Rethinking Equity and Teaching for English Language Learners (RETELL)

Notification for Individual Cohort 2 and 3 Educators

April 2015 Dear Massachusetts Educator: The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (Department) is committed to academic success for all learners. The Sheltered English Instruction (SEI) Endorsement requirement is an important initiative addressing proficiency gaps in the academic achievement of English language learners (ELLs) in our schools.

The Requirement to Obtain an SEI Endorsement

If you are a core academic teacher who has, had, or will have one or more English language learners (ELLs) in your classroom during your district's cohort training window, you must earn the SEI Teacher Endorsement. The following teachers are "core academic teachers" for purposes of providing SEI instruction:
  • Teachers of students with moderate disabilities;
  • Teachers of students with severe disabilities;
  • Subject-area teachers in English, reading or language arts; mathematics, science; civics and government, economics, history, and geography; and early childhood and elementary teachers who teach such content.
If you are a principal/assistant principal or supervisor/director (hereafter referred to as "administrator") who supervised, is supervising, or will supervise or evaluate one or more core academic teachers of ELLs during your district's cohort training window, you must earn the SEI Administrator Endorsement. Commonwealth charter school administrators who are not required to hold an educator license should review 603 CMR 7.09(3)(b) concerning the supervisor/director license to determine whether your role would require you to obtain the SEI Administrator Endorsement. This requirement applies to you if you work in a Massachusetts public school, including charter schools, or are employed by an education collaborative.

Enrolling in an SEI Endorsement course in School Year 2015-16

SEI Endorsement course registration begins on July 6, 2015. The site will not go live until then. A link to the registration site can be found at RETELL page. Enrollment in SEI Endorsement courses will be on a first-come, first-served basis. If you are eligible to enroll, we encourage you to register promptly after registration opens for your district cohort. You are eligible to enroll in a no-cost SEI Endorsement course offered in the 2015-16 school year (SY 2016) if you have not yet obtained the SEI Endorsement and you have not already availed yourself of your no-cost training opportunity to do so, and:
  1. You are a core academic teacher, and you had, have, or will have one or more ELLs in your classroom during your cohort window; and/or
  2. You are a principal/assistant principal or supervisor/director and you were, are, or will be supervising or evaluating one or more core academic teachers of ELLs during your cohort window.
You are not eligible to take the course if you:
  • already took the Department course and failed it,
  • previously registered for the course and cancelled your registration after the deadline without an approved reason,
  • registered for a course, but did not attend or unregister for an approved reason, or
  • have not been granted a hardship exception.
If you do not earn the SEI Endorsement by August 31, 2016, you will not be able to renew or advance your educator license until you earn the endorsement.

Enrolling in an SEI Endorsement Course with no Identified Facilitator; Failing to Find an SEI Course with Available Seats

When you attempt to enroll in an SEI Endorsement course through our registration system, you will see that some courses have an identified facilitator and others do not. The latter courses will note "Facilitator: TBD" which signals that the Department has not yet identified a facilitator for the particular course. The Department has made, and continues to make, strenuous efforts to recruit and train qualified SEI Endorsement course facilitators, and we anticipate that facilitators will be identified for several courses that are now listed as "TBD." That said, the pool of facilitators, while large, may not be large enough to meet the high demand for courses in SY 2016. Consequently, some of these "Facilitator: TBD" sections may ultimately have to be cancelled. If you are enrolled in an SY 2016 SEI Endorsement course which the Department subsequently cancels, then you should attempt to register for another course. If you are unable to do so, you should place yourself on the waitlist for a course. The registration system will have additional details about the waitlist. If you are enrolled in a class through the waitlist process, you will still be assigned to the SY 2016 cohort year and will have the same obligation to earn the SEI Endorsement as other educators and will be subject to the same licensure consequences if you do not. If you are unable to find an open seat in an SY 2016 fall course and have placed yourself on a course waitlist but are not accommodated in that course, you will have one more opportunity to find a course in the spring of 2016. If you were placed on waitlists in the fall, then you will have priority in registering for spring courses. Please note that the Department will make every reasonable effort to accommodate all educators who have attempted to gain entry into a course in the fall or spring of SY 2015-2016, but it is imperative that you register for a course during the registration period or you will lose your chance to complete a no-cost course.

District Training Windows

Please be advised that this is the final year for a no-cost SEI Endorsement course. This means that if you are eligible to enroll in a SEI Endorsement course and you do not register for a course for SY 2016, you will forfeit your no- cost opportunity to earn the SEI Endorsement. If you do not earn the SEI Endorsement by other means before August 31, 2016, you will not be able to renew, advance, or extend your core academic license(s) until you earn the SEI Endorsement. If you have not enrolled in a course before Jan 2, 2016, then the Department will assign you to the 2015-16 cohort year since that will be the last semester of the final year of the RETELL no-cost initiative. You will have the opportunity to enroll in an SY 2016 SEI Endorsement course and are obligated to earn the SEI Endorsement by August 31, 2016. If you are a core academic teacher who or you are an administrator who must obtain the SEI Endorsement, you are strongly encouraged to complete an SEI Endorsement course during the final year of the offering (or otherwise earn the SEI Endorsement). As of July 1, 2016, all core academic teachers instructing ELLs, and their administrators as defined above, must possess the SEI Endorsement or earn it within one year of the date that the ELL student is assigned to them. For this reason, and because you may not be able to advance, renew, or extend your core academic license(s) if you have failed to obtain the SEI Endorsement during the SY 2013-2016 cohort years, lack of the SEI Endorsement may affect your employability.

Hardship Exception

If you are unable to participate in or complete the SEI Endorsement course, you may apply to the Department for a hardship exception to the requirement that you earn the SEI Endorsement by August 31, 2016. To qualify for this exception, you must be able to demonstrate hardship consisting of "serious illness or injury, or other circumstances that are beyond the control of the educator and impede the educator's ability to complete the requirements for an SEI endorsement." The following file is the application for a hardship exception Download PDF Document Download MS WORD Document. If the application is granted you will be given additional time to obtain the SEI Endorsement. Because this is the final year of the no-cost training, if you are granted a hardship exception, the Department will not be able to provide you with a no-cost opportunity to take the course.

Other Paths to the SEI Teacher Endorsement

The following additional routes may qualify you for an SEI Teacher Endorsement:
  1. Passing the SEI MTEL (Examination fee of $155 plus $30 non-refundable registration fee for a total fee of $185.00, is the responsibility of the educator) For more information, visit SEI MTEL Information page.
  2. Possession of a valid ESL/ELL license; or
  3. Possession of a bachelor's degree in a Department-approved major, or other Department-approved graduate level training.
  4. Completing and passing an SEI endorsement course provided by an approved vendor for cost.
If you possess a valid ESL or ELL license, you automatically qualify for the SEI Teacher Endorsement (but must still apply for the endorsement through ELAR). You may still audit an SEI Endorsement course. For information about auditing, contact your district RETELL liaison. If you are an administrator and you hold the SEI Teacher Endorsement, you are eligible to apply for the SEI Administrator Endorsement. However, you still must first apply for the SEI Teacher Endorsement through ELAR. Instructions for applying for the Endorsement are here: How to apply for the SEI Endorsement Download Word Document. If you believe that you may qualify for the Endorsement by virtue of having the appropriate degree or graduate level training, you may submit materials to the Office of Educator Licensure for no-cost transcript review (see link to instructions, above). There is no charge for the SEI Teacher or SEI Administrator Endorsements to eligible educators who qualify or otherwise apply for the Endorsement(s) between 7/1/2012 and 8/31/2016.

What You Need to Know About the Enrollment Process

  • The registration site has the information you need to register for the right course.
  • You will need your personal/professional calendar at hand when you go online to register.
  • The Department strongly recommends that all teachers and administrators who are required to earn the endorsement during this final cohort year register for courses as soon as possible and do not wait until the spring unless no courses are available in the fall. Those who place themselves on waitlists for the fall will have priority for registration in the spring.
  • In order to enroll, you will need to:
    • Ensure that your Educator Licensure and Recruitment (ELAR) account is up-to-date
    • Confirm your Massachusetts Educator Professional Identification (MEPID) number and write it down and keep the number handy for the enrollment process.
    • If you do not have an ELAR account or a MEPID number you will need to acquire one before you are able to register. Detailed instructions for completing these steps, including information on creating a new account and obtaining a MEPID are provided at the course registration site.
  • Technical support is available for all aspects of the registration process. Please begin by following all instructions provided at the registration site. If you encounter difficulties please go to the Department's professional development customer support page: RETELL Customer Support.
We look forward to learning together throughout the coming year and improving the academic achievement of our English language learners! As ever, thank you for all you do for our Commonwealth's students.

Jonathan Landman
Assistant Commissioner for Teaching and Learning

Last Updated: July 27, 2015

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Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
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