At its Dec. 5 meeting, the New Jersey State Board of Education took action on the following proposals:

Teacher Leader Preparation Programs and Certification — The State Board approved for publication and comment proposed rules concerning the teacher leader endorsement. State law requires the Board to authorize a teacher leader endorsement and specifies that candidates for the endorsement must complete a program of study with an approved provider. In general, a teacher leader is a talented, experienced teacher who is adept at sharing his or her knowledge with colleagues. An “endorsement” certifies that the teacher is prepared to take on additional responsibilities to help colleagues.

“In May of 2017, NJSBA joined other state-level education organizations in expressing support for the creation of the Teacher Leader endorsement,” said Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod, executive director. “The endorsement has the potential to increase collaboration among teachers, administrators and school boards in efforts to advance student learning.”

The law also requires the State Board to set standards for what the teacher needs to study to earn the endorsement, and it must set standards for the approval of providers of preparation programs. The proposed regulations will require candidates for the teacher leader endorsement to possess a New Jersey standard instructional certificate and demonstrate a minimum of four years of teaching experience under a valid New Jersey or out-of-state certificate. Teacher leader candidates must also demonstrate a minimum of two effective or highly effective annual summative ratings in the three most recent years; complete a program of study with a commissioner-approved teacher leader program provider; and pass a commissioner-approved performance assessment.

The proposed requirements will ensure that teachers have demonstrated effective classroom practices before developing and honing skillsets intended to influence their colleagues’ classroom practices. By successfully completing a commissioner-approved performance assessment, candidates also will demonstrate that they have acquired the knowledge and skills outlined in the teacher leader model standards and that they are prepared to perform roles and responsibilities related to the competencies.

Controversies and Disputes — In other action, the State Board also approved for publication and comment proposed rules for filing of petitions with the Commissioner of Education to hear and decide controversies and disputes arising under the school laws. The proposed amendments will reduce the procedural requirements when filing documents with the Office of Controversies and Disputes and will allow parties to submit documents to the department electronically.