by Kent Hunsaker, Executive Director
In response to growing frustration expressed by teachers and
school districts about guidelines for certification of special education
teachers, the executive committee of the Oregon Association of School
Executives (OASE) met recently with Teacher Standards and Practices Commission
(TSPC) Director Vickie Chamberlain.
Below is a summary, compiled by COSA Professional
Development Director Bill Beck in consultation with TSPC’s Pam La Freniere, of
the licensure issues discussed at the meeting.
(Your comments and questions are welcome -- see the comment form at the end
of this blog).
Special Education Teachers
Any elementary special education
teachers who have three years of experience and who
hold "stand-alone" special education endorsements should
Objective Uniform State Standards of Evaluation (HOUSSE) evaluations to assess their High Qualified Teacher (HQT) status.
TSPC looks for 60 quarter hours of prescribed courses related to
elementary subject matter content. Those with less than three years of
experience and those not meeting the minimum 60-quarter-hours HOUSSE
requirements must take the Oregon Educator Licensure Assessments (ORELA)
Multiple Subject Exam to be deemed HQT.
Elementary special education
teachers who hold a Basic or Standard Teaching License with handicapped
learner and elementary 014, 016 endorsements, or an Initial Teaching
License with special education and multiple subjects early childhood,
elementary or middle levels, are considered HQ preprimary through grade 8
and do not need to request a HOUSSE evaluation.
Issue: Middle School Special Education Teachers
Middle school special education
teachers are the same as elementary special education teachers. They are Highly Qualified preprimary through
grade 8 with the elementary endorsement or ORELA. They do not need to be Highly Qualified in
the individual content areas at 7th and 8th like the
regular middle school teachers need to be.
School Special Education Teachers
Any special education teacher at
the high school with Basic, Standard, Initial, or Continuing Teaching Licenses
with "stand-alone" handicapped learner or special education
endorsements and have completed three years or more teaching experience need to
request HOUSSE evaluations.*
High school special education
teachers who hold subject matter endorsements in the core academic areas
taught in addition to their special education endorsements do not need to be
evaluated for HOUSSE if they are properly assigned.
Issue: When calling
TSPC the persons responding don’t always give answers that are understandable
to the caller.
Often times when the person calling does not provide TSPC
with a complete question, answers can be incomplete are harder to comprehend. Chamberlain suggested that before calling
TSPC, individuals check with someone in their district to make certain they
have a clear understanding of the issue.
This will help them ask a complete question, which in turn will allow
the TSPC employee to respond appropriately.
Literacy Coaches are not required to have the same licensure
requirements as a Reading Specialist.
Issue: Getting a higher degree of
understanding about these critical licensure issues among all superintendents
and affected directors.
Chamberlain volunteered to make herself or members of her
staff available at meetings or via VTEL for superintendent meetings around the
state. The intent is to provide opportunities
for clarifying issues related to certification for special education
teachers. Contact Chamberlain at TSPC to
schedule a meeting.