Teaching Standards and Leadership Standards
Is working with and meeting the needs of students with disabilities addressed in state teaching standards?
While the Utah Effective Teaching Standards do not specifically address working with students with disabilities, they do state that teachers are expected to understand their students’ individual learning needs and differentiate instruction accordingly.
Standard 2: Learning Differences
The teacher understands individual learner differences and cultural and linguistic diversity. The teacher:
- Understands individual learner differences and holds high expectations of students
- Designs, adapts, and delivers instruction to address each student’s diverse learning strengths and needs.
- Allows students different ways to demonstrate learning sensitive to multiple experiences and diversity
Standard 6: Instructional Planning
The teacher plans instruction to support students in meeting rigorous learning goals by drawing upon knowledge of content areas, Utah Core Standards, instructional best practices, and the community context.
- The teacher differentiates instruction for individuals and groups of students by choosing appropriate strategies, accommodations, resources, materials, sequencing, technical tools, and demonstrations of learning.
Utah State Office of Education, Utah Effective Teaching Standards
Utah Administrative Code, R277-530-5
School Leadership Standards
Is knowledge of working with students with disabilities included in leader standards?
The Utah Educational Leadership Standards address the need of school leaders to support the instruction of students with disabilities and to facilitate the success of all students. The state has six leadership standards. A common disposition represented across all standards is the leader’s believe in, value of, and commitment to eliminating barriers to achievement.
Standard 1: Visionary Leadership
An educational leader promotes the success of every student by facilitating the development, articulation, implementation, and stewardship of a vision of learning that is shared and supported by all stakeholders. Dispositions represented in this standard include the leader’s believe in, value, and commitment to eliminating barriers to achievement, every student learning, and high expectations for students, staff and community. “Educational leaders are accountable to guide a process for developing and revising a shared vision, strong mission, and goals that are achievable for every student when provided with appropriate, effective learning opportunities.”
Standard 2: Teaching and Learning
An educational leader promotes the success of every student by advocating, nurturing and sustaining a school focused on teaching and learning conducive to student, faculty, and staff growth. Dispositions represented in this standards include the leader’s believe in, value, and commitment to eliminating barriers to achievement, every student learning, and high expectations for students, staff, and community. “Educational leaders are responsible for promoting a professional culture that targets learning opportunities to accomplish the vision, mission, and goals and differentiate appropriately to meet the needs of every student.
2B3. Provides and monitors effects of differentiated instructional strategies, curricular materials, educational technologies, and other resources appropriate to address diverse student populations, including students with disabilities, cultural and linguistic differences, gifted and talented, disadvantaged social economic backgrounds, or other factors affecting learning.
Utah State Office of Education, Utah Educational Leadership Standards
Utah Administrative Code, R277-530-6
Teacher and Principal Preparation
Teacher Preparation – Program Approval/Accreditation
Required course work in teaching students with disabilities/diverse learners
A basic requirement for state approval of teacher preparation programs is that it requires the study of “knowledge and skills designed to meet the needs of students with disabilities in the regular classroom” by all general education and special education teachers. This course of study must address: knowledge of disabilities; knowledge of the role of general education teachers in the education of students with disabilities; skills in assessing the educational needs and progress of students with disabilities in the regular education classroom; skills in the implementation of an educational program for students with disabilities in the regular classroom; and skills in monitoring student progress. Programs also must meet national NCATE standards.
Utah Administrative Code R277-503-6 and R277-504-6
NCATE, Standard 4: Professional Standards
Clinical time in diverse settings/teaching special populations
All programs or assessments used in teacher preparation shall meet national professional educator standards such as those developed by NCATE or TEAC. Otherwise, state policy requires a clinical experience for teacher candidates, but does not specify if that experience must include working with students with disabilities. In addition, state policy allows applicants to satisfy the clinical experience/student teaching requirement through other forms of teaching experience.
Source: Utah Administrative Code R277-504-6
Teacher Preparation – Accountability
Quality of teacher preparation programs
The state of Utah primarily uses an accreditation and monitoring process to govern the quality of educator preparation programs in adhering to state preparation program standards. Utah does not collect program-specific, objective data that reflect program performance or provide the public with indicators of program performance.
Utah Administrative Code, R277-502-3
National Council on Teacher Quality, 2012 State Teacher Policy Yearbook: Improving Teacher Preparation National Summary
Principal Preparation – Program Approval/Accreditation
Require course work in leading a school/district that serves students with disabilities/diverse learners
Utah program approval requirements for leadership preparation programs include coursework designed to ensure that the educator is able to meet the Utah Educational Leadership Standards. Utah Educational Leadership Standards specifically address the need to support the instruction of students with disabilities.
Applicants for a school administrator license also must complete an internship that consists of a minimum of 450 hours of supervised clinical experiences with a minimum of 200 of the required hours in a school setting which offers the opportunity of working with a properly licensed principal, students, faculty, classified employees, parents and patrons. The majority of the school-level supervised experience must occur during the regular school day in concentrated blocks of a minimum of three hours each when students are present. The applicant must be provided opportunities that focus on collaborating with families of diverse students and supporting ethics and fairness in the school setting.
Source: Utah Administrative Code, R277-502 and R277-505-4
Principal Preparation – Accountability
Are programs reviewed based on outcomes of graduates’ success? Can teachers be linked back to institutions of higher education and preparation programs?
The state of Utah primarily uses an accreditation and monitoring process to govern the quality of educator preparation programs in adhering to state preparation program standards. Our state policy review did not identify a state accountability system for school administrator preparation.
Source: Utah Administrative Code R277-502-3
Teacher and Principal Certification/Licensure
Teacher Certification/Licensure – Structure
Is a specific certificate, license or endorsement related to special education required?
The current structure now features a competency cased system for licensure and preparation that will provide greater flexibility for pathways to professional licensure for educators and local education agencies.”
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?
Educators are required to demonstrate competencies in both content and pedagogy for initial licensure. An examination is one way that an educator may demonstrate that competency, but it is not required for all license areas. One of the required areas of competency is working with diverse learners and MTSS implementation.
Teacher Certification/Licensure – Requirements
Is professional development around working with special populations required to move from initial to a professional license?
The new licensing structure has only professional level educator licenses. There is no longer a distinction between an initial and professional license.
State of Utah Office of Education, Early Years Enhancements
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?
Utah requires principal candidates to obtain a Master’s Degree, pass a school leadership assessment approved by the Superintendent and have a recommendation from a Board-approved school leadership preparation program pursuant to the process described in Rule R277-303 or holds a valid school leadership licensure in another jurisdiction under the NASDTEC interstate agreement.
R277-305: School Leadership License Areas of Concentration and Programs
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?
Utah requires that all beginning teachers have access to a trained mentor until they have a professional license and at least three years of experience as a teacher. A teacher induction guidebook was released in January 2021 and provides local education agencies with research-based recommendations around five critical areas of induction. Comprehensive professional learning modules to assist in preparing mentors for their role will be released statewide prior to the 2022-23 school year and include modules specifically designed to provide an overview of special education law and practices, including facilitating conversation around the role of the general education teacher in support IEP development and providing high quality instruction that personalizes learning based on learner uniqueness.
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 first-year school administrators to “complete a one school year mentoring experience established and supervised by the employing school district or charter school.” [Utah Administrative Code (UAC) Rule R277-505-4.C]
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?
State law defines professional learning as “a comprehensive, sustained, and evidence-based approach to improving teachers’ and principals’ effectiveness in raising student achievement.” It establishes the following standards for professional learning:
- Occurs within learning communities committed to continuous improvement, individual and collective responsibility, and goal alignment;
- Requires skillful leaders who develop capacity, advocate, and create support systems for professional learning;
- Requires prioritizing, monitoring, and coordinating resources for educator learning;
- Uses a variety of sources and types of student, educator, and system data to plan, assess, and evaluate professional learning;
- Integrates theories, research, and models of human learning to achieve its intended outcomes;
- Applies research on change and sustains support for implementation of professional learning for long-term change;
- Aligns its outcomes with:
a) Performance standards for teachers and school administrators; and
b) Performance standards for students as described in the state’s core curriculum standards; and
- Incorporates the use of technology in the design, implementation, and evaluation of high quality professional learning practices, and includes targeted professional learning on the use of technology devices to enhance the teaching and learning environment and the integration of technology in content delivery.
Source: Utah Code, Title 53A, Chapter 3, Section 701
Principal Professional Development Standards
Does the state have professional development standards for leadership PD?
See above section on Teacher Professional Development Standards.