New Continuous Progress Policy for an Academic Licensure Hardship Waiver
Thanks to feedback from some of our schools, Commissioner Chester approved a policy that redefines how continuous progress is calculated when a waiver is requested for an additional year that would allow an individual to continue in the current position. This policy is in alignment with the Regulations for Educator Licensure and Preparation Program Approval (603 CMR 7.00). The new policy is as follows: ESE will accept college/university courses and the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL) as evidence of continuous progress towards licensure. In addition, the accumulation of *activities such as seminars, workshops, or other professional learning experiences (i.e. mentored experience), and a passing score on a subtest of an MTEL can now be used to document compliance with this requirement to seek an additional year waiver. It is important to note that districts must continue to provide all of the supporting waiver documents for review as previously required.
This memo will highlight the changes to the continuous progress policy for academic hardship waivers, however, additional information, including the "old continuous progress policy" can be found at: http://www.mass.gov/edu/government/departments-and-boards/ese/programs/educator-effectiveness/licensure/districts/how-continuous-progress-is-calculated-for-an-additional.html.
Please note that seminars, workshops and mentored experience can only be counted towards continuous progress for fields in which such activities can be counted towards licensure, such as moderate disabilities, severe disabilities, instructional technology, library, etc. As a reminder, continuous progress is only one required component of obtaining an additional waiver. School districts must also submit the information attested to during the waiver application including proof of posting, the name and license number of all appropriately licensed educators who applied for the position, an explanation of why they were not deemed qualified to perform the duties, and/or the name and license number of any appropriately licensed candidates who declined the position and an explanation why the unlicensed candidate is qualified for the position.
In addition to the type of activities that will now be accepted towards obtaining an additional waiver, another significant change to the policy relates to how activities will be counted towards continuous progress. Each acceptable activity that the educator completes while on a waiver will be allocated points. A minimum of six points is required to in order for the individual to be eligible to receive an additional waiver.
This new policy is retroactive to July 1, 2013, with school year (SY) 2013-14 serving as a transition year. During this period the Department will measure continuous progress using either the "old policy" or this "new policy." As a result, an educator that might not have been able to satisfy the new continuous progress policy might be able to comply with the old policy and attain a waiver. The Department will
calculate and only accept progress that occurred within the 12 months from when the previous waiver was issued or within the 12 months following the current waiver was requested. However, activities that were accepted towards the previous waiver cannot be counted toward the current waiver request (i.e., no "double dipping").
Another significant change to the definition of continuous progress will take place at the local level this year but will not be measured by the Department until SY 2014-15. In addition to the educator demonstrating continuous progress and the district providing the appropriate supporting documentation, the educator must have received an evaluation rating of at least "Needs Improvement" or higher (i.e., "Proficient," or "Exemplary") on the district's evaluation system in order to receive an additional waiver.
These changes recognize the efforts that many educators on waivers are making, particularly in "high need areas," and provide greater assurance that all our students are taught by an effective professional. We hope that this memo and the additional chart and examples provide you with a clear understanding of the new policy. However, should you have any questions or require some clarification, please feel free to contact Sarah Johnson, Waiver Specialist, at SarahJohnson@doe.mass.edu or 781-338-6605.
The following chart depicts the core components available to an educator to document progress:
|Continuous Progress Point Values|
|Requirement completed:||Points earned:|
|One semester credit of college coursework||1|
|Passing a full MTEL||2|
|Passing a subtest of an MTEL||1|
|Meeting a "coverage of…" competency through 10 PDPs or 10 hours of mentored experience||1|
Note: During SY 2013-14 an educator may document progress either on the old policy or the new point based system.
SY 2013-14 - "new policy"
Educator A: Working under a first year waiver in moderate disabilities, since obtaining the waiver the individual completes the following:
- Passes the Foundations of Reading MTEL = 2 points
- Completes four competencies through a series of workshops (totaling no less than 40 PDPs) they are taking to satisfy the specific subject matter competencies specific to moderate disabilities = 4 points
Assuming the district had provided all appropriate supporting documentation, this waiver could be approved based on earning the six points.
SY 2013-14 - "old policy"
Educator B: Working under a second year waiver in severe disabilities, since obtaining the additional waiver the individual completes the following:
- Completes two one credit courses at an approved college/university that satisfy their remaining requirements towards earning the severe disabilities license.
- Passes the Communication & Literacy Skills MTEL
Assuming the district had provided all appropriate supporting documentation, this waiver could be approved based on completing two courses and passing one MTEL test.
Educator C: Working under a first year waiver in instructional technology, since obtaining the waiver the individual completes the following:
- Completes two four credit courses at an approved college/university that satisfy their remaining requirements towards earning the instructional technology. = 8 points
Although this educator has achieved eight points towards continuous progress, the evaluation rating was unsatisfactory and as a result, an additional waiver can't be awarded by the Department.
Educator D: Working under an additional year waiver in moderate disabilities, since obtaining the waiver the individual completes the following:
- Passed the mathematics subtest of the General Curriculum MTEL = 1 point
- Passed the reading portion of the Communication & Literacy Skills MTEL = 1 point
- Completed a three credit course in the federal and state laws related to special education, which was a remaining licensure component for Educator D. = 3 points
- Completed one competency through mentored employment (totaling no less than 10 hours) = 1 point
Along with the supporting documentation the district submits, they verify that the educator received a rating of needs improvement, as a result, the additional waiver for 2014-15 could be approved.