eLaws of Florida

  SECTION 1012.56. Educator certification requirements.  


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  • 1(1) 2APPLICATION.3-4Each person seeking certification pursuant to this chapter shall submit a completed application containing the applicant’s social security number to the Department of Education and remit the fee required pursuant to s. 361012.59 37and rules of the State Board of Education. Pursuant to the federal Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, each party is required to provide his or her social security number in accordance with this section. Disclosure of social security numbers obtained through this requirement is limited to the purpose of administration of the Title IV-D program of the Social Security Act for child support enforcement. Pursuant to s. 108120.60, 109the department shall issue within 90 calendar days after the stamped receipted date of the completed application:
    126(a) 127If the applicant meets the requirements, a professional certificate covering the classification, level, and area for which the applicant is deemed qualified and a document explaining the requirements for renewal of the professional certificate;
    161(b) 162If the applicant meets the requirements and if requested by an employing school district or an employing private school with a professional education competence demonstration program pursuant to paragraphs (6)(f) and (8)(b), a temporary certificate covering the classification, level, and area for which the applicant is deemed qualified and an official statement of status of eligibility; or
    219(c) 220If an applicant does not meet the requirements for either certificate, an official statement of status of eligibility.

    238The statement of status of eligibility must advise the applicant of any qualifications that must be completed to qualify for certification. Each statement of status of eligibility is valid for 3 years after its date of issuance, except as provided in paragraph (2)(d).

    281(2) 282ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA.284-285To be eligible to seek certification, a person must:
    294(a) 295Be at least 18 years of age.
    302(b) 303File an affidavit that the applicant subscribes to and will uphold the principles incorporated in the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Florida and that the information provided in the application is true, accurate, and complete. The affidavit shall be by original signature or by electronic authentication. The affidavit shall include substantially the following warning:

    364WARNING: Giving false information in order to obtain or renew a Florida educator’s certificate is a criminal offense under Florida law. Anyone giving false information on this affidavit is subject to criminal prosecution as well as disciplinary action by the Education Practices Commission.

    407(c) 408Document receipt of a bachelor’s or higher degree from an accredited institution of higher learning, or a nonaccredited institution of higher learning that the Department of Education has identified as having a quality program resulting in a bachelor’s degree, or higher. Each applicant seeking initial certification must have attained at least a 2.5 overall grade point average on a 4.0 scale in the applicant’s major field of study. The applicant may document the required education by submitting official transcripts from institutions of higher education or by authorizing the direct submission of such official transcripts through established electronic network systems. The bachelor’s or higher degree may not be required in areas approved in rule by the State Board of Education as nondegreed areas. The State Board of Education may adopt rules that, for purposes of demonstrating completion of specific certification requirements, allow for the acceptance of college course credits recommended by the American Council for Education (ACE), as posted on an official ACE transcript.
    571(d) 572Submit to background screening in accordance with subsection (10). If the background screening indicates a criminal history or if the applicant acknowledges a criminal history, the applicant’s records shall be referred to the investigative section in the Department of Education for review and determination of eligibility for certification. If the applicant fails to provide the necessary documentation requested by the department within 90 days after the date of the receipt of the certified mail request, the statement of eligibility and pending application shall become invalid.
    657(e) 658Be of good moral character.
    663(f) 664Be competent and capable of performing the duties, functions, and responsibilities of an educator.
    678(g) 679Demonstrate mastery of general knowledge, pursuant to subsection (3).
    688(h) 689Demonstrate mastery of subject area knowledge, pursuant to subsection (5).
    699(i) 700Demonstrate mastery of professional preparation and education competence, pursuant to subsection (6).
    712(3) 713MASTERY OF GENERAL KNOWLEDGE.717-718Acceptable means of demonstrating mastery of general knowledge are:
    727(a) 728Achievement of passing scores on the general knowledge examination required by state board rule;
    742(b) 743Documentation of a valid professional standard teaching certificate issued by another state;
    755(c) 756Documentation of a valid certificate issued by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards or a national educator credentialing board approved by the State Board of Education;
    783(d) 784Documentation of two semesters of successful, full-time or part-time teaching in a Florida College System institution, state university, or private college or university that awards an associate or higher degree and is an accredited institution or an institution of higher education identified by the Department of Education as having a quality program; or
    837(e) 838Effective July 1, 2015, achievement of passing scores, identified in state board rule, on national or international examinations that test comparable content and relevant standards in verbal, analytical writing, and quantitative reasoning skills, including, but not limited to, the verbal, analytical writing, and quantitative reasoning portions of the Graduate Record Examination. Passing scores identified in state board rule must be at approximately the same level of rigor as is required to pass the general knowledge examinations.
    914(4) 915ALIGNMENT OF SUBJECT AREAS.919-920The State Board of Education shall align the subject area examinations to the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards.
    938(5) 939MASTERY OF SUBJECT AREA KNOWLEDGE.944-945Acceptable means of demonstrating mastery of subject area knowledge are:
    955(a) 956For a subject requiring only a baccalaureate degree for which a Florida subject area examination has been developed, achievement of a passing score on the Florida-developed subject area examination specified in state board rule;
    990(b) 991For a subject for which a Florida subject area examination has not been developed, achievement of a passing score on a standardized examination specified in state board rule, including, but not limited to, passing scores on both the oral proficiency and written proficiency examinations administered by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages;
    1046(c) 1047For a subject for which a Florida subject area examination has not been developed or a standardized examination has not been specified in state board rule, completion of the subject area specialization requirements specified in state board rule and verification of the attainment of the essential subject matter competencies by the district school superintendent of the employing school district or chief administrative officer of the employing state-supported or private school;
    1117(d) 1118For a subject requiring a master’s or higher degree, completion of the subject area specialization requirements specified in state board rule and achievement of a passing score on the Florida-developed subject area examination or a standardized examination specified in state board rule;
    1160(e) 1161Documentation of a valid professional standard teaching certificate issued by another state; or
    1174(f) 1175Documentation of a valid certificate issued by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards or a national educator credentialing board approved by the State Board of Education.

    1202School districts are encouraged to provide mechanisms for middle grades teachers holding only a K-6 teaching certificate to obtain a subject area coverage for middle grades through postsecondary coursework or district add-on certification.

    1235(6) 1236MASTERY OF PROFESSIONAL PREPARATION AND EDUCATION COMPETENCE.1243-1244Acceptable means of demonstrating mastery of professional preparation and education competence are:
    1256(a) 1257Successful completion of an approved teacher preparation program at a postsecondary educational institution within this state and achievement of a passing score on the professional education competency examination required by state board rule;
    1290(b) 1291Successful completion of a teacher preparation program at a postsecondary educational institution outside Florida and achievement of a passing score on the professional education competency examination required by state board rule;
    1322(c) 1323Documentation of a valid professional standard teaching certificate issued by another state;
    1335(d) 1336Documentation of a valid certificate issued by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards or a national educator credentialing board approved by the State Board of Education;
    1363(e) 1364Documentation of two semesters of successful, full-time or part-time teaching in a Florida College System institution, state university, or private college or university that awards an associate or higher degree and is an accredited institution or an institution of higher education identified by the Department of Education as having a quality program and achievement of a passing score on the professional education competency examination required by state board rule;
    1433(f) 1434Successful completion of professional preparation courses as specified in state board rule, successful completion of a professional preparation and education competence program pursuant to paragraph (8)(b), and achievement of a passing score on the professional education competency examination required by state board rule;
    1477(g) 1478Successful completion of a professional development certification and education competency program, outlined in paragraph (8)(a); or
    1494(h) 1495Successful completion of a competency-based certification program pursuant to s. 15051004.85 1506and achievement of a passing score on the professional education competency examination required by rule of the State Board of Education.

    1527The State Board of Education shall adopt rules to implement this subsection by December 31, 2014, including rules to approve specific teacher preparation programs that are not identified in this subsection which may be used to meet requirements for mastery of professional preparation and education competence.

    1573(7) 1574TYPES AND TERMS OF CERTIFICATION.1579-
    1580(a) 1581The Department of Education shall issue a professional certificate for a period not to exceed 5 years to any applicant who meets all the requirements outlined in subsection (2).
    1610(b) 1611The department shall issue a temporary certificate to any applicant who completes the requirements outlined in paragraphs (2)(a)-(f) and completes the subject area content requirements specified in state board rule or demonstrates mastery of subject area knowledge pursuant to subsection (5) and holds an accredited degree or a degree approved by the Department of Education at the level required for the subject area specialization in state board rule.
    1679(c) 1680The department shall issue one nonrenewable 2-year temporary certificate and one nonrenewable 5-year professional certificate to a qualified applicant who holds a bachelor’s degree in the area of speech-language impairment to allow for completion of a master’s degree program in speech-language impairment.

    1722Each temporary certificate is valid for 3 school fiscal years and is nonrenewable. However, the requirement in paragraph (2)(g) must be met within 1 calendar year of the date of employment under the temporary certificate. Individuals who are employed under contract at the end of the 1 calendar year time period may continue to be employed through the end of the school year in which they have been contracted. A school district shall not employ, or continue the employment of, an individual in a position for which a temporary certificate is required beyond this time period if the individual has not met the requirement of paragraph (2)(g). The State Board of Education shall adopt rules to allow the department to extend the validity period of a temporary certificate for 2 years when the requirements for the professional certificate, not including the requirement in paragraph (2)(g), were not completed due to the serious illness or injury of the applicant or other extraordinary extenuating circumstances. The department shall reissue the temporary certificate for 2 additional years upon approval by the Commissioner of Education. A written request for reissuance of the certificate shall be submitted by the district school superintendent, the governing authority of a university lab school, the governing authority of a state-supported school, or the governing authority of a private school.

    1942(8) 1943PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT CERTIFICATION AND EDUCATION COMPETENCY PROGRAM.1950-
    1951(a) 1952The Department of Education shall develop and each school district may provide a cohesive competency-based professional development certification and education competency program by which members of a school district’s instructional staff may satisfy the mastery of professional preparation and education competence requirements specified in subsection (6) and rules of the State Board of Education. Participants must hold a state-issued temporary certificate. A school district that implements the program shall provide a competency-based certification program developed by the Department of Education or developed by the district and approved by the Department of Education. The program shall include the following:
    20501. 2051A minimum period of initial preparation before assuming duties as the teacher of record.
    20652. 2066An option for collaboration between school districts and other supporting agencies or educational entities for implementation.
    20823. 2083An experienced peer-mentor component. Each individual selected by the district as a peer mentor must hold a valid professional certificate issued pursuant to this section, must have earned at least 3 years of teaching experience in prekindergarten through grade 12, and must have earned an effective or highly effective rating on the prior year’s performance evaluation under s. 21411012.34 2142or be a peer evaluator under the district’s evaluation system approved under s. 21551012.342156.
    21574. 2158An assessment of teaching performance aligned to the district’s system for personnel evaluation under s. 21731012.34 2174which provides for:
    2177a. 2178An initial evaluation of each educator’s competencies to determine an appropriate individualized professional development plan.
    2193b. 2194A summative evaluation to assure successful completion of the program.
    22045. 2205Professional education preparation content knowledge that includes, but is not limited to, the following:
    2219a. 2220The state standards provided under s. 22261003.41, 2227including scientifically based reading instruction, content literacy, and mathematical practices, for each subject identified on the temporary certificate.
    2245b. 2246The educator-accomplished practices approved by the state board.
    2254c. 2255A variety of data indicators for monitoring student progress.
    2264d. 2265Methodologies for teaching students with disabilities.
    2271e. 2272Methodologies for teaching students of limited English proficiency appropriate for each subject area identified on the temporary certificate.
    2290f. 2291Techniques and strategies for operationalizing the role of the teacher in assuring a safe learning environment for students.
    23096. 2310Required achievement of passing scores on the subject area and professional education competency examination required by State Board of Education rule. Mastery of general knowledge must be demonstrated as described in subsection (3).
    2343(b)1. 2344Each school district must and a state supported public school or a private school may develop and maintain a system by which members of the instructional staff may demonstrate mastery of professional preparation and education competence as required by law. Each program must be based on classroom application of the Florida Educator Accomplished Practices and instructional performance and, for public schools, must be aligned with the district’s evaluation system approved under s. 24161012.342417.
    24182. 2419The Commissioner of Education shall determine the continued approval of programs implemented under this paragraph, based upon the department’s review of performance data. The department shall review the performance data as a part of the periodic review of each school district’s professional development system required under s. 24661012.982467.
    2468(c) 2469The Commissioner of Education shall determine the continued approval of programs implemented under paragraph (a) based upon the department’s periodic review of the following:
    24931. 2494Evidence that the requirements in paragraph (a) are consistently met; and
    25052. 2506Evidence of performance in each of the following areas:
    2515a. 2516Rate of retention for employed program completers in instructional positions in Florida public schools.
    2530b. 2531Performance of students in prekindergarten through grade 12 who are assigned to in-field program completers on statewide assessments using the results of the student learning growth formula adopted under s. 25611012.342562.
    2563c. 2564Performance of students in prekindergarten through grade 12 who are assigned to in-field program completers aggregated by student subgroups, as defined in the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), 20 U.S.C. s. 6311(b)(2)(C)(v)(II), as a measure of how well the program prepares teachers to work with a variety of students in Florida public schools.
    2619d. 2620Results of program completers’ annual evaluations in accordance with the timeline as set forth in s. 26361012.342637.
    2638e. 2639Production of program completers in statewide critical teacher shortage areas as defined in s. 26531012.072654.
    2655(9) 2656EXAMINATIONS.2657-
    2658(a) 2659The Commissioner of Education, with the approval of the State Board of Education, may contract for developing, printing, administering, scoring, and appropriate analysis of the written examinations required.
    2687(b) 2688The State Board of Education shall, by rule, specify the examination scores that are required for the issuance of a professional certificate and temporary certificate. Such rules must define generic subject area competencies and must establish uniform evaluation guidelines.
    2727(c) 2728The State Board of Education shall designate the certification areas for subject area examinations. All required examinations may be taken prior to graduation.
    2751(d) 2752The department shall provide procedures for an applicant who fails an examination developed by the department or by an entity under contract with the department to review his or her examination questions and his or her incorrectly answered responses to the questions. The applicant bears the actual cost for the department to provide an examination review pursuant to this subsection. Notwithstanding any other provisions of law, only an applicant who fails an examination within a score range established by rule of the State Board of Education is entitled to an examination review under this paragraph or to challenge the validity of the examination.
    2855(e) 2856For any examination developed by this state, the Department of Education and the State Board of Education shall maintain confidentiality of the examination, developmental materials, and workpapers, which are exempt from s. 2888119.07(1)2889.
    2890(f) 2891The examinations used for demonstration of mastery of general knowledge, professional education competence, and subject area knowledge shall be aligned with student standards approved by the state board. The delivery system for these examinations shall provide for overall efficiency, user-friendly application, reasonable accessibility to prospective teachers, and prompt attainment of examination results. The examination of competency for demonstration of subject area knowledge shall be sufficiently comprehensive to assess subject matter expertise for individuals who have acquired subject knowledge either through college credit or by other means.
    2977(g) 2978All examination instruments, including developmental materials and workpapers directly related thereto, which are prepared, prescribed, or administered pursuant to this section shall be confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 3009119.07(1) 3010and from s. 30131001.523014. Provisions governing access to, maintenance of, and destruction of such instruments and related materials shall be prescribed by rules of the State Board of Education.
    3040(10) 3041BACKGROUND SCREENING REQUIRED, INITIALLY AND PERIODICALLY.3047-
    3048(a) 3049Each person who seeks certification under this chapter must be fingerprinted and screened in accordance with s. 30661012.32 3067and must not be ineligible for such certification under s. 30771012.3153078. A person who has been screened in accordance with s. 30891012.32 3090by a district school board or the Department of Education within 12 months before the date the person initially obtains certification under this chapter, the results of which are submitted to the district school board or to the Department of Education, is not required to repeat the screening under this paragraph.
    3141(b) 3142A person may not receive a certificate under this chapter until the person’s screening under s. 31581012.32 3159is completed and the results have been submitted to the Department of Education or to the district school superintendent of the school district that employs the person. Every 5 years after obtaining initial certification, each person who is required to be certified under this chapter must be rescreened in accordance with s. 32111012.32, 3212at which time the school district shall request the Department of Law Enforcement to forward the fingerprints to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for federal criminal records checks. If, for any reason after obtaining initial certification, the fingerprints of a person who is required to be certified under this chapter are not retained by the Department of Law Enforcement under s. 32731012.32(3)(a) 3274and (b), the person must file a complete set of fingerprints with the district school superintendent of the employing school district. Upon submission of fingerprints for this purpose, the school district shall request the Department of Law Enforcement to forward the fingerprints to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for federal criminal records checks, and the fingerprints shall be retained by the Department of Law Enforcement under s. 33411012.32(3)(a) 3342and (b). The cost of the state and federal criminal history checks required by paragraph (a) and this paragraph may be borne by the district school board or the employee. Under penalty of perjury, each person who is certified under this chapter must agree to inform his or her employer within 48 hours if convicted of any disqualifying offense while he or she is employed in a position for which such certification is required.
    3416(c) 3417If it is found under s. 34231012.796 3424that a person who is employed in a position requiring certification under this chapter has not been screened in accordance with s. 34461012.32, 3447or is ineligible for such certification under s. 34551012.315, 3456the person’s certification shall be immediately revoked or suspended and he or she shall be immediately suspended from the position requiring certification.
    3478(11) 3479NONCITIZENS.3480-
    3481(a) 3482The State Board of Education may adopt rules for issuing certificates to noncitizens who are needed to teach and who are legally admitted to the United States through the United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services. The filing of a written oath to uphold the principles of the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Florida, required under paragraph (2)(b), does not apply to individuals assigned to teach on an exchange basis.
    3560(b) 3561A certificate may not be issued to a citizen of a nation controlled by forces that are antagonistic to democratic forms of government, except to an individual who has been legally admitted to the United States through the United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services.
    3607(12) 3608DENIAL OF CERTIFICATE.3611-
    3612(a) 3613The Department of Education may deny an applicant a certificate if the department possesses evidence satisfactory to it that the applicant has committed an act or acts, or that a situation exists, for which the Education Practices Commission would be authorized to revoke a teaching certificate.
    3659(b) 3660The decision of the department is subject to review by the Education Practices Commission upon the filing of a written request from the applicant within 20 days after receipt of the notice of denial.
    3694(13) 3695STATE BOARD RULES.3698-3699The State Board of Education shall adopt rules pursuant to ss. 3710120.536 3711and 3712120.54, 3713as necessary to implement this section.
    3719(14) 3720PRIOR APPLICATION.3722-3723Persons who apply for certification are governed by the law and rules in effect at the time of application for issuance of the initial certificate, provided that continuity of certificates is maintained.
    3755(15) 3756PERSONNEL RECORDS.3758-3759The Department of Education shall maintain an electronic database that includes, but need not be limited to, the academic preparation, professional training, and teaching experience of each person to whom a certificate is issued. The applicant or the district school superintendent shall furnish the information using a format provided by the department.
    3811(16) 3812AUTHORITY OF COMMISSIONER.3815-3816The Commissioner of Education may make decisions regarding an applicant’s certification under extenuating circumstances not otherwise provided for in statute or by rule. However, an applicant for certification approved by the commissioner must possess the credentials, knowledge, and skills necessary to provide quality education in the public schools.
History.-s. 728, ch. 2002-387; s. 43, ch. 2003-391; s. 170, ch. 2004-5; s. 16, ch. 2004-295; s. 61, ch. 2006-74; s. 30, ch. 2008-108; s. 25, ch. 2008-235; s. 104, ch. 2009-21; s. 184, ch. 2011-5; s. 41, ch. 2013-27; s. 8, ch. 2013-185; ss. 3, 4, ch. 2014-32.