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Rethinking Equity and Teaching for English Language Learners (RETELL)

Letter Concerning Requirements to Obtain the SEI Endorsement

August 1, 2013 Dear Massachusetts Educator: I hope you are having a restorative summer. As you know, 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. In June 2013, with the assistance of districts, the Department distributed two memoranda to educators, one focused on the needs of teachers and the other focused on the needs of administrators. These memoranda provided detailed information about the SEI Endorsement requirements and SEI Endorsement courses.1 You are now receiving this letter because your district has identified you as someone who is eligible to enroll in a no-cost SEI Endorsement course during the 2013-2014 school year (SY 2014) to obtain the SEI Endorsement that you need.

The Requirement to Obtain an SEI Endorsement

If you are a core academic teacher2 who has one or more English language learners (ELLs) in your classroom during the period from SY 2013 through SY 2016, you must earn the SEI Teacher Endorsement. If you are a principal/assistant principal or supervisor/director3 (hereafter referred to as "administrator"), who supervises or evaluates one or more core academic teachers of ELLs during the period from SY 2013 through SY 2016, you must earn 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. Your district has forwarded this letter to you because, according to district records, you are a core academic teacher who will have an ELL in your classroom in SY 2014, or you are an administrator who will supervise or evaluate a core academic teacher who will have an ELL in the classroom in SY 2014.4

Enrolling in an SEI Endorsement course in SY 2014

Since you meet the criteria for enrollment in SY 2014, you will have a no-cost opportunity to earn an SEI Endorsement in SY 2014 by enrolling in an SEI Endorsement course. Enrollment in an SEI Endorsement course in SY 2014 is solely your responsibility. By self-enrolling, you will have the opportunity to select the course that works best for you and your schedule. When you enroll, you are assigned to the 2013-2014 cohort year, which ends on August 31, 2014. Once you are assigned to a cohort year, you must earn the SEI Endorsement before the end of your cohort year, or you will not be able to advance, renew, or extend your license until you obtain the SEI Endorsement. Furthermore, if you are assigned to the 2013-2014 cohort year and you do not earn the SEI Endorsement by August 31, 2014, you will have to earn the SEI Endorsement at your own expense. DESE's goal is that educators will voluntarily enroll in the SEI Endorsement courses, and we expect that in most districts, a sufficient number of eligible educators will take advantage of the self-enrollment process. However, if you do not self-enroll, and if there are not enough self-enrolled educators to fill up the seats allocated to your district for SY 2014, the Department may assign you to the 2013 - 2014 cohort year. Should you be so-assigned, you will have the same obligation to earn the SEI Endorsement by August 31, 2014 as those who self-enrolled. Please be advised that the window for a no-cost SEI Endorsement course in your district is limited. If you are in a Cohort 1 district, there is only one additional year planned for a no-cost training opportunity: SY 2015.5 If you are in a Cohort 2 district, there are only two additional years planned for no-cost training opportunities: SY 2015 and SY 2016. Please also be aware that the Department plans to assign each affected teacher and administrator who has not obtained the SEI Endorsement by the start of the final year of their districts' SEI cohort training, to that final cohort training year, if the educator has not already self-enrolled.6 For example, if you are an educator in a Cohort 1 district and you do not self-enroll or the Department does not assign you to the SY 2014 cohort, you will have only one more chance in SY 2015 to take the SEI Endorsement course at no cost. If you do not self-enroll in SY 2015, the Department will assign you to that cohort year. You will then need to earn the SEI Endorsement by August 31, 2015 through the SEI Endorsement course or otherwise (see other paths to the SEI Endorsement discussed below), or you will not be able to advance, renew, or extend your license. If you are a core academic teacher with an ELL in your classroom, or you are an administrator who must obtain the SEI Endorsement, you are strongly encouraged to complete an SEI Endorsement course (or otherwise earn the SEI Endorsement) during your district's SEI cohort training window, when no-cost course opportunities to earn the required SEI Endorsement are available to you. Under new state regulations, 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 assignment. For this reason, and because you may not be able to advance, renew, or extend your license 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 assigned to the SY 2014 cohort year, whether because you self-enrolled or the Department assigned you, and 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, 2014. 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 link will take you to the application for a hardship exception: If the application is granted you will be given additional time to obtain the SEI Endorsement. You also will retain your 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 (expected availability Spring 2014; the examination fee is at the educator's own expense);
  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.
If you possess a valid ESL or ELL license, you should not enroll in an SEI course as you automatically qualify for the SEI Teacher Endorsement. 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 apply for the SEI Teacher Endorsement through ELAR. Instructions for applying for the Endorsement will be posted after August 1st at 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 review (see link to instructions, above). There is no charge for the SEI Teacher or SEI Administrator Endorsements to eligible educators who qualify for, or otherwise apply for, them between 7/1/2012 and 8/31/2016.

What You Need to Know About the Enrollment Process

  • The registration tool will guide you through the registration process, and help you to determine whether you need to enroll in an SEI Endorsement course and, if so, provide you with the opportunity to enroll in the appropriate course. For example, teachers who have completed two or more of the "Category Trainings" (from Categories 1, 2, and 4) will be eligible for one of the two shorter "bridge courses." The details matter, so take your time and read very carefully. If you follow the instructions correctly, the enrollment system will ensure that you enroll in the right type of SEI Endorsement course.
  • You will need your personal/professional calendar at hand when you go online to register.
  • Enrollment in SEI Endorsement courses will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Each district has a number of training slots allocated to it. It is possible that in some districts, not all educators who attempt to enroll will be able to do so in SY 2014. If you have at least one ELL in your classroom in SY 2014, subject to appropriation, you will have another no-cost opportunity to enroll in the SEI Endorsement course.
  • In order to enroll, you will need to ensure that your Educator Licensure and Recruitment (ELAR) account is up-to-date and confirm your Massachusetts Educator Professional Identification (MEPID) number; 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, which will be linked to
You're now ready to begin the enrollment process. Please proceed to the registration site as soon as it opens on August 5th, 2013 by going to We look forward to learning together in SEI courses 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. Sincerely, Jonathan Landman line 1 If you need to review one or both of these communications, they are posted at www.doe.mass/retell/. 2 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. 3 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. 4 If you believe that you have received this letter in error, please contact the Department's Professional Development Support Center after August 5th at (781) 338-6994, (617) 994-6994, or at (413) 314-6739. 5 A chart identifying which districts are in Cohorts 1, 2, and 3 can be found at 6 If you have already used your no-cost opportunity and failed to earn the SEI Endorsement, the Department will not assign you to the final cohort year.

Last Updated: August 1, 2013

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