A new PreK-2 special education license, a provisional school nurse license and options for licensed and experienced teachers to add special education and ESL licenses are proposed by DESE.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has proposed some new language that will fix some glitches in the academic teachers licensing system. Some. Not all.

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) voted to send a small set of licensure regulation amendments out to public comment at the April 2023 meeting. Public comment is due by June 2, 2023.

The full language of the proposed changes and the memo shared with BESE covers more details. If you need a primer on general license requirements we have some more information here.

Do these proposals reduce the requirements for a teaching license in Massachusetts?

No. Rather, three proposals impact educators who already hold a professional credentials.

– School nurses who already hold an valid RN license and have a passing score on the Communications and Literacy MTEL will qualify for the new Provisional license where they will have five years to complete four School Nurse training modules
– Teachers who already hold a license may apply for the Provisional special education license AFTER they have satisfied the Competency Review, passed all required MTELs have at least two years of experience modifying curriculum for students with disabilities.
– Teachers who already hold a license may apply for the Provisional English as a second language license AFTER they have passed the ESL MTEL.

Only teachers who already hold an Initial or Professional license in another field may advance these licenses to Initial/Professional with a 150-hour internship under DESE guidelines.

The result? More experienced teachers working with students in hard-to-staff roles rather than hiring inexperienced and unlicensed teachers on waivers.

Written comments may be submitted directly to DESE by June 2, 2023 via:

mail: Tonya Safford, Office of Educator Licensure, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, 75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148
fax: 781-338- 3391

Is this déjà vu all over again?

Sort of. This is the second round of changes to educator licensure regulations in 2023. The last round of changes was approved by BESE in February 2023. The approved changes apply to all new license applications going forward. Educators who hold “old” licenses issued prior to this date may continue to be employed under the existing license and advance/renew the license.

The February 2023 regulations created an elementary level Digital Literacy/Computer Science license, renamed some existing licenses and created a Provisional license to allow employment for School Principals who have not yet passed the assessment.

Licensure Basics

The general requirements for each license type (or stage) for Academic Teacher licenses issued under 603 CMR 7.00 are in the graphic below. You can use the DESE License Requirements tool to drill down on the specific requirements for each type/stage, field and grade level.

The Policy Minute is also home to the MTA educator licensure resources at www.thepolicyminute.com/cepplicensure.

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