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Georgia Policy Profile

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Georgia

Teaching Standards and Leadership Standards

Teaching Standards

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

Students with disabilities are referenced in Georgia’s Teacher Assessment on Performance Standards (TAPS) Performance Standards.

Standard 4. Differentiated Instruction:

The teacher challenges students by providing appropriate content and developing skills which address individual learning differences, including differentiating the instructional content, process, product, and learning environment to meet individual development needs.

Standard 7. Positive Learning Environment:

The teacher provides a well-managed, safe, and orderly environment that is conducive to learning and encourages respect for all. Including: Promoting respect for and understanding of students’ diversity, including – but not limited to – race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or disability.

Source: Georgia Department of Education, Teacher Keys Effectiveness System – Implementation Handbook

School Leadership Standards

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

Georgia first piloted its Leader Keys Effectiveness System (LKES) with the 26 Race to the Top districts and additional volunteer districts during the 2012-2013 school year. The LKES is a common evaluation system. The LKES indicators do not specifically address students with disabilities. However, several standards and indicators clearly state that an effective leader should foster and promote the academic success of all students.

Source: Georgia Department of Education, Leader Keys Effectiveness System – Implementation Handbook


Teacher and Principal Preparation

Teacher Preparation – Program Approval/Accreditation

Required course work in teaching students with disabilities/diverse learners

The Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GaPSC) has adapted CAEP accreditation standards for use in the Georgia educator preparation provider (EPP) and preparation program approval processes beginning in 2015. Currently, the Georgia Standards for the Approval of Professional Education Units and Preparation Programs are adapted from the NCATE accreditation standards. The adapted standards include all six of the NCATE standards, as well as two additional standards that address Georgia-specific requirements.

Georgia has also adopted the InTASC Model Core Teaching Standards (MCTS) for all teacher preparation programs. The InTASC MCTS emphasize the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to ensure all students, including those with special educational needs, reach their full potential.

The GaPSC requires approved education program providers to require candidates seeking certification in a teaching field to complete either 5 or more quarter hours or 3 or more semester hours of coursework in the identification and education of children who have special educational needs or the equivalent, through a Georgia-approved professional learning program. GaPSC also requires candidates to possess knowledge about the identification and education of children with special needs.

Sources:

Georgia Professional Standards Commission, Georgia Standards for the Approval of Professional Education Units and Educator Preparation Programs

Georgia Professional Standards Commission, Rule 505-3-.01

Clinical time in diverse settings/teaching special populations

GaPSC-approved education programs providers must ensure that teacher candidates complete supervised field experiences consistent with the grade levels of their certification field. They must emphasize “active professional practice or demonstration” and include “substantive work with P-12 students and P-12 personnel as appropriate.”

Source: Georgia Professional Standards Commission, Rule 505-3-.01

Teacher Preparation – Accountability

Quality of teacher preparation programs

Georgia collects some program-specific, objective data that reflect teacher preparation program performance, including data relating to candidates during student teaching. The state also reports the data it collects at the program-level to provide the public with meaningful, readily understandable indicators of how well programs are doing. According to Georgia’s Race to the Top plans, the state will, through the Teacher Preparation Program Effectiveness Measures (TPPEM) system, evaluate the impact of traditional and alternate route completers on student achievement, track the rate at which early-career teachers move to the career teacher level, and assess candidates’ ability to produce student learning gains before they are allowed to complete programs.

Sources:

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

Email communication from Georgia Professional Standards Commission, 10/24/2014.

Principal Preparation – Program Approval/Accreditation

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

Georgia Standards for the Approval of Professional Education Units and Educator Preparation Programs require candidates for educational leadership positions to be trained in the learning needs of students with disabilities.

Standard 7(c) – Identification and Education of Children with Special Needs:

Candidates in the field of educational leadership must complete 5 or more quarter hours or 3 or more semester hours, or the equivalent, in the identification and education of children who have special educational needs or equivalent, through a Georgia-approved educator preparation program or through professional learning coursework.

Source: Georgia Professional Standards Commission, Georgia Standards for the Approval of Professional Education Units and Educator Preparation Programs

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?

Georgia’s Race To The Top plans include an accountability system for principal preparation similar to that of teacher preparation. Leader Preparation Program Effectiveness Measures (LPPEMs) will evaluate the impact of graduates’ impact on student growth and achievement, as well as teacher effectiveness.

Source: Email communication from Georgia Professional Standards Commission, 10/24/2014.


Teacher and Principal Certification/Licensure

Teacher Certification/Licensure – Structure

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

Georgia offers special education certification in Special Education Preschool (Ages 3-5), Special Education General Curriculum/Early Childhood Education P-5, Special Education Adapted Curriculum P-12, Deaf Education P-12, Special Education General Curriculum P-12, Physical and Health Disabilities P-12, and Visual Impairment P-12.

To qualify as the teacher of record in every core academic subject in the special education P-5 classroom, early childhood special education teachers must pass the Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators (GACE) content area assessment for the field of special education, as well as an additional assessment(s) to ensure content expertise in the core academic subjects in which the teacher serves as the teacher of record.

The additional assessment options to serve as the teacher of record in a special education classroom include:

  • Passing the same content assessment required of teachers prepared in the field of Early Childhood Education (P-5); or
  • Passing both assessments as follows:
    • Special Education: English Language Arts, Reading, and Social Studies (P-8)
    • Special Education: Mathematics and Science (P-8); or
  • Passing the appropriate subject specific middle grades assessment(s) (4-8) in each of the content areas in which the teacher serves as the teacher of record; or
  • Passing the reading assessment (P-12) if the teacher serves as the teacher of record in reading.

Each of the assessments above report number correct at the subarea and objective levels; a minimum single scaled score must be met to pass the assessment(s).

To qualify as the teacher of record in special education in the five areas of language arts, reading, math, social science and science for grades P-8, special education candidates must pass two GACE content assessments described above for P-8, which are geared specifically to special education candidates. The first assessment combines reading, English language arts and social science; the second combines math and science.

To qualify as the teacher of record for grades 9-12, special education candidates must pass the appropriate 6-12 GACE content assessment in each of the core academic content areas in which the teacher serves as the teacher of record, in addition to the initial field of special education content assessment.

Special education teachers who do not pass these additional core academic subject content assessments may serve in “consultative” roles. To earn the P-12 special education certification, candidates must complete an academic concentration in social science, science, math, language arts or reading, consisting of 15 semester hours of academic content that conforms with the requirements of the content concentrations for middle grades.

Sources:

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

Email communication from Georgia Professional Standards Commission, 10/24/2014.

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?

Prospective candidates of state-approved educator preparation programs must meet the GaPSC’s Program Admission Testing Requirement (formerly entitled Basic Skills Requirement) for program admission. This requirement can be met by passing the Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators (GACE) Program Admission Assessment, which measures competency in reading, writing, and mathematics. Prospective candidates can exempt this requirement via appropriate scores on GRE, ACT, SAT, or other criteria.

Passing the state-approved GACE® content assessment in the appropriate field is a state certification requirement for fields that the state has a certification assessment. Praxis II tests are not required for certification in Georgia, except in the field of Speech and Language Pathology.

Beginning in 2015-2016, initial teaching candidates must pass the edTPA, a subject specific content pedagogy assessment, for state certification. The edTPA is designed not only to evaluate how candidates plan, teach, and assess effectiveness of instruction, but also places an emphasis on helping diverse students learn and adjusting teaching to meet needs. Specifics tasks within edTPA are designed to measure candidates’ ability to differentiate instruction for diverse learners, which includes making data informed decisions.

Sources:

ETS, Overview of Georgia Testing Requirements

Georgia Professional Standards Commission, Special GA Requirements

Email communication from Georgia Professional Standards Commission, 10/24/2014.

Teacher Certification/Licensure – Requirements

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

Our state policy review did not identify professional development requirements around working with special populations in order for a teacher to move from an initial to a professional license. However, Georgia Standards require preparation programs to ensure that candidates complete 5 or more quarter hours or 3 or more semester hours in coursework that trains them in the identification and education of children who have special educational needs.

Source: Georgia Standards for the Approval of Professional Education Units and Educator Preparation Programs

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?

As of September 30, 2009, principal candidates must hold a minimum of a Specialist’s degree or higher from a GaPSC-approved, performance-based preparation program. Except for a permit for the specific job of superintendent, applicants for this certificate must also have three years of acceptable school experience. In most cases, applicants must complete a state-approved program, the appropriate content assessment(s) and be recommended by the approved provider. However, requirements vary based on whether a candidate is a Georgia educator or applying by reciprocity.

Sources:

Georgia Professional Standards Commission, Rule 505-2-.300

Education Commission of the States, Administrator License Requirements, Portability, Waivers and Alternative Certification

George W. Bush Institute, Operating in the Dark

Email communication from Georgia Professional Standards Commission, 10/24/2014.


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 new teachers to receive induction or mentoring support. Georgia’s Race to the Top grant requires the 26 participating school districts to develop and implement teacher induction programs using The Georgia Department of Education Teacher Induction Guidance. The guidelines do not establish the length of the induction period but states that teachers are considered to be “induction phase” until they successfully complete the district induction program.

Sources:

New Teacher Center, Review of State Policies on Teacher Induction

Georgia Department of Education, The Georgia Department of Education Teacher Induction Guidance

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 or mentoring support. Georgia’s Race to the Top grant requires the 26 participating school districts to develop and implement principal induction programs using The Georgia Department of Education Teacher Induction Guidance. The guidelines do not establish the length of the induction period but states that principals are considered to be “induction phase” until they successfully complete the district induction program.

Sources:

New Teacher Center, Review of State Policies on Teacher Induction

Georgia Department of Education, The Georgia Department of Education Teacher Induction Guidance


Teacher and Principal Professional Development Standards

Teacher Professional Development Standards

Does the state have professional development standards for teacher PD?

Georgia Standards for Professional Learning are built upon NSDC Standards for Staff Development. State education rules require local school districts to build a three-year professional learning plan into their school improvement plan and require the appointment of a professional learning coordinator and a professional learning advisory committee.

Sources:

Georgia Standards for Professional Learning Resource Guide (2005)

Rules and Regulations of the State Of Georgia, Georgia Department of Education, 160-3-3-.04

Principal Professional Development Standards

Does the state have professional development standards for leadership PD?

Georgia Standards for Professional Learning are built upon NSDC Standards for Staff Development. State education rules require local school districts to build a three-year professional learning plan into their school improvement plan and require the appointment of a professional learning coordinator and a professional learning advisory committee.

Sources:

Georgia Standards for Professional Learning Resource Guide (2005)

Rules and Regulations of the State Of Georgia, Georgia Department of Education, 160-3-3-.04

Information compiled and verified by New Teacher Center on behalf of the CEEDAR Center.