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Massachusetts Charter Schools

Charter School Technical Advisory 17-1:
Educator Qualifications in Commonwealth Charter Schools

To:Charter School Leaders
From:Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education
Date:August 10, 2016


This technical advisory provides guidance regarding educator qualifications in Commonwealth charter schools1. It is intended to clarify the requirements of the charter school statute in Massachusetts, G.L. c. 71, § 89; the charter school regulations, 603 CMR 1.00; the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA); and the state statute governing the education of English Language Learner (ELL) students, G.L. c. 71A, as amended in 2002; and the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) as they apply to Commonwealth charter schools.

Qualifications for Administrators

The term administrator includes, but is not limited to, principals, assistant principals, special education administrators, school business administrators, and other supervisors. State law does not require administrators at Commonwealth charter school to be licensed.

All principals, assistant principals, and supervisors2 who evaluate core academic teachers of ELL students3, however, must earn a Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) Administrator Endorsement within one year of assignment. This ensures that educational leaders have essential knowledge and skills necessary to support SEI classrooms and the academic success of ELL students.

Qualifications for Teachers

In general, except for teachers of English as a second language (ESL), teachers in Commonwealth charter schools, including special education teachers, are not required to be licensed. Commonwealth charter school teachers hired at any charter school after August 10, 2000, must either take and pass, within their first year of employment at the charter school, the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL) or be already certified or licensed to teach in Massachusetts."4 This includes a passing score on the Communication and Literacy Skills test and a passing score on the relevant subject matter knowledge test(s). For more information, see the chart below entitled "Teacher Qualification Summary."

In addition, the Education of English Learner regulations, 603 CMR 14.07 require that all core academic teachers responsible for the education of one or more ELL students hold an Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) Teacher Endorsement within one year of employment.

Qualifications for Special Education

All staff implementing specialized instruction included in an Individual Education Plan (IEP) must meet the qualifications for a service delivery provider established by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, pursuant to the IDEA at 34 CFR 300.156(a). The qualifications to deliver specialized instruction independently are the following:

  • Hold a valid (in or out-of-state) license or its equivalent as a special education teacher for the appropriate grades and severity level, or
  • Have successfully completed an undergraduate or graduate degree in an approved special education program.

Specialized instruction provided by staff who do not meet the above qualifications must be delivered under the direct supervision and oversight of a qualified individual. This supervision must be documented in students' Individualized Education Plan Grid A.

Qualifications for English as a Second Language

Every charter school that enrolls English language learners must have the appropriate number of teachers who are licensed for ESL. Every ESL teacher in a charter school must be licensed.6

Teacher Qualifications Summary

TeachersSuccessfully complete of the MTEL in the appropriate subject(s)7MA License in subject area they teach
Early Childhood Teachers (pre-K) 
Elementary School Teachers (including Kindergarten Teachers)8 
Middle and Secondary School Core subject area Teachers9 
Special Education10 
Non Core Subjects11 
English as a Second Language12

Qualifications for Paraprofessionals

There are no specific educator qualification requirements for paraprofessionals or other educational support staff in Commonwealth charter schools who do not teach.



Last Updated: September 18, 2017
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