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Sheltered English Immersion Endorsement Requirement for Educator Preparation Programs

To:Higher Education Presidents, Chancellors, Provosts, and Alternative Provider Executives
Copy:Richard M. Freeland, Ph.D., Commissioner of Higher Education for Massachusetts
From:Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education
Date:January 25, 2013

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For over a decade, the K-12 achievement of the Commonwealth's English language learners (ELLs) has lagged behind the performance of other students. In July 2011, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) notified the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education that the state has a duty to mandate preparation and training requirements for educators who provide Sheltered English Instruction (SEI) to ELLs. The Department has initiated RETELL (Rethinking Equity and Achievement for English Language Learners), a major initiative to provide this training and address the achievement gaps. The initiative has significant implications for the Commonwealth's educator preparation programs. Administrators of educator preparation programs may require your support and special assistance to meet the time-sensitive requirements of the new regulations.

In June 2012, under RETELL, regulations that govern licensure and educator preparation program approval, 603 CMR 7.00, were revised. The revised regulations are designed to improve and better support the academic achievement of ELLs by:

  • Strengthening the training/professional development that is required of veteran core academic educators, requiring them to earn an SEI endorsement in order to provide SEI to ELLs and,
  • More pertinent for your institutions, aligning requirements for educator preparation programs with new knowledge and professional standards so that prospective teachers will meet the requirements for an SEI endorsement upon graduation.
The following language in the regulations speaks to the requirements for your educator preparation programs: Approved programs must submit documentation to the Department by June 1, 2013 that they have addressed the requirements set forth in 603 CMR 7.08 (2) (a) 9, 603 CMR 7.08 (2) (b) 2. g. and h., 603 CMR 7.08 (2) (c) 1., 603 CMR 7.08 (2) (d) 5, 603 CMR 7.14 (1)(b) and 603 CMR 7.14 (2)(b) for the SEI endorsement, in accordance with the Guidelines for Program Approval issued by the Commissioner, in consultation with the Commissioner of Higher Education.

My staff from both the Offices of Educator Preparation, Policy and Leadership (EPPL) and English Language Acquisition & Academic Achievement (OLEAAA) have been working with staff and faculty at your educator preparation programs as they work to meet these new requirements. The timelines are not flexible and therefore we need you to help provide the resources and supports necessary for your preparation programs to meet this new requirement by the June 1, 2013 deadline. If you have not done so already, I strongly urge you to discuss these requirements with the leaders of your educator preparation programs and determine what may be necessary to facilitate their efforts to meet the regulatory requirements.

We appreciate your willingness to work with us on this essential initiative to closing proficiency gaps. Please direct questions to: Liz Losee in the EPPL office at: 781-338-3264 or elosee@doe.mass.edu.



Last Updated: January 25, 2013
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