Teaching Standards and Leadership Standards
Is working with and meeting the needs of students with disabilities addressed in state teaching standards?
The Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) adopted the 2011 Model Core Teaching Standards developed by the Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC). The new Arkansas Teaching Standards consist of ten standards, each supported by Performance Criteria and outlined Essential Knowledge and Critical Dispositions. Several of the performance criteria, knowledge and dispositions specifically outline the expectation that teachers have the knowledge and skills to support the learning needs of students with disabilities.
Standard 2: Learning Differences. The teacher uses understanding of individual differences and diverse cultures/communities to ensure inclusive learning environments that enable each learner to meet high standards.
- The teacher 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; .
- The teacher accesses resources, supports, and specialized assistance and services to meet particular learning differences or needs.
- The teacher 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.
- The teacher 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.
- The teacher 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 how to achieve each student’s learning goals, choosing appropriate strategies and accommodations, resources, and materials to differentiate instruction for individuals and groups of learners;
- The teacher plans collaboratively with professionals who have specialized expertise (e.g., special educators, related service providers, language learning specialists, librarians, media specialists) to design and jointly deliver as appropriate learning experiences to meet unique learning needs.
- The teacher knows when and how to access resources and collaborate with others to support student learning (e.g., special educators, related service providers, language learner specialists, librarians, media specialists, community organizations).
Standard 8: Instructional strategies. The teacher understands and uses a variety of instructional strategies to encourage learners to develop deep understanding of content areas and their connections, and to build skills to apply knowledge in meaningful ways.
- The teacher is committed to deepening awareness and understanding the strengths and needs of diverse learners when planning and adjusting instruction.
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 laws related to learners’ rights and teacher responsibilities (e.g., for educational equity, appropriate education for learners with disabilities, confidentiality, privacy, appropriate treatment of learners, reporting in situations related to possible child abuse).
In addition to the Arkansas Teaching Standards, ADE has developed content area competencies that describe what an educator should know and be able to do in a particular license area. The competencies for Special Education are divided into two grade levels:
- Early Childhood/Special Education Integrated Birth-Kindergarten
- Special Education Grades K-12
The Teacher Excellence and Support System (TESS) supports high-quality classroom instruction and high-quality instructional leadership. TESS promotes an evaluation system that ensures effective teaching and promotes professional learning. The evaluation system includes a framework that uses a four-tier performance rating, rubrics, and descriptors for the 20 components that follow the Danielson Framework. Addressing the needs of students with disabilities is covered in Domain 1 in 1B (Demonstrating knowledge of students). In order for a teacher to score “distinguished,” the teacher actively seeks knowledge of students’ levels of development and their backgrounds, cultures, skills, language proficiency, interests, and special needs from a variety of sources. Students with disabilities also are addressed in Domain 2 in 2E (Organizing physical space). A teacher can score “distinguished” if he/she ensures the classroom is safe, and learning is accessible to all students, including those with special needs.
Arkansas Department of Education, Arkansas Teaching Standards
Arkansas Department of Education, Educator Competencies
Arkansas Department of Education
School Leadership Standards
Is knowledge of working with students with disabilities included in leader standards?
The Standards for School Administrators in Arkansas based on the 2008 Standards for School Leaders developed by the Interstate School Licensure Consortium (ISLLC) do not specifically address required knowledge of working with students with disabilities. However, the standards do hold education leaders accountable for promoting the success of every student.
The Leader Excellence and Development System (LEADS) is the state’s principal evaluation system. It includes a framework that uses a four-tier performance rating, rubrics, and descriptors for each of the ISLLC standards.
In order for an education leader to obtain a proficient for Standard 2C (Create a personalized and motivating learning environment for students and promotes the success of every student), he/she must ensure the use of educational technologies and other appropriate resources to address learning needs of diverse student populations (including students with disabilities; cultural or linguistic differences; gifted and talented; or students from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds).
Arkansas Department of Education, Standards for School Administrators in Arkansas
Arkansas Department of Education, Educator Effectiveness
Arkansas Department of Education, Principal Rubric
Teacher and Principal Preparation
Teacher Preparation – Program Approval/Accreditation
Required course work in teaching students with disabilities/diverse learners
The state defers to the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and its affiliates’ standards. Beginning in fall 2014, the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) standards will replace the NCATE standards for unit accreditation. The state will not totally defer to CAEP affiliates’ standards for programs, but it will continue to require teacher training programs for special education licensure to comply with Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) standards.
The target for adhering to NCATE Standard 4 (Diversity) is curriculum, field experiences, and clinical practice that promote candidates’ development of knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions related to diversity identified in the unit’s conceptual framework. They are based on well-developed knowledge bases for, and conceptualizations of, diversity and inclusion so that candidates can apply them effectively in schools. Candidates learn to contextualize teaching and draw effectively on representations from the students’ own experiences and cultures. They challenge students toward cognitive complexity and engage all students, including English language learners and students with exceptionalities, through instructional conversation. Candidates and faculty regularly review candidate assessment data on candidates’ ability to work with all students and develop a plan for improving their practice and the institution’s programs.
Source: NCATE Unit Standards in Effect
Clinical time in diverse settings/teaching special populations
The state defers to NCATE and its affiliates’ standards.
NCATE Standard 3: Field Experiences and Clinical Practice
The unit and its school partners design, implement, and evaluate field experiences and clinical practice so that teacher candidates and other school personnel develop and demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to help all students learn.
NCATE Standard 4: Diversity
Curriculum, field experiences, and clinical practice promote candidates’ development of knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions related to diversity identified in the unit’s conceptual framework. They are based on well-developed knowledge bases for, and conceptualizations of, diversity and inclusion so that candidates can apply them effectively in schools. Candidates learn to contextualize teaching and draw effectively on representations from the students’ own experiences and cultures. They challenge students toward cognitive complexity and engage all students, including students with exceptionalities, through instructional conversation. Candidates and faculty regularly review candidate assessment data on candidates’ ability to work with all students and develop a plan for improving their practice.
Source: NCATE Unit Standards in Effect
Teacher Preparation – Accountability
Quality of teacher preparation programs
The Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) is working collaboratively with the institutions of higher education to improve the quality of the state’s educator preparation programs by publishing Educator Preparation Performance Reports on the ADE website. The inaugural report (May 2014) serves as the format for data reporting and as a baseline for future data analysis. Metrics include licensure exam pass rates, required credit hours, novice teacher survey results, program requirements, enrollment data, and information on program completers. Future reports will include recruitment and retention data, employer survey results, and teacher links to student growth measures.
Source: Educator Preparation Performance Reports (2014)
Principal Preparation – Program Approval/Accreditation
Required course work in leading a school/district that serves students with disabilities/diverse learners
The state does not require coursework for aspiring administrators in leading a school/district that serves students with disabilities/diverse learners. The Arkansas State Board of Education adopted the revised ISLLC standards in 2009. The standards plays a role in shaping preparation programs by establishing performance expectations and aiding/facilitating curriculum development, candidate assessment, and accountability. They do establish the expectation that administrators will promote the success of all students.
Educational Leadership Policy Standards: ISLLC 2008,
Arkansas Department of Education, Beginning Administrator Program
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?
Our state policy review suggests that Arkansas has not developed a system for school administrator preparation program accountability.
Teacher and Principal Certification/Licensure
Teacher Certification/Licensure – Structure
Is a specific certificate, license or endorsement related to special education required?
Currently, Arkansas offers P-4 and 5-12 special-education licenses. The state will offer a K-12 special education certification, beginning in the fall of 2014. This certification will be offered both as an initial license and continue to be offered as an endorsement to a current teaching license. The endorsement will continue to require a program of study with the appropriate subject-matter test for K-12. By fall 2015, all educators will meet the new licensure requirements.
National Council on Teacher Quality, 2012 State Teacher Policy Yearbook: Improving Teacher Preparation in Arkansas,
Arkansas Department of Education, Office of Educator Licensure Rules December 2013
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?
Candidates for an Arkansas educator license are required to pass the State Board of Education (SBE) mandated basic skills test, a content test, and a grade-level pedagogy test or a World Language pedagogy test. The grade-level pedagogy tests and the World Language pedagogy test include teaching diverse learners or special populations. First-time licensure applicants and educatorsadding areas to a current license must provide evidence of successful completion of the SBE mandated content test for each licensure area.
Source: Email communication with Arkansas Department of Education, 6/30/2014.
Teacher Certification/Licensure – Requirements
Is professional development around working with special populations required to move from initial to a professional license?
Arkansas does not have a tiered teacher licensure system. However, Arkansas will require Dyslexia Awareness professional development beginning in fall 2014 as a requirement for obtaining a standard license.
Source: Arkansas Department of Education
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?
Arkansas requires candidates to obtain a master’s degree, have prior teaching experience, complete a state-approved preparation program, and pass a test.
Principals: Candidates must hold a current standard teaching license and have a minimum of four years teaching experience (at least three of the four years teaching experience must be at the level at which the candidate is seeking licensure). Candidates must also hold a graduate degree from a regionally and/or NCATE accredited college or university and complete the appropriate program of study (inclusive of an internship and a portfolio). Candidates must participate in induction and successfully complete the state-mandated licensure assessment.
Superintendents: Candidates must hold a current standard teaching license, have at least four years teaching experience and hold a current standard building level or curriculum/program administrator license with at least one year of experience as a building-level or curriculum/ program administrator. Candidates must also have or complete an advanced degree, or complete an advanced program of study (both inclusive of an internship and portfolio) from a regionally and/or NCATE accredited college or university and successfully complete the state-mandated licensure assessment.
Education Commission of the States, Administrator License Requirements,
Arkansas Department of Education, Rules Governing Educator Licensure,
George W. Bush Institute, Operating in the Dark
Teacher and Principal Induction
Is mentoring required for all new teachers and for how many years? If so, do program guidelines/requirements specifically address teaching diverse learners?
Arkansas requires all new teachers to receive induction support for a minimum of one year. Alternatively certified teachers (those who enter the profession through non-traditional routes) are mentored for two years, and not more than three years. Each new teacher completes 16 interactive mentoring modules. Of the 16 modules, the following address diverse learners:
- Demonstrating Knowledge of Students
- Differentiated Instruction
- Teaching Students with Exceptionalities
- Universal Design for Learning
All teacher mentors must be certified by attending required mentor training. Administrators must recommend teachers to attend the mentor training, and those recommended must meet the following qualifications:
- A current Arkansas Teacher License, unless the requirement for a teaching license is waived by law or in the charter of a public charter school;
- A minimum of three years of classroom teaching experience as the Teacher of Record;
- Training in the Danielson Framework for Teaching; and
- A rating as a proficient teacher or the equivalent thereof.
Certified mentors are paid a mentoring stipend of $600 per semester, or $1200 per year.
New Teacher Center, Review of State Policies on Teacher Induction,
Email communication with Arkansas Department of Education, 6/30/2014.
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 requires all new school administrators – Building Level Administrators, Arkansas Correctional School Administrators, and Curriculum Program Administrators – who hold a Standard Administrator License to participate in induction for a minimum of one year. Those who are on an Administrator Licensure Completion Plan (ALCP) are required to participate in induction for a minimum of one year, and up to three years, until the ALCP is completed. Required induction program elements include: (1) Attending the state-mandated training for beginning administrators; (2) Having an assigned state-trained mentor for a minimum of one year; and (3) Successfully completing the state-mandated assessment.
A beginning administrator mentor must have comparable experience in the beginning administrator’s licensed area. Every beginning administrator must complete a minimum of four modules of their choice. A majority of beginning administrators choose the Section 504 What You Need to Know module. Other modules available include Special Education Due Process, Special Education Co-Teaching, Special Education 101, Special Education the First 100 Days, and Section 504 the Next Steps.
The state also supports a superintendent mentoring program, which is led by the state’s association for educational administrators. The Arkansas Department of Education provides financial support for the program.
New Teacher Center, Review of State Policies on Teacher Induction,
Arkansas Department of Education, Beginning Administrator Program,
Arkansas Association of Educational Administrators, AASA Mentoring Program
Teacher and Principal Professional Development Standards
Teacher Professional Development Standards
Does the state have professional development standards for teacher PD?
All professional development programs must be approved by the Arkansas Department of Education. Licensed educators in Arkansas must obtain 60 hours of professional development each year to renew their teaching license. Required professional development is based on the Rules for Professional Development. The sixty hours of required professional development for teachers must include training in technology, Arkansas history, and parent involvement.
Source: Arkansas Department of Education, Rules for Professional Development
Principal Professional Development Standards
Does the state have professional development standards for leadership PD?
All professional development programs must be approved by the Arkansas Department of Education. Administrators must obtain 60 hours of professional development each year. Required professional development is based on the Rules for Professional Development. The 60 hours of required professional development for administrators must include training in data disaggregation, instructional leadership, and fiscal management.
Source: Arkansas Department of Education, Rules for Professional Development
Information compiled and verified by New Teacher Center on behalf of the CEEDAR Center.