Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
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Title II-A: Preparing, Training, and Recruiting High Quality Teachers and Principals

Special Education

  1. What are the federal HQ and state licensure requirements for a Special Education teacher?

    Special Education teachers in public schools and public charter schools who

    1. are teaching core academic subjects and
    2. are the lead teachers of those subjects for students with disabilities must meet the same HQ standards as all teachers under NCLB by possessing a Massachusetts teaching license in Special Education and demonstrating subject matter competency in each of the core academic subjects in which he/she teaches.

    Special Education teachers who do not directly instruct students in a core academic subject, or who provide only consultation to Highly Qualified teachers of core academic subjects in adapting curricula, using behavioral supports and interventions, or selecting appropriate accommodations, do not need to demonstrate subject-matter competency in those subjects. These special educators could also assist students with study skills or organizational skills and reinforce instruction that the student has already received from a teacher who meets the Highly Qualified requirements in that core academic subject matter. The NCLB Highly Qualified requirements do not apply to teachers in these "consultative roles".

    More information relating to Special Education policy.

  2. How can Special Education teachers in charter schools meet the Highly Qualified requirements? (added on 3/15/07)

    To the extent that a Special Education teacher in a charter school provides direct instruction in the core academic subjects for any student, an elementary Special Education teacher will be expected to meet the subject matter competency requirements for elementary teachers and middle/secondary teachers will be expected to meet the subject matter competency requirements for middle/secondary schoolteachers. Refer to Question #13 for the options available to elementary and middle/secondary schoolteachers in demonstrating subject matter competency.

    For teachers in Commonwealth charter schools, the licensure component of the Highly Qualified definition is waived, because it is not a requirement of the state charter school statute and regulations (M.G.L. c.71, 89 (qq) and 603 CMR 1.07). However, under the Commonwealth charter school regulations, if hired after August 2000, teachers have the full first year of employment to take and pass the appropriate Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL); (1) a test of Communication and Literacy and (2) the relevant PreK-12 subject matter knowledge test(s).

    Teachers in Horace Mann charter schools are required by M.G.L. c.71, 38G to hold an appropriate Massachusetts teaching license because employees of a Horace Mann charter school are, for collective bargaining purposes, employees of a school district.

    More information relating to teacher qualifications in Massachusetts Charter Schools.

  3. Which Special Education teachers are currently eligible to use HOUSSE? (added on 5/19/10)

    Special Education teachers can use the HOUSSE option so long as they are highly qualified in language arts, mathematics, or science at the time of hire.

Last Updated: February 23, 2011
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