Preparing Educators

Alignment to the 2014 Professional Standards for Teachers

To:Higher Education Presidents, Chancellors, Provosts, Deans, Alternative Provider Executives, other Senior Organizational Leaders, Education Faculty, Arts & Sciences Faculty, School District Superintendents, Principals and other Administrators, Charter School Leaders, Supervising Practitioners and Other Interested Stakeholders
From:Heather Peske, Ed.D., Associate Commissioner for Educator Effectiveness
Date:May 2015

In Massachusetts, we are driven by the belief that preparation can and should prepare all educators to be ready on day one. In support of this vision, I write today to garner your support for an important endeavor currently underway in the Commonwealth. Educator preparation providers (Sponsoring Organizations) throughout Massachusetts are currently engaged in an effort to implement the 2014 Professional Standards for Teachers (PSTs). These standards, which are the same as those outlined for practicing educators in Massachusetts' Educator Evaluation Framework, define the pedagogical knowledge and skills expected of teacher candidates upon program completion. In passing the 2014 PSTs, the Board of Elementary and Secondary of Education intended to:
  • Create alignment across the educator career continuum: These PSTs establish a clear link between preparation and employment in Massachusetts; the standards for which teachers are prepared are the same as those on which they are evaluated. This alignment ensures that the ongoing growth and development of educators is grounded in consistent, high-expectations for teaching and leading in the Commonwealth.

  • Strengthen preparation providers' ability to meet district needs: These PSTs ensure candidates are prepared in a way that is consistent with the realities of teaching in Massachusetts PK-12 classrooms. Providers can build coursework and experiences for candidates that are supportive of the specific areas of need identified by partner districts.

Educator Preparation Provider Leadership:

ESE anticipates that for many providers, designing and implementing programs that robustly address the 2014 PSTs may require a significant effort. We liken this undertaking to the work that has occurred in Massachusetts' schools and districts around the 2011 Curriculum Frameworks; in both cases, the shifts reflected in the new standards are expected to have a profound impact on instructional approaches and students' experiences. To this end, we have indicated to organizations that full alignment to the 2014 PSTs will likely require more than adjusting or tweaking syllabi. There is an opportunity in implementing the new standards for a thorough examination of the ways in which programs are serving candidates and the extent to which they could be strengthened. In order to make the most of this opportunity, individuals responsible for overseeing the 2014 PST Alignment work will need your support, commitment and collaboration. Specifically, we're asking that an organization's executive leadership prioritize this work by allocating the necessary resources (e.g., staff, time, funds, etc.) and, where necessary, helping to clear the way for an expedited and effective rollout.

District and School Partners:

We hope that PK-12 partners recognize the advantage of this alignment work and the potential for influencing the quality of candidates being placed and eventually employed in your school/district. Preparation providers will be looking to solicit your voice in the redesign process and may be exploring ways in which to enhance the quality of the field-based experiences for both candidates and supervisors. The investment of your time and energy at this stage will pay have a significant impact in the quality of your workforce for years to come.

Implementation and Resources:

Overall, it is our hope that the various stakeholders, including faculty in the Arts & Sciences, with a vested interest in seeing a teacher workforce that is increasingly able to meet the demands of our student population will make an effort to engage in the PST alignment work. Full implementation of the 2014 PSTs is expected in all initial teacher licensure programs beginning in the 2016-2017 academic year (BESE allowed for this time for programs to deliberately prepare for the implementation). The quality of implementation is assessed through evidence of program impact evaluated during an ESE-conducted program review. Resources for the implementation of 2014 PSTs, including the Guidelines for Professional Standards for Teachers Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document, can be found at Educator Preparation's PST Implementation page. Contact for additional information or questions.

Last Updated: May 19, 2015

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