Is working with and meeting the needs of students with disabilities addressed in state teaching standards?
Arizona’s Professional Teaching Standards form the basis for approved teacher preparation programs and the Arizona Teacher Proficiency Assessment. They specifically address the expectation that teachers have the knowledge and skills to effectively teach and meet the needs of students with disabilities. For example:
Standard 2. Learning Differences: The teacher uses understanding of individual differences and diverse cultures and communities to ensure inclusive learning environments that enable each learner to meet high standards. The teacher:
Designs, adapts, and delivers instruction to address each student’s diverse learning strengths and needs and creates opportunities for students to demonstrate their learning in different ways.
Makes appropriate and timely provisions (e.g., pacing for individual rates of growth, task demands, communication, assessment, and response modes) for individual students with particular learning differences or needs.
Accesses resources, supports, and specialized assistance and services to meet particular learning differences or needs.
Understands students with exceptional needs, including those associated with disabilities and giftedness, and knows how to use strategies and resources to address these needs.
Standard 6. Assessment: The teacher understands and uses multiple methods of assessment to engage learners in their own growth, to monitor learner progress, and to guide the teacher’s and learner’s decision making. The teacher:
Prepares all learners for the demands of particular assessment formats and makes appropriate accommodations in assessments or testing conditions, especially for learners with disabilities and language learning needs.
Understands how to prepare learners for assessments and how to make accommodations in assessments and testing conditions, especially for learners with disabilities and language learning needs.
Is committed to making accommodations in assessments and testing conditions, especially for learners with disabilities and language learning needs.
Standard 7. Planning for Instruction: The teacher plans instruction that supports every student in meeting rigorous learning goals by drawing upon knowledge of content areas, curriculum, cross-disciplinary skills, and pedagogy, as well as knowledge of learners and the community context. The teacher:
Plans collaboratively with professionals who have specialized expertise (e.g., special educators) to design and jointly deliver as appropriate learning experiences to meet unique learning needs.
Knows when and how to access resources and collaborate with others to support student learning (e.g., special educators).
Standard 9. Professional Learning and Ethical Practice: The teacher engages in ongoing professional learning and uses evidence to continually evaluate his/her practice, particularly the effects of his/her choices and actions on others (learners, families, other professionals, and the community), and adapts practice to meet the needs of each learner. The teacher:
Understands and adheres to laws related to learners’ rights and teacher responsibilities (e.g., appropriate education for learners with disabilities).
Is knowledge of working with students with disabilities included in leader standards?
Arizona’s Professional Administrative Standards form the basis for approved administrative preparation programs. The Arizona Administrator Proficiency Assessment assesses proficiency in the standards as a requirement for the certification of supervisors, principals, and superintendents. They do not specifically address students with disabilities, but establish the expectation that school administrators will “promote the success of every student.”
Teacher Preparation – Program Approval/Accreditation
Required course work in teaching students with disabilities/diverse learners
Teacher preparation programs must provide training in Arizona’s Professional Teaching Standards, must align with national preparation standards (including CEC, InTASC and NCATE), and must adhere to the State Board of Education’s program approval procedures (A.A.C. R7-2-604.02).
Specific coursework requirements for Provisional Certificates are:
45 semester hours of education courses that teach the knowledge and skills articulated in state Professional Teaching Standards, including at least eight semester hours of practicum in grades 1 through 8.
R7-2-610. Secondary Teaching Certificates
30 semester hours of education courses that teach the knowledge and skills articulated in state Professional Teaching Standards, including at least eight semester hours of practicum in grades 7 through 12.
R7-2-611. Special Education Teaching Certificates
45 semester hours of education courses that teach state Professional Teaching Standards, including 21 semester hours of special education courses (survey of exceptional students; teaching methodologies and strategies for students with disabilities; foundations course in mild to moderate mental retardation, learning disability, emotional disabilities, and physical/health impairment; and diagnosis and assessment of mild disabilities) and 8 semester hours of practicum with students representing at least 3 of the 5 disability areas (mild to moderate mental retardation, emotional disability, specific learning disability, orthopedic impairments and other health impairments).
Clinical time in diverse settings/teaching special populations
Arizona teacher preparation programs must provide candidates:
Field experience: A scheduled, directed experiences in a PreK-12 setting that occurs prior to the capstone experience. R7-2-604 (4)
Student teaching: A sustained period of rigorous field-based experiences performed under the supervision of a certified teacher and an institutional program supervisor. (The student teaching placement must be appropriate for the certification that the applicant is seeking.) R7-2-604 (12)
Capstone experience: A culminating professional experience in a PreK-12 setting. This experience may include student teaching, administrative internships, counseling practicum and internships, and school psychology internships. R7-2-604 (3)
There are no specific requirements in state rules with regard to the diversity of the settings where these experiences must occur.
Arizona collects some program-specific, objective data that reflect teacher preparation program performance, including satisfaction ratings from schools, evaluation results for program graduates and teacher retention rates. But the state does not report the data it collects at the program level to inform the public with meaningful, readily understandable indicators of how well programs are doing.
Principal Preparation – Program Approval/Accreditation
Require course work in leading a school/district that serves special education students/diverse learners
Requirements for a Principal Certificate do not outline specific requirements of course work in leading a school that serves special education students/diverse learners. However, principal candidates are required to complete a program in educational administration for principals, including at least 30 graduate semester hours of educational administration courses teaching the knowledge and skills described in the professional administrative Standards (R7-2-603) including those outlined above (under school leadership standards).
Are programs reviewed based on outcomes of graduates’ success? Can school principals be linked back to institutions of higher education and preparation programs?
Our state policy analysis did not identify a state accountability system for administrative preparation programs.
Teacher and Principal Certification/Licensure
Teacher Certification/Licensure – Structure
Is a specific certificate, license or endorsement related to special education required?
The state of Arizona does not distinguish between elementary and secondary special education teachers. It offers only an Early Childhood Special Education Certificate or a K-12 special education certification in these areas: Cross-Categorical, Specialized, Severely and Profoundly Disabled, Hearing Impaired, Visually Impaired.
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?
Elementary and secondary teachers must take the National Evaluation Series (NES) exam. Candidates must pass both the Professional Knowledge Exam to assess pedagogy and Subject Knowledge Exam to assess content competency.
Is professional development around working with special populations required to move from initial to a professional license?
Elementary and Secondary Certificates: Arizona offers three certification options. Option B requires “courses which teach the knowledge and skills described in” Arizona’s Professional Teaching Standards, which address the learning needs of students with disabilities.
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?
Arizona requires candidates to obtain a Master’s degree, requires prior teaching experience, requires completion of a state-approved prep program that addresses knowledge and skills articulated in state Professional Administrative Standards, and requires candidates to pass a test.
Principals: Candidates must have a master’s degree or more advanced degree and three years of verified teaching experience in grades PreK-12. Candidates must also complete a program in educational administration for principals (including at least 30 graduate semester hours of educational administration), a practicum as a principal or two years of verified experience as a principal or assistant principal in grades PreK-12 and pass the principal portion of the Arizona Administrator Proficiency Assessment. Candidates must also have an SEI endorsement or an ESL endorsement or a Bilingual Endorsement, and a valid fingerprint clearance card issued by the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
Superintendents: Candidates must have a master’s or more advanced degree (including at least 60 graduate semester hours) and complete a program in educational administration for superintendents (including at least 36 graduate semester hours of educational administrative courses). Candidates must also verify three years of teaching experience (or education-related services for superintendents) in grades PreK-12, complete a practicum as a superintendent or two years of verified experience as a superintendent, assistant superintendent, or associate superintendent in grades PreK-12 and pass the superintendent portion of the Arizona Administrator Proficiency Assessment. Candidates must also have an SEI endorsement or an ESL endorsement or a Bilingual endorsement; and a valid fingerprint clearance card issued by the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
Teacher and Principal Professional Development Standards
Teacher Professional Development Standards
Does the state have professional development standards for teacher PD?
In 2007, Arizona adopted the Standards for Professional Learning, developed by Learning Forward. These standards outline the characteristics of professional learning that leads to effective teaching practices, supportive leadership, and improved student results.
Source: Arizona Department of Education
Principal Professional Development Standards
Does the state have professional development standards for leadership PD?
The Standards for Professional Learning, adopted by the state in 2007, outline standards for leadership:
Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students requires skillful leaders who develop capacity, advocate, and create support systems for professional learning.
– Develop capacity for learning and leading – Leaders hold learning among their top priorities for students, staff, and themselves.
– Advocate for professional learning – Leaders clearly articulate the critical link between increased student learning and educator professional learning.
– Create support systems and structures – Skillful leaders establish organizational systems and structures that support effective professional learning and ongoing continuous improvement.
This website was produced under U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, Award No. H325A170003. David Guardino serves as the project officer. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the positions or polices of the U.S. Department of Education. No official endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education of any product, commodity, service, or enterprise mentioned in this website is intended or should be inferred.