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).
Of note: The Arizona Professional Teaching Standards are used as the basis for various programs and projects. One example is the New Teacher Project, and the accompanying First Annual Arizona induction Symposium: Building a Culture of Induction in January 2022, a partnership between the Arizona Department of Education and Northern Arizona University’s Arizona K12 Center.
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.”
The Arizona Principal Supervisor Professional Standards are intended to provide Arizona Local Education Agencies with guidance in establishing the role and responsibilities of a principal supervisor, as well as guidance in principal supervisor development and professional learning.
Of note: The Arizona Professional Administrative Standards are used as the basis for various programs and projects. One example is the New Principal’s Academy (for more information, please see below). https://www.azed.gov/teach/principals-academy
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?
New special education certification requirements went into effect as of 2018. Special Education Endorsements began in 2020 and were amended in 2021.
On February 24, 2020, the Board of Education adopted new special education endorsements for teachers of students with mild/moderate and moderate/severe disabilities. The new endorsements will enable certified, experienced teachers to become qualified to teach special education without completing an additional teacher preparation program.
Certified teachers may apply for either a three-year, non-renewable provisional endorsement or a full endorsement in mild/moderate or moderate/severe disabilities special education.
Special Education Endorsements: Historical Note New Section made by final exempt rulemaking at 26 A.A.R. 595, effective February 24, 2020 (Supp. 20-1). Amended by final exempt rulemaking at 27 A.A.R. 743, effective April 26, 2021 (Supp. 21-2).
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.
The Arizona Teacher Proficiency Assessment is adopted as the proficiency assessment for applicants for teaching certificates. The Arizona Administrator Proficiency Assessment is adopted as the proficiency assessment for applicants for administrative certificates.
The subject knowledge portion of the Arizona Teacher Proficiency Assessment shall assess proficiency as described in R7- 2-602 related to the teacher’s knowledge of the certification subject area or areas.
The professional knowledge portion of the Arizona Teacher Proficiency Assessment shall assess proficiency as described in R7-2-602 related to the teacher’s pedagogical knowledge.
The Arizona Administrator Proficiency Assessment shall assess professional knowledge as described in R7-2-603 as a requirement for certification of administrators, supervisors, principals, and superintendents.
The passing score for each assessment shall be determined by the Board using the results of validity and reliability studies. The passing score for each assessment shall be reviewed by the Board at least every three years.
The proficiency assessments for professional knowledge and subject knowledge for a certificate, endorsement, or approved area shall be approved by the Board.
Alternative Teaching Certificate Exam requirements:
A passing score on the professional knowledge portion of the Arizona Teacher Proficiency Assessment as applicable; c. A passing score on one or more subject knowledge portions of the Arizona Teacher Proficiency Assessment that corresponds to the Board approved alternative path to certification program in which the applicant is enrolled, unless the applicant has a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree in the corresponding content area.
Teacher Certification/Licensure – Requirements
Is professional development around working with special populations required to move from initial to a professional license?
New special education certification requirements went into effect as of 2018. Adoption of new certification requirements for each of the special education certificates (Mild/Moderate, Moderate/Severe, Visual Impairments Birth-Grade 12, Deaf/Hard of Hearing Birth-Grade 12) since August 2018 are noted in the links shared below.
Those certification requirements made prior to August 2018 still hold true for certificate holders who received certification prior to August 2018. With the passage of new state legislation, certificate holders will need to address the following “Allowable Deficiencies:”
If you otherwise qualify but are deficient in the Phonics, Dyslexia, and/or Ethics requirements, you have three years from the issuance of the certificate to fulfill these requirements. If you are unable to fulfill one or more of these requirements within the allowable timeframe, the certificate will be placed on a non-disciplinary suspension until the deficiency is corrected.
If you otherwise qualify but are deficient in the United States and/or Arizona Constitution requirements you have 1 or 3 years from the issuance of the certificate to fulfill these requirements. If you are unable to fulfill one or more of these requirements within the allowable timeframe, the certificate will be placed on a non-disciplinary suspension until the deficiency is corrected.
Alternative Teaching Certificate Requirements, includes Special Education certificates – The Alternative Teaching certificate is valid for two years and may be extended yearly for no more than two consecutive years. The certificate entitles the holder to enter into a teaching contract while completing the requirements for an Arizona Standard Professional teaching certificate. The candidate shall be enrolled in an Arizona State Board authorized alternative path to certification program, or an Arizona State Board approved teacher preparation program.
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?
The Standard Professional Administrative Certificate adheres to the Professional Administrative Standards, in addition to the other technical requirements listed in R7-2-616.
The requirements for all Administrative certificates are listed on the ADE Certificates & Requirements website.
Is mentoring required for all new teachers and for how many years? If so, do program guidelines/requirements specifically address teaching diverse learners?
New Mentoring and Induction Standards Approved by the State Board of Education on April 26, 2021: R7-2-602.01 Induction Program Standards for New Teachers.
B. The Arizona Teacher Induction Standards, and substantially similar programs developed by local education agencies, shall serve as the form and format of mentoring and retention programming for school districts, charter schools, the State Education System for Committed Youth, and the Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and the Blind who receive grant funds established pursuant to A.R.S. § 15-1281(D)(3). The Standards and programs developed by local education agencies shall require that the equivalent of one full-time mentor may be assigned to not more than fifteen new classroom teachers employed by the school district or charter school.
C. The Department shall:
Develop the induction program standards in consultation with state educators and experts in instruction and educator quality, success, and retention.
Present the induction program standards and the development process to the Board for review and approval.
D. The Board shall adopt the Arizona Teacher Induction Standards in a meeting following the presentation of the standards to the Board.
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.
Of note: ‘The Principals’ Academy, previously titled the Qualified Evaluator Academy, is designed to provide tools, strategies, and resources to not only assist evaluators in the observation and evaluation process but also improve and strengthen leadership and coaching techniques. The Principals’ Academy begins with sessions focusing on the evaluation process, including engaging in meaningful dialogue around effective instruction, resulting in increased student achievement and teacher retention. The other sessions focus on mid-year conferencing and the summative evaluation process, as well as addressing teacher retention, and improving school culture and climate. This Academy is for aspiring, new, and veteran principals, assistant principals, coaches, mentors, and other instructional leaders seeking to meet the criteria for being a qualified evaluator and improve their skills in the teacher evaluation process and as a school and workforce leader.
Completers of the Principals’ Academy will receive a certificate that will meet the criteria stated in ARS §15-537(F)(4) for qualified evaluators.
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.