Certification, Tenure, Evaluations, and National Board Certification during Coronavirus

To download a pdf version of an older version of this page, click here. This pdf will be updated.

Note: MSEA and its legal team are monitoring this and all issues around certification, tenure, and evaluations and will be updating members as we learn more. President Cheryl Bost has sent a letter requesting waivers and other considerations on these issues. On April 8, President Bost sent an additional letter to Superintendent Salmon and the State Board requesting clarification and details on a number of issues covered in this page.

Will MSDE waive current requirements for earning a Maryland certificate, especially for those with conditional certification for the 2019-2020 school year?

Conditional certificates are issued for a period of two years and may be renewed once assuming the teacher passed PRAXIS I in the first two years and completed certain course requirements.

MSEA has been actively advocating on the behalf of educators for waivers to the certification process. At their April 28 meeting, the Maryland State Board of Education approved an emergency certificate for current conditionally certified teachers and teacher candidates. Conditionally certificated teachers are eligible for the emergency certificate at the request of the local superintendent, which provides for a six-month waiver from the time that the state of emergency is lifted to completed required assessments (Praxis). Educators in this situation are still required to complete all other coursework requirements. This waiver does not impact other certification types and their specific renewal requirements. The waiver was approved by the Administrative, Executive, and Legislative Review (AELR) Committee, and is effective from May 26, 2020 until November 20, 2020.

Will MSDE waive current requirements for maintaining a Maryland certificate for 2019-2020 school year?

Many members who are taking course work are concerned about the shutdown of colleges and universities and their ability to get the requirements they need before the deadline. 

Because certificates expire either July 1 or January 1, we understand that the concern is particularly worrisome for those who have a certificate expiring July 1, 2020. To date, the State Board of Education has acted on assessment requirements for conditionally certified teachers and teacher candidates as explained in the previous question. Under the governor’s executive order all other deadlines, including certification, will only be extended 30 days beyond the date that the state of emergency is lifted.

All educators are encouraged to complete their coursework needed to advance or renew certification. Remember to go through the course approval process set forth by your district to obtain tuition reimbursement and course credit.

Will MSDE waive current requirements for incoming teachers?

As of April 14, the State Board approved three student intern options for schools of education to choose to qualify all graduates in education. Colleges and universities should convey the option selected to all seniors.

MSEA advocated for a waiver for testing requirements since testing centers are closed. As of April 28, the Maryland State Board of Education approved a six-month waiver from the time that the state of emergency is lifted to complete required assessments (Praxis) and clinical experience requirements. Education graduates are encouraged to seek interviews and employment in Maryland and will not be held back waiting to take the Praxis. We are happy to advocate for our aspiring educators and hope you will join our Maryland workforce.

What about the process and timeline for non-renewals of non-tenured teachers?

At the April 14 State Board meeting, the board approved an extension to timelines for non-renewals. The May 1 deadline for written notice of non-renewals of probationary, certificated employees hired before January 1 was extended to June 15 for probationary teachers. For those probationary, certificated teachers hired after January 1, the non-renewal notification deadline was extended to July 29. MSDE officials stated that most teachers have already been notified of non-renewal and districts will make every effort to meet the current deadlines. Those who have yet to be notified and get notified in the coming weeks should contact their UniServ director to make certain all procedures were followed. 

How will school closures affect tenure status if final evaluations are not completed?

Evaluations are not tied, contractually, to granting of tenure for a new teacher during their three-year probationary period.

But the evaluation does impact the ability of a previously tenured teacher who transferred to another county for the 2019-20 school year. They must meet performance expectations to achieve tenure after the first year of employment in the new county in order to be granted tenure—but that probationary period may be extended for a second year if the employee does not qualify for tenure after the first year based on an evaluation. It is unclear how local school system will handle these individuals.

MSEA advocated for the student growth portion of evaluations to be waived and as of April 28 the Maryland State Board of Education approved a waiver of student growth measures as part of evaluations for the 2019-20 school year. If teachers have already completed all components, we encourage you to work with your principal to complete your evaluation for the year. If teachers have questions about assistance plans, professional practice items, or other observation/evaluation portions, contact your local association.

As the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) is investigating solutions for National Board candidates unable to complete portfolio or the testing component, will MSDE align with NBPTS for funding waivers?

For ongoing updates from NBPTS, please click on this link to go to their site.

The following is from the NBPTS, as of 3/31/2020:

For Candidates Pursuing National Board Certification:

Deadline Extensions

  • If you are completing Components 2, 3, and/or 4, we have extended the ePortfolio submission deadline to June 12. We will open the submission window on April 1 as planned.  
  • If you are completing Component 1: Content Knowledge and have an appointment scheduled, no additional action is required of you at this time and you may test as planned. If your appointment was cancelled due to a testing site closure and you have been unable to schedule a new appointment or were unable to schedule an appointment prior to the site closures, we are working to provide additional testing capacity. Please continue to monitor emails for updates.

Option for Deferral 

We understand there are circumstances that may make it impossible for you to meet the extended deadline(s). Deferral options will be available for any candidate who needs one. More information about deferral options will be shared as soon as possible including how to take action if you need to request a deferral. 

Registration for our next candidate cycle, which corresponds to the 2020-21 school year and was originally scheduled to open April 15, will be delayed. A revised date will be announced as soon as possible.

Clarification on Portfolio Submission Requirements and Forms

In light of the unique instructional situations that so many candidates are experiencing, we are reviewing the portfolio submission requirements for the student work, videos, and evidence candidates must provide. 

We must ensure that any changes will uphold the quality standards that you and the teaching profession demand. We are convening our Technical Advisory Group (TAG) – an advisory board that provides guidance on best practices related to validity, reliability, accuracy, and fairness – to review potential changes and provide this assurance. As always, every aspect of the governance of National Board Certification is by teachers, for teachers. 

More details will be made available. In the meantime, you can read clarifications on portfolio submission requirements and forms online. We will post additional guidance as it becomes available.

National Board’s Resources and Upcoming Webinar

The National Board has created a dedicated page addressing the COVID-19 situation, highlighting recent announcements as well as virtual events, resources, and supports for teachers. The transition to virtual learning -- including learning some of the many available tools -- is a challenge. We are committed to providing support for this transition, especially in the context of the Board certification. See here for a full list of previous and upcoming webinars. 

Notably, on Thursday, April 2 at 4:30pm ET, we will host a webinar specifically for candidates that will be delivered by expert candidate support providers. Free registration required -- or watch on Facebook Live. All replay materials will also be published here. We encourage you to share this information with colleagues -- even if they are not engaged in the National Board process.

For National Board Renewal Candidates:

Update on Dates and Deadlines The ePortfolio submission window will open on April 1 as planned and has been extended to  June 12, 2020.   

Option for Deferral  We understand there are circumstances that may make it impossible for you to meet the extended deadline. Deferral options will be available for any candidate who needs one. More information about deferral options for completing the 10-year Renewal process will be shared as soon as possible, including how to take action if you need to request a deferral. 

Clarification on PPG Submission Requirements and Forms In light of the unique instructional situations that so many teachers are experiencing, we are reviewing the PPG submission requirements for the evidence that must be provided. 

We must ensure that any changes will uphold the quality standards that you and the teaching profession demand. We are convening our Technical Advisory Group (TAG) – an advisory board that provides guidance on best practices related to validity, reliability, accuracy, and fairness – to review potential changes and provide this assurance. As always, every aspect of the governance of National Board Certification is by teachers, for teachers. 

More details will be made available. In the meantime, you can read clarifications on portfolio submission requirements and forms online. We will post additional guidance as it becomes available.

National Board’s Resources and Upcoming Webinar The National Board has created a dedicated page addressing the COVID-19 situation, highlighting recent announcements as well as virtual events, resources, and supports for teachers. The transition to virtual learning -- including learning some of the many available tools -- is a challenge. We are committed to providing support for this transition, especially in the context of the Board certification. See here for a full list of previous and upcoming webinars. 

Notably, on Thursday, April 2 at 4:30pm ET, we will host a webinar specifically for first time and Renewal candidates that will be delivered by expert candidate support providers. Free registration required–or watch on Facebook Live. All replay materials will also be published here. We encourage you to share this information with colleagues -- even if they are not engaged in the National Board process.

If you have specific questions, please contact your local association.

Events

Summer Leadership Conference

July 14, 2020 - 10:00am to July 15, 2020 - 4:00pm

MSEA Convention

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