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Florida Policy Profile

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Teaching Standards and Leadership Standards

Teaching Standards

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

There are two standards in the Florida Educator Accomplished Practices that specifically address the needs of students with disabilities.

  • The Learning Environment. To maintain a student-centered learning environment that is safe, organized, equitable, flexible, inclusive, and collaborative, the effective educator consistently adapts the learning environment to accommodate the differing needs and diversity of students.
  • Instructional Delivery and Facilitation. The effective educator consistently utilizes a deep and comprehensive knowledge of the subject taught to differentiate instruction based on an assessment of student learning needs and recognition of individual differences in students.

Source: Florida Administrative Code 6A-5.065

School Leadership Standards

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

The Florida Principal Leadership Standards do not specifically address required knowledge of working with students with disabilities. However, the standards state that effective school leaders achieve results on the school’s student-learning goals based on state academic standards and the district’s curricula where student-learning results are evidenced by student performance on statewide assessments, district-determined assessments, international assessments, and other indicators of student success. In addition, they require school leaders to engage faculty and staff in efforts to close learning performance gaps among student subgroups within the school.

Source: Florida Administrative Code 6A-5.080

Teacher and Principal Preparation

Teacher Preparation – Program Approval/Accreditation

Required course work in teaching students with disabilities/diverse learners

Florida state policy requires teacher preparation programs to provide instruction in and assess each candidate’s performance in demonstrating the competencies of the Uniform Core Curricula so that candidates will be prepared to teach students from diverse cultures and of varying exceptionalities and performance levels, all in a variety of settings, including high-needs schools.

A uniform core curriculum is established and must be provided by each institution with an approved program. The Uniform Core Curriculum must address training teachers on instructional strategies appropriate for the instruction of students with disabilities. The curriculum includes:

  • The competencies contained in the Florida Educator Accomplished Practices at the pre-professional level (Florida Administrative Code 6A-5.065)
  • The Competencies and Skills for Teacher Certification (Florida Administrative Code 6A-4.0021)
  • Scientifically-based reading instructional methods appropriate to the candidate’s subject area(s)
  • Additional content and instructional practices (uniform core curricula) listed in Florida Statutes 1004.04 (2), (3) and (5).

Educator Accomplished Practice Five relates to diversity and using teaching and learning strategies that reflect each student’s culture, learning styles, special needs and socio-economic background.

Courses for the professional preparation and education competence requirement are 15 semester hours with credit including effective instructional techniques, strategies and materials to meet the needs of diverse learners, including students with disabilities.


Florida Administrative Code 6A-5.066

Florida Administrative Code 6A-5.065

Florida Statutes §1004.04

Florida Administrative Code 6A-4.006

Florida Administrative Code 6A-4.001 through 6A-4.078C

Clinical time in diverse settings/teaching special populations

Teacher preparation programs should provide for field experiences in K-12 classroom settings and should address “strategies appropriate for the instruction of students with disabilities so that candidates are prepared to apply specialized instructional techniques, strategies, and materials for differentiating, accommodating, and modifying assessments, instruction, and materials for students with disabilities.”

Source: Florida Administrative Code 6A-5.066

Teacher Preparation – Accountability

Quality of teacher preparation programs

A 2013 Florida law revised requirements for state-approved educator preparation programs. It provides a new accountability framework for the approval of teacher preparation programs that is based on performance outcome metrics. It requires the Commissioner of Education to determine continued approval of each program based on specific metrics including placement rate data, retention rate data, student performance by subgroups, and critical teacher shortages. It requires each state-approved teacher preparation program to include in its uniform core curricula: Florida Educator Accomplished Practices, state-adopted student content standards, reading instruction, content literacy and mathematical practices, strategies for the instruction of English language learners and students with disabilities, and school safety. Annual Program Performance Report Cards are now public for each state-approved teacher preparation program for the public to review the status of each program on the six metrics that were established in law.


SB 1664 (2013)

Email from Florida Department of Education, October 7, 2014.

Principal Preparation – Program Approval/Accreditation

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

A Florida State Board of Education rule sets forth requirements for approval of two levels of school leadership programs. Level I programs lead to initial certification in educational leadership for the purpose of preparing individuals to serve as school leaders who may aspire to the school principalship. Level II programs build upon Level I training and lead to certification in School Principal. Both Level I and Level II programs must include curriculum in alignment with the Florida Principal Leadership Standards that require effective school leaders to meet the needs of all learners.

Source: Florida Administrative Code 6A-5.081

Principal Preparation – Accountability

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

State evaluation of Educational Leadership Preparation Programs is standards-based and rates individual programs on three elements: core curriculum content, candidate performance, and continuous improvement. There is a process for initial and continued program approval that includes data collection and analysis, and site visits.

Criteria 2.3 and 3.2 of the Evaluation of Educational Leadership Preparation Programs based on the approval standards adopted pursuant to Rule 6A-5.081, F.A.C. states the following:

2.3 The institution and district will develop a collaborative plan to address the remediation of program completers who do not meet district employers’ satisfaction in their first two years in an educational leadership position.

3.2 Methods and procedures are in place to assess program completers’ and district employers’ satisfaction with the completers’ preparedness for serving in a school based leadership position in the first year of such employment after completing the program.

Source: Evaluation of Educational Leadership Preparation Programs

Teacher and Principal Certification/Licensure

Teacher Certification/Licensure – Structure

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

Florida only offers a K-12 special education certification.

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

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?

Candidate must pass all three portions of the Florida Teacher Certification Examination (FTCE) including the FTCE Subject Area Examinations, FTCE Professional Education Test, and FTCE General Knowledge Test. The Professional Education Test requires teachers to identify characteristics of, and intervention strategies for students with disabilities.

Source: Florida Professional Education, Section 00

Teacher Certification/Licensure – Requirements

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

For teaching certificate renewals after July 2014, six semester hours of college credit to include at least one (1) semester hour in teaching students with disabilities (SWD) must be earned during each renewal period. Twenty in-service points in an approved Florida master in-service program are equivalent to one semester hour of college credit.

In addition, a 2013 Florida law revised requirements for educator certification. It requires each educator candidate to be instructed and assessed on the Uniform Core Curriculum in his or her program concentration, demonstrate his or her ability to positively impact student learning growth during a field experience prior to program completion, demonstrate sufficient mastery of general knowledge as a prerequisite for admission into the undergraduate program, hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution for admission into graduate level programs, and pass all portions of the Florida Teacher Certification examination prior to program completion.

Individuals enrolled in state-approved and non-state-approved teacher preparation programs must have training on strategies appropriate for working with students with disabilities. For state approved programs that are “alternative,” whereby the individual may hold an initial certificate (Temporary Certificate), completers of these programs must also meet this requirement.


Florida Department of Education, Florida Educator Certification Renewal Requirements

SB 1664 (2013)

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?

Prior teaching experience is not required to become a school principal or superintendent in Florida. The state requires principal candidates to successfully perform the duties of the school principalship as documented by a comprehensive performance appraisal system.

Superintendents must complete the Florida Educational Leadership Core Curriculum. Candidates must document successful completion by: (1) completion of a Department of Education approved Florida preservice program in educational leadership; (2) a graduate degree major in educational administration, administration and supervision or educational leadership; (3) a graduate degree with a major in a subject other than educational administration, administration and supervision or educational leadership, and successful completion of a Department of Education approved modified Florida program in educational leadership; (4) graduate degree with a major in a subject other than educational administration, administration and supervision, or educational leadership and 30 semester hours of graduate credit which includes credit in each of the principal leadership standard areas and an internship or a course with associated field experience in educational leadership; or (5) successful completion of an Educational Leadership training program approved by the Department of Education and offered by a Florida public school district.


Florida Administrative Code 6A-4.0081 through 6A-4.0083;

Email from Florida Department of Education, October 7, 2014.

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 policy does not require all new teachers to receive induction support. The state requires teachers who complete a district-sponsored alternative certification program and adjunct (part-time) teachers to have a mentor.

Source: 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?

State policy does not require new administrators to receive induction support except those who hold a Temporary Certificate in Educational Leadership.

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?

In 2010 the State Board of Education approved an amendment to the Master Inservice Plan Requirements that included new standards for teacher professional development. These standards are currently under review and potential revision for 2015.


Florida Administrative Code, Rule: 6A-5.071

Florida’s Professional Development Evaluation System Protocol

Principal Professional Development Standards

Does the state have professional development standards for leadership PD?

The state does not have principal professional development standards, but Florida state law has established the William Cecil Golden Professional Development Program for School Leaders to provide high standards and sustained support for principals as instructional leaders.

The Program consists of a collaborative network of state and national professional leadership organizations to respond to instructional leadership needs throughout the state. It supports the human-resource development needs of principals, principal leadership teams, and candidates for principal leadership positions using Florida Principal Leadership Standards and standards adopted by the Southern Regional Education Board and the National Staff Development Council. The goal of the network leadership program is to:

  • Provide resources to support and enhance the principal’s role as the instructional leader.
  • Maintain a clearinghouse and disseminate data-supported information related to enhanced student achievement, based on educational research and best practices.
  • Build the capacity to increase the quality of programs for preservice education for aspiring principals and inservice professional development for principals and principal leadership teams.
  • Support best teaching and research-based instructional practices through dissemination and modeling at the preservice and inservice levels for both teachers and principals.

Source: Florida Department of Education, William Cecil Golden School Leadership Development Program