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Highly Qualified Teacher Guidelines
 
 
Bureau of School Leadership and Teacher Quality
Pennsylvania Department of Education
August 2008

 
SUMMARY OF PENNSYLVANIA ’S HQT REQUIREMENTS
 

NCLB’s Highly Qualified Teacher Requirements

All public school teachers with primary responsibility for direct instruction in one or more of NCLB’s core content areas are required to demonstrate that they satisfy the definition of a “Highly Qualified Teacher.” This requirement includes:
  • Elementary level (grades K-6) teachers who teach all subjects to a particular grade;
  • Middle- and secondary-level (grades 7-12) core content area instructors;
  • Special education teachers who provide direct instruction in one or more core content areas;
  • English as a second language (ESL) teachers who provide direct instruction in one or more core content areas; and
  • Alternative education teachers who provide direct instruction in one or more core content areas.  
In Pennsylvania , the NCLB core content areas include English, Reading/Language Arts, Mathematics, Sciences, Foreign Languages, Music and Art, and Social Studies (history, economics, geography, and civics and government) .  
 

Pennsylvania’s Definition of Highly Qualified Teacher

To satisfy the definition of a Highly Qualified Teacher, teachers must:
1)   Hold at least a bachelor’s degree;
2)   Hold a valid Pennsylvania  teaching certificate (i.e., Instructional I, Instructional II or Intern certificate but not an emergency permit); and
3)   Demonstrate subject matter competency for the core content area they teach.
 
Generally, all Pennsylvania certified teachers may demonstrate subject matter competency through having passed a content area test in the subject area of their teaching assignment.  Middle and Secondary level teachers may also demonstrate competency by having completed a content area major or a graduate degree in the subject area of assignment. 
 
Additionally, experienced teachers (i.e., one or more years of teaching experience) may demonstrate subject matter competency through having attained National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) Certification in the subject area of their teaching assignment.  

 
Note:  PA’s HOUSSE procedures (i.e. Bridge Certification Program, State-level HOUSSE and HOUSSE HQT designations) closed on July 2006 and June 30, 2007 to all educators except for (1) educators who developed an Individual Professional Development Plan (IPDP) prior to June 30, 2007 in conjunction with his/her school district have until December 31, 2008 to attain a highly qualified teacher designation (HOUSSE HQT Requirements and Rubric) (PDF) and (2) new (first year) special education teachers who teach multiple core content subjects in middle level or secondary settings as provided for under the IDEA and NCLB have up to two years from the date of hire to demonstrate content expertise in the remaining core academic subject(s) they teach.

   

     Pennsylvania’s HQT Requirements

 
Please click on the link under the level that best describes your teaching assignment to determine how to obtain your Highly Qualified Teacher status:
 
ELEMENTARY LEVEL
 
Regular education teachers providing core academic content instruction to elementary level (grades K-6) students.  (Elementary Level - Regular Education)   (PDF)
 
Special Education certified teachers providing core academic instruction to elementary level (K-6) special education students or to special education students taking an alternative assessment (PASA)(Elementary Level - Special Education) (PDF)
 
ESL teachers certified with an ESL Program Specialist certificate providing core academic content instruction to Elementary level English Language Learners (ELL) students.   (Elementary Level - ESL Program Specialist) (PDF)
 
Alternative Education teachers providing core academic content instruction to students in Alternative Education programs.   (Elementary Level - Alternative Education)  (PDF) 

MIDDLE AND SECONDARY TEACHERS

Regular education teachers providing core academic content instruction to middle/secondary level (grades 7-12) students.  (Middle-Secondary Level - Regular Education) (PDF)
 
Special Education certified teachers providing core academic instruction to middle/secondary level (7-12) special education students.  (Middle-Secondary Level - Special Education) (PDF)  
 
ESL teachers certified with an ESL Program Specialist certificate providing core academic instruction to middle/secondary level (7-12) ESL students.  (Middle-Secondary Level - ESL Program Specialist) (PDF)
  
Alternative Education teachers providing core academic instruction to middle/secondary level (7-12) alternative education students.  (Middle-Secondary Level - Alternative Education) (PDF)
 

Summary of Options Available for Demonstrating Subject Matter Competency
 
Assignment Area Praxis II Content Knowledge Exam: Fundamental Subjects Content Knowledge  College/Graduate Degree in Content/Equivalency  HOUSSE (100 Point Matrix)*  National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Certification 
New Elementary teachers (must have valid elementary education certificate)
 X
 
 
Experienced Elementary teachers (must have valid elementary education certificate) 
 X
     
New Special Education elementary-level teachers (must have valid special education certificate) 
 X
     
Experienced Special  Education Elementary-level teachers (must have vlaid special education certificate) 
 X
     
New ESL elementary-level teachers (must have valid ESL program specialist certificate) 
 X
     
Experienced ESL elementary-level teachers (must have valid ESL program specialist certificate) 
 X
   
 X
New Alternative Education elementary-level teachers 
 X
     
Experienced Alternative Special Education elementary-level teachers 
 X
   
 X
         
 New Middle & Secondary Core Content Instruction
 X
X
   
Experienced Middle & Secondary Core Content Instruction 
 X
 X
 
X
New Special Ed Middle & Secondary Core Content Instruction (must have valid special education certificate)
X
X
X
Experienced Special Ed Middle & Secondary Core Content Instruction (must have valid special education certificate)
X
X
X
New ESL Middle & Secondary Core Content Instruction (must have valid ESL Progream Specialist certificate) 
 X
 X
   
Experienced ESL Middle & Secondary Core Content Instruction (must have valid ESL Program Specialist certificate) 
X
 X
 
 X
New Alternative Middle & Secondary Core Content Instruction 
 X

X
   
Experienced Alternative Middle & Secondary Core Content Instruction 
 X
 X
 
 X

*Note:  PA’s HOUSSE procedures (i.e. Bridge Certification Program, State-level HOUSSE and HOUSSE HQT designations) closed on July 2006 and June 30, 2007 to all educators except for (1) educators who developed an Individual Professional Development Plan (IPDP) prior to June 30, 2007 in conjunction with his/her school district have until December 31, 2008 to attain a highly qualified teacher designation (HOUSSE HQT Requirements and Rubric) (PDF) and (2) new (first year) special education teachers who teach multiple core content subjects in middle level or secondary settings as provided for under the IDEA and NCLB have up to two years from the date of hire to demonstrate content expertise in the remaining core academic subject(s) they teach.

 

Definitions & Abbreviations 
 
A.  The following abbreviations and acronyms are used throughout these Guidelines to refer to the following terms:
(1)   “Act 48” means Act 48 of 1999, the law that established the program of continuing professional education for teachers and other professional educators. Act 48 is codified in section 1205.2 of the Public School Code of 1949, as amended, 24 P. S. § 12-1205.2.
 
(2)   “PDE” or “the Department” means the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
 
(3)   “HQT” means Highly Qualified Teacher, and “HQT provisions” means the provisions on Highly Qualified Teachers in section 9101(23) of the No Child Left Behind Act. (20 U.S.C. § 7801 (23)).
 
(4)   “NCLB” or “No Child Left Behind Act” means the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.
 
(5)    HOUSSE means Highly Objective Uniform State System of Evaluation as established by the state.
 
B. New to the Profession : Teachers who have been in the profession for less than one year.
 
C. Not New to the Profession: Teachers who have one or more years of experience in the profession.
 
D.   Full-Time Teaching :  Service on a half year basis or more (with a half day or more each day)   as a teacher in a professional position .
 
E.   Nonpublic school :  An elementary or secondary school that is either (a) a licensed private academic school as defined in 24 P. S. § 6702 (generally a nonpublic, non-sectarian school) or (b) a non-public (religiously affiliated) school that is registered with the Department’s Division of Nonpublic and Private Schools.
 
F. School-district-based Alternative Education Program : The term “alternative education program” is defined in section 1901-C(1) of the Public School Code of 1949, as amended, 24 P. S. § 19-1901-C(1). The term “school-district-based Alternative Education Program” includes a program implemented by a school district, an area vocational-technical school, a group of school districts, or an intermediate unit.  It does not include an alternative education program offered at a private alternative education institution as that latter term is defined in section 1901-E of the Public School Code of 1949, as amended, 24 P. S. § 19-1901-E.
 
G. Teacher of Record :  A teacher of record is a professional or temporary professional educator assigned by a school entity as the primary instructor for a group of students.