After careful consideration of public comment, revised versions of several rules were adopted. These new Certification Rules were developed over 12 months by a task force representing the Governor’s office, educator preparation providers, Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GaPSC), Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE), Board of Regents, Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE), Georgia Association of Educators (GAE) and local units of administration (LUAs). Most of the new rules took effect on July 1, 2014. All of the former Certification Rules were replaced; however, many have simply been updated to ensure consistency and accuracy. Other rules changed in ways that will have a substantive impact on educator certification. Several new rules have been created, and a few previously implemented rules have been eliminated. You may read all of the recently adopted rules here. This guide will help you understand the changes and how they will affect you. Tiered Certification The most significant change is the creation of a 4-tiered certification structure, which is detailed in rules 505-2-.03 through 505-2-.07. Benefits of this new structure include: • Transformation of a flat profession into one that offers increased opportunities for professional growth to teachers who remain in the classroom • New certification requirements that ensure that new teachers enter the profession better prepared • Identification of excellent teachers and recognition of their accomplishments It is important to note that tiered certification is not tied to compensation. The GaDOE will continue to use certificate levels to determine placement on the salary schedule. While some of the current certificate types, such as Non-Renewable Professional and Permit, will continue to be issued under the new rules, all Clear Renewable, 6 | KNOW • Volume 12 Issue 3 Non-Renewable Non-Professional, Technical Specialist, and GaTAPP certificates will eventually be replaced by the following 4 tiers: 1. Pre-Service: This tier is intended for educator candidates completing field experiences or student teaching in Georgia schools. It will require enrollment in an initial certification preparation program, successful federal and state background checks, and completion of the new Georgia Educator Ethics Exam. 2. Induction: This tier is intended for teachers with fewer than 3 years of experience within the last 5 years. It is also issued in some service certificate fields, such as Media Specialist and School Counseling. There are multiple pathways to Induction certification, and each has specific qualifications. The pathways are designed to address the needs of those completing a traditional educator preparation program in Georgia, those completing an educator preparation program in another state, early career educators who are certified in another state, and those who have begun teaching before completing an educator preparation program. The Induction certificate replaces the formerly used Non-Renewable Non-Professional and GaTAPP certificates. It is also issued to many people who would have qualified for an initial Clear Renewable or Technical Specialist certificate under the former system. 3. Professional: The new Professional certificates are either Performance-Based or Standard. Both types of Professional certificate require at least 3 years of experience within the last 5 years and a Professional level passing score on the GACE content exam. Performance-Based Professional certificates are for those teachers who have been evaluated for at least two years on the statewide Teacher Keys Effectiveness System (TKES) and for leaders who have completed a Georgia performance-based certification program. Standard Professional certificates are issued in all service fields, as well as to leaders who have not completed a performance-based program (those who hold field 704) and to teachers who do not have the TKES evaluations required for the Performance- Based Professional certificate. For example, teachers working in private schools or in positions outside of the classroom are not evaluated on TKES and therefore will be issued a Standard Professional certificate. 4. Advanced/Lead Professional: The fourth tier includes two different certificates: Advanced Professional and Lead Professional. Both of these certificates are designed for classroom teachers, and both require a minimum of 5 years of experience, with 3 years on the TKES system. The Advanced Professional certificate is for teachers who demonstrate expert classroom practice, evidenced by Exemplary performance ratings and advanced education or NBPTS certification. The Lead Professional certificate is for teachers who are leaders of their peers. It will also require Exemplary performance ratings; other qualifications include holding certification in Teacher Leadership or an endorsement in Teacher Leader, Coaching, or Teacher Support Specialist and a passing score on the GACE Teacher Leadership content assessment. These certificates will not be issued until July 1, 2015, or later. On July 1, 2014, all valid Clear Renewable teaching and service certificates were converted to Standard Professional certificates. Non-Renewable certificates remained unchanged. For more details about how implementation will affect existing certificate holders, please see Information for Georgia Educators. Other Changes In addition to the transition to a tiered certification structure, the new Certification Rules contain several other substantive changes, including: • Employment by a Georgia LUA is now required for initial Georgia educator certification. Applicants who have completed an educator preparation program or hold professional educator certification in another state and meet all other requirements for certification will receive a Certificate of Eligibility if not employed by a Georgia LUA. This Certificate of Eligibility will demonstrate to potential employers that the applicant will qualify for certification if hired. • Employment by a Georgia LUA is also required for certificate renewal unless an educator has worked for at least 1 year in Georgia on a Clear Renewable or Professional Georgia educator certificate. This 1 year of experience could have been earned at any time in the educator’s career, as long as he/ she held a professional educator certificate at the time. Renewal applicants who are not employed by a Georgia LUA and do not have the 1 year of experience will be issued a Certificate of Eligibility. • The recency-of-study requirement, which mandated applicants for initial certification have a certain amount of course credit or out-of-state teaching experience within the most recent 5 years to qualify, has been eliminated. • Out-of-state educators seeking to exempt both the GACE content exam and the Exceptional Child requirements using experience are now required to verify full-time, satisfactory experience in their certificate field for all of the previous 5 school


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