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Rhode Island Policy Profile

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Rhode Island

Teaching Standards and Leadership Standards

Teaching Standards

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

The Rhode Island Professional Teaching Standards make several references to a teacher’s responsibility to ensure that all students achieve. Standard four specifically states that teachers must create instructional opportunities that address learning differences, including students with disabilities.

Standard 4: Teachers create instructional opportunities that reflect a respect for the diversity of learners and an understanding of how students differ in their approaches to learning. Teachers:

  • Design Instruction that accommodates individual differences in approaches to learning, including learning disability;
  • Seek information about the impact of students’ specific challenges to learning or disabilities on classroom performance, and work with specialists to develop alternative instructional strategies to meet the needs of these students where appropriate; and
  • Make appropriate accommodations and modifications for individual students who have identified learning differences or needs in an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP), 504 Accommodation Plan, Personal Literacy Plans (PLPs), or other approved school‐based individualized learning plans (ILPs)

Source: Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (RIDE), Rhode Island Professional Teaching Standards

School Leadership Standards

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

The Standards for Educational Leaders in Rhode Island, based on the Interstate Leadership Licensure Consortium (ISLLC) standards, articulate knowledge, skills, and dispositions for educators who assume leadership responsibilities. These standards state that, “education leaders ensure the success of each students.” Leaders are expected to “recognize that the students attending Rhode Island schools have diverse learning needs and come from a variety of cultures and backgrounds.” While the standards make several references to “diverse” student needs, they do not specifically require knowledge of working with students with disabilities.

Source: RIDE, Standards for Educational Leadership in Rhode Island


Teacher and Principal Preparation

Teacher Preparation – Program Approval/Accreditation

Required course work in teaching students with disabilities/diverse learners

The Rhode Island Standards for Educator Preparation (2013) are comprised of five standards. Standard One: Professional Knowledge requires approved programs, through course work, to “ensure that candidates develop a deep understanding of the critical concepts, principles, and practices of their field and, by program completion, are able to use practices flexibly to advance the learning of all students toward college and career readiness by achieving Rhode Island student standards.” Element 1.1 – Knowledge, Skills, and Professional Dispositions specifically requires programs to “ensure that candidates demonstrate proficiency in the knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions encompassed in the Rhode Island Professional Teaching Standards.”

Source: RIDE, Rhode Island Standards for Educator Preparation (2013)

Clinical time in diverse settings/teaching special populations

The Rhode Island Standards for Educator Preparation – Standard Two: Clinical Partnerships and Practice – articulates that “high-quality clinical practice and effective partnerships are central to preparation so that candidates develop the knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions necessary to demonstrate positive impact on PK-12 students’ learning and development.” In addition, the state’s educator certification regulations require a 300-hour internship. In neither the Standards or regulations, however, does a specific requirement exist regarding participation in a clinical setting that includes students with disabilities.

Sources:

RIDE, Rhode Island Standards for Educator Preparation (2013)

RIDE, Regulations Governing the Certification of Educators in Rhode Island

Teacher Preparation – Accountability

Quality of teacher preparation programs

In 2013 Rhode Island adopted Standards for Educator Preparation that require approved programs to produce effective educators, based on evaluation performance. Candidates must “demonstrate a positive impact on student learning on all applicable measures and demonstrate strong ratings on measures of professional practice and responsibilities.”

In December 2014, RIDE posted its initial Education Preparation Program Index that provides data on trends in employment, retention, and effectiveness of the newly prepared teachers from 9 of the educator-preparation programs approved by RIDE. The reports provide information on those who completed preparation programs in each of the past three school years (2011-12, 2012-13, and 2013-14). There is a report for each of the 9 programs and another for Rhode Island as a whole.

The Performance Review for Education Preparation – Rhode Island (PREP-RI) provides a structure for reviewing programs to determine if a provider or prospective provider is offering a high-quality program that meets the RI Standards for Educator Preparation. PREP-RI is designed to meet three goals: (1) Assess performance of individual programs; (2) Assess aggregate quality of educator preparation providers; and (3) Provide meaningful feedback to programs and providers.

Sources:

RIDE, Rhode Island Standards for Educator Preparation (2013)

RIDE, Performance Review for Educator Preparation-Rhode Island

Principal Preparation – Program Approval/Accreditation

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

The Rhode Island Standards for Educator Preparation (2013) are comprised of five standards. Standard One: Professional Knowledge requires approved programs, through course work, to “ensure that candidates develop a deep understanding of the critical concepts, principles, and practices of their field and, by program completion, are able to use practices flexibly to advance the learning of all students toward college and career readiness by achieving Rhode Island student standards.” Element 1.1 – Knowledge, Skills, and Professional Dispositions specifically requires programs to “ensure that candidates demonstrate proficiency in the knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions encompassed in the Standards for Educational Leaders in Rhode Island.”

Source: RIDE, Rhode Island Standards for Educator Preparation (2013)

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?

In 2013 Rhode Island adopted Standards for Educator Preparation that require approved programs to produce effective educators, based on evaluation performance. Candidates must “demonstrate a positive impact on student learning on all applicable measures and demonstrate strong ratings on measures of professional practice and responsibilities.”

In December 2014, RIDE posted its initial Education Preparation Program Index that provides data on trends in employment, retention, and effectiveness of the newly prepared principals and school administrators from the 9 approved educator-preparation programs. The reports provide information on those who completed preparation programs in each of the past three school years. There is a report for each program and another for the state as a whole.

PREP-RI provides a structure for reviewing programs to determine if a provider or prospective provider is offering a high-quality program that meets the RI Standards for Educator Preparation. PREP-RI is designed to meet three goals: (1) Assess performance of individual programs; (2) Assess aggregate quality of educator preparation providers; and (3) Provide meaningful feedback to programs and providers.

Sources:

RIDE, Rhode Island Standards for Educator Preparation (2013)

RIDE, Performance Review for Educator Preparation-Rhode Island


Teacher and Principal Certification/Licensure

Teacher Certification/Licensure – Structure

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

Rhode Island does not offer a K-12 special education certification. Beginning in January 2015, all special education candidates must hold a general education certification at a specific grade level to receive the corresponding special education certification. Candidates applying for the elementary (1-6) special education certificate must pass the same elementary content test as is required of the general education elementary teachers. Although middle grades (5-8) special education candidates must also earn a general education certification, the state allows teachers with certification in elementary education or elementary special education to teach the middle grades without adding the specific middle grades special education certification area. Candidates applying for the secondary grades (7-12) special education certificate must hold certification in one of the following areas: agriculture, biology, business education, chemistry, English, general science, math, physics or social studies.

Source: National Council on Teacher Quality, 2013 State Teacher Policy Yearbook: Improving Teacher Preparation in Rhode Island

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?

Individuals applying for a teacher certificate in Rhode Island must pass The Praxis II tests for each area of certification. The Principles of Learning and Teaching test is required for early childhood, elementary, and secondary as well as school nurses, special subjects and special education.

Source: ETS, Rhode Island Test Requirements

Teacher Certification/Licensure – Requirements

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

Our state policy analysis did not identify required professional development on working with special student populations for teachers to move from an initial to a professional license. However, for certification purposes, all teachers in Rhode Island must demonstrate that they meet the Professional Competencies of the Rhode Island Professional Teaching Standards (RIPTS). Standard 4 specifically requires teachers to create instructional opportunities that respect diversity, including learning disabilities.

Sources:

RIDE, Teacher Certification Requirements

RIDE, Rhode Island Professional Teaching Standards

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?

Certification requires: an advanced degree (except for school business manager); completion of an approved educator preparation program that assures completers demonstrate the competencies within the certification field prescribed by the appropriate professional association; field experience that includes a 300 hour internship for building level administrators; and passing scores on any knowledge of field testing required for the certification area.

Building-Level Administrators: Candidates must: have completed an approved program in this certification area; hold an advanced degree from a regionally accredited institution; have completed a minimum of a 300 hour internship in this area; have three years of PK‐12 professional education experience; have demonstrated the professional competencies of the Rhode Island Standards for Educational Leadership (RISEL) with an emphasis on the content required of a building level administrator; have demonstrated content competencies as prescribed by the National Policy Board for Educational Administration (NPBEA); and have met all knowledge of field testing requirements for this certification area.

District-Level Administrators: Candidates must: hold certification as Building Level Administrator; have completed an approved program in this certification area; hold an advanced degree from a regionally accredited institution; have demonstrated the professional competencies of the Rhode Island Standards for Educational Leadership (RISEL) with an emphasis on the content required of a district level curriculum, instruction, and assessment administrator; have demonstrated content competencies as prescribed by the National Policy Board for Educational Administration (NPBEA); and have met all knowledge of field testing requirements for this certification area.

Superintendents: Candidates must: have completed an approved program in this certification area; hold an advanced degree from a regionally accredited institution; hold a building-level administrator certificate or have significant leadership experience in organizations other than schools; have demonstrated the professional competencies of the RISEL with an emphasis on the content required of a superintendent of schools; have demonstrated content competencies as prescribed by the NPBEA; and have met all knowledge of field testing requirements for this certification area.

Source: RIDE, Regulations Governing the Certification of Educators in Rhode Island


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 school district strategic plans to “include a process for mentoring of new teachers,” but does not stipulate the number of years mentor support must be offered. The state’s basic education program law also requires LEAs to “provide differentiated support to all staff. These supports shall include induction programs to support the developing proficiencies for new staff and staff serving in new assignments.” In practice, Rhode Island mentoring programs vary in length, some serving only first-year teachers and others serving new teachers through their third year in the profession. [Rhode Island General Laws (RIGL) § 16-7.1-2(b.5)] Rhode Island also has operated a beginning teacher induction program through its Race to the Top grant.

Sources:

New Teacher Center, Review of State Policies on Teacher Induction

Rhode Island Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education, Basic Education Program Regulations

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 new school administrators to receive induction 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 Rhode Island Department of Education encourages educators to use the Rhode Island Professional Teaching Standards (RIPTS) to help identify areas of professional growth. Local stakeholders use the RIPTS to inform induction, mentoring, professional development and evaluation and to create a comprehensive system of expectations and supports for improving teacher practice. Stakeholders must create professional development opportunities that equip teachers to meet these standards.

Source: RIDE, Rhode Island Professional Teaching Standards

Principal Professional Development Standards

Does the state have professional development standards for leadership PD?

The Rhode Island Standards‐based System Of Leadership Performance helps to ensure that leaders’ professional development opportunities are guided by the Standards for Educational Leaders in Rhode Island. The state department of education, institutions of higher education, districts, and other professional organizations collaborate to offer professional development opportunities to leaders that are designed to engage leaders in ways that will bring about new knowledge and skills that address specific standards within the context of their schools and districts.

Standards For Educational Leaders define the knowledge and skills expected from leaders and help direct the professional development opportunities in which school leaders engage as well as the performances on which leaders are evaluated. Rhode Island recognizes that the challenges facing leaders are always evolving and changing; likewise, leaders’ professional growth must be continuous throughout their careers.

Source: RIDE, Standards for Educational Leadership in Rhode Island