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Connecticut Policy Profile

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Connecticut

Teaching Standards and Leadership Standards

Teaching Standards

Is working with and meeting the needs of students with disabilities addressed in state teaching standards?

Four domains of the state’s 2010 Common Core of Teaching address how teachers should be prepared to meet the learning needs of students with disabilities:

  • Domain 2: Classroom Environment, Student Engagement and Commitment to Learning. Including: Creating a class climate that is responsive to and respectful of the learning needs of students with diverse backgrounds, interests and performance levels. Addressing student learning needs includes understanding typical and atypical growth and development of PK-12 students including characteristics and functioning of students with disabilities, gifted students, and English language learners.
  • Domain 4: Instruction for Active Learning. Including: Using differentiated instruction and supplemental interventions to support students with learning difficulties, disabilities and/or particular gifts and talents.
  • Domain 5: Assessment for Learning. Including: Understanding the role that lack of opportunity to learn, lack of effective instruction, and assessment bias can play in the overrepresentation in special education of students with cultural, ethnic, gender and linguistic differences; and Using academic, behavioral and health data to select and/or design interventions, and assist in the development of individualized education programs for students with disabilities.
  • Domain 6: Professional Responsibilities and Teacher Leadership. Including: Guiding and coaching paraprofessionals and collaborating with colleagues, administrators, and special services staff to monitor the impact of instructional or behavioral support and interventions.

Source: Common Core of Teaching: Foundational Skills, Connecticut State Department of Education

School Leadership Standards

Is knowledge of working with students with disabilities included in leader standards?

The Common Core of Leading (Connecticut School Leadership Standards) does not specifically address required knowledge of working with students with disabilities. However, Standard 1.A. states that leaders are responsible for ensuring the creation of a vision, mission, and goals that establish high expectations for all students and staff. One indicator of this standard is that the leader incorporates diverse perspectives and collaborates with all stakeholders to develop a shared vision, mission, and goals so that all students have equitable and effective learning opportunities. ISLLC standards informed the development of Connecticut’s leadership standards.

Source: The Common Core of Leading – Connecticut School Leadership Standards


Teacher and Principal Preparation

Teacher Preparation – Program Approval/Accreditation

Required course work in teaching students with disabilities/diverse learners

As described in State Board of Education regulations, completion of a course of study in special education comprised of no fewer than 36 clock hours is required for all teacher candidates. This includes study in understanding the growth and development of exceptional children (including handicapped and gifted and talented children and children who may require special education and methods for identifying) and planning for and working effectively with special needs children in the regular classroom.

Source: State Board of Education (SBE) Regulations §§10-145d-412, 436, 446 and 451

Clinical time in diverse settings/teaching special populations

State clinical time requirements do not specifically address clinical experience teaching special populations. However, state policy does address duration of clinical time, supervision of clinical experiences, and the expectation that teachers meet the needs of all students.

Student teaching is defined as supervised full-day practice teaching with a trained cooperating teacher for a duration of 10 or more weeks, following the completion of a minimum of 12 semester hours of credit in professional education in an educator preparation program.

Supervised observation, participation and full-time responsible student teaching in the grade appropriate school (elementary, middle or secondary), totaling at least six but not more than 12 semester hours of credit, is required.

Finally, the State Board of Education adopted National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) Refined Standards. Standard 3: Field Experiences and Clinical Practice: “The unit and its school partners design, implement, and evaluate field experiences and clinical practice so that teacher candidates and other school personnel develop and demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to help all students learn.”

Sources:

SBE Regulations §10-145d-8 and 11

SBE Regulations §10-145d-436, 446 and 451

Unit Standards, National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

Teacher Preparation – Accountability

Quality of teacher preparation programs

Connecticut does not collect program-specific, objective data that reflect teacher preparation program performance, nor has it established minimum performance standards that can be used for accountability purposes.

Source: National Council on Teacher Quality, 2012 State Teacher Policy Yearbook: Improving Teacher Preparation in Connecticut

Principal Preparation – Program Approval/Accreditation

Required course work in leading a school/district that serves students with disabilities/diverse learners

The Connecticut State Department of Education oversees the educator preparation program approval, or accreditation, process through which Connecticut public and private institutions of higher education, or other organizations, seek new program approval and continuing program approval to offer educator preparation programs leading to licensure. Institutions or organizations seeking continuing approval for educator preparation programs must provide evidence that candidates possess the knowledge and skills described by: the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) performance standards, including national content-specific standards; the Connecticut Common Core of Teaching (CCT); Connecticut educator certification regulations; and Connecticut educator preparation regulations. NCATE standards expect candidates “to study and practice in settings that include diverse populations, students with exceptionalities.”

Source: Connecticut State Department of Education, Educator Preparation Program Approval

Principal Preparation – Accountability

Are programs reviewed based on outcomes of graduates’ success? Can teachers be linked back to institutions of higher education and preparation programs?

Apart from the accreditation process, Connecticut does not employ an accountability system for principal preparation programs.


Teacher and Principal Certification/Licensure

Teacher Certification/Licensure – Structure

Is a specific certificate, license or endorsement related to special education required?

Connecticut does not distinguish between elementary and secondary special education teachers. The state offers only a K-12 special education certification that does not build upon a general education foundation.

Source: National Council on Teacher Quality, 2012 State Teacher Policy Yearbook: Improving Teacher Preparation in Connecticut

Teacher Certification – Examination

Does the state require teachers to pass a basic skills exam for initial certification? What are the pass rates on the exams? Does the state require Praxis II or more pedagogical assessment for licensure? Does it include anything about teaching diverse learners or special populations?

Beginning teachers in all content areas must pass all three Praxis I Pre-Professional Skills Tests or meet the requirements of a State Board-approved waiver option. Elementary teachers must pass the Praxis II Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects test and the Praxis II Principles of Learning and Teaching Grades K–6 test. Secondary teachers are not required to take a Principles of Learning and Teaching test. Teachers must also take tests for specific licensure areas.

Sources:

Overview of Connecticut Testing Requirements

Connecticut State Department of Education, Guide to Assessments for Educator Certification in Connecticut

Teacher Certification/Licensure – Requirements

Is professional development around working with special populations required to move from initial to a professional license?

Connecticut has a three-tier continuum certification system:

  1. Initial Educator Certificate – valid for three years.
  2. Provisional Educator Certificate – valid for eight years.
  3. Professional Educator Certificate – valid for 5 years.

Each of these certificates requires the applicant to complete course work as prescribed by state regulations for the endorsement requested. Candidates seeking certification to work with special populations are required to complete course work and field experience with those particular student populations.

Sources:

Connecticut Certification Requirements

Types of Certificates

Certification Regulations

Principal Certification/Licensure – Requirements

Is prior teaching experience required to become a principal and/or a superintendent? Is specific coursework or other evidence required around working with special populations?

Connecticut requires school leader candidates to obtain a master’s degree, have teaching experience, complete a state-approved preparation program, and pass an assessment.

Principal candidates must hold a master’s degree from an approved institution, complete an additional 18 semester hours of graduate credit, and complete 50 school months of successful teaching or service. Candidates must present a recommendation from their preparation institution and complete graduate study in specified courses of at least 36 clock hours, including study in understanding the growth and development of children who may require special education.

Persons hired to serve in supervisory positions in special education and related services are required to hold the intermediate administrator or supervisor certificate and shall be appropriately certified, according to the following:

  • Whenever a board of education is required by state regulations (Section 10-76d-2(b)) to employ a full-time supervisor of special education instruction, the supervisor shall be required to hold both the intermediate administrator or supervisor certificate and special education certificate.
  • Whenever a board of education is required by state policy (Section 1 of P.A. 91-220) to employ a full-time supervisor for special education personnel, including instructional and pupil personnel services personnel, the supervisor shall be required to hold both intermediate administrator or supervisor certificate and certification in special education or in a service category of pupil personnel services.

Sources:

George W. Bush Institute, Operating in the Dark

CGS Regulations §10-145d-574, §10-145d-585

Certification Regulations, page 118-119


Teacher and Principal Induction

Teacher Induction

Is mentoring required for all new teachers and for how many years? If so, do program guidelines/requirements specifically address teaching diverse learners?

State law requires the state Department of Education to “establish and administer a teacher education and mentoring program that includes guided teacher support and coaching and the completion of instructional modules… for beginning teachers.” It also requires each beginning teacher to “develop a two-year individualized mentoring plan.”

All new teachers (those who are teaching under an initial educator certificate, interim initial educator certificate, or a 90-day certificate in a subject area) are required to participate in the state’s Teacher Education And Mentoring (TEAM) Program. Teachers employed in public schools, charter schools and approved private special education facilities are required to participate. Teachers in most endorsement areas (bilingual education, elementary education, English language arts, health, mathematics, music, physical education, science, social studies, special education, teachers of English as a second language, visual arts and world languages) are required to participate in the full two-year TEAM program. Participation in the one-year TEAM program is required of new teachers in other endorsement areas.

Source: General Statutes of Connecticut (GSC) Chapter 166 § 10-145o,

New Teacher Center, Review of State Policies on Teacher Induction

Principal Induction

Is coaching/mentoring required for all new principals/administrators/ superintendents and for how many years? If so, do program guidelines/requirements specifically serving diverse learners?

The state does not require beginning school administrators to receive induction or mentoring support.

Source: New Teacher Center, Review of State Policies on Teacher Induction


Teacher and Principal Professional Development Standards

Teacher Professional Development Standards

Does the state have professional development standards for teacher PD?

The Connecticut State Board of Education adopted the Connecticut Common Core of Teaching (CCT) in 1999. Based on these standards, the Connecticut State Department of Education developed a set of guidelines to direct and assist districts in developing standards-based, integrated district evaluation and professional development plans.

Source: Overview of Connecticut’s Professional Development Guidelines, Connecticut Department of Education

Principal Professional Development Standards

Does the state have professional development standards for leadership PD?

The Connecticut State Board of Education adopted the Standards for School Leaders (SSL) for administrators in 1999. Based on these standards, the Connecticut State Department of Education developed a set of guidelines to direct and assist districts in developing standards-based, integrated district evaluation and professional development plans.

Source: Overview of Connecticut’s Professional Development Guidelines, Connecticut Department of Education