November 2017 Committee on School Initiatives Item 6

Review of Proposed Revisions to 19 TAC Chapter 239, Student Services Certificates, Subchapter A, School Counselor Certificate, and Subchapter C, Educational Diagnostician Certificate

November 10, 2017

COMMITTEE ON SCHOOL INITIATIVES: ACTION
STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION: ACTION

SUMMARY:
This item provides the State Board of Education (SBOE) an opportunity to review State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) rule actions that would amend 19 TAC Chapter 239, Student Services Certificates, Subchapter A, School Counselor Certificate and Subchapter C, Educational Diagnostician Certificate. The proposed revisions would update the requirements for the minimum admission, preparation, standards, certificate issuance, and renewal for the School Counselor and Educational Diagnostician certificates. The proposed revisions reflect feedback provided by the SBEC-appointed advisory committees for the School Counselor Certificate and Educational Diagnostician Certificate.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY:
The statutory authority for 19 TAC Chapter 239 is the Texas Education Code (TEC), §§21.031(a), 21.040(4), 21.041(a), 21.041(b)(1)-(5) and (9), 21.044, 21.048(a), 21.054, and 22.0831(f), for Subchapter A, and the TEC, §21.031(a) and §21.041(a) and (b)(1)-(4), for Subchapter C.

TEC, §21.031(a), charges the SBEC with regulating and overseeing all aspects of the certification, continuing education, and standards of conduct for public school educators.

TEC, §21.040(4), states that the SBEC shall, for each class of educator certificate, appoint an advisory committee composed of members of that class to recommend standards for that class to the board.

TEC, §21.041(a), authorizes the SBEC to adopt rules as necessary to implement its procedures. TEC, §21.041(b)(1), requires the SBEC to propose rules that provide for the regulation of educators and the general administration of the TEC, Chapter 21, Subchapter B, in a manner consistent with the TEC, Chapter 21, Subchapter B. TEC, §21.041(b)(2)-(4), require the SBEC to propose rules that specify the classes of educator certificates to be issued, including emergency certificates; the period for which each class of educator certificate is valid; and the requirements for the issuance and renewal of an educator certificate. TEC, §21.041(b)(5) and (9), require the SBEC to propose rules that provide for the issuance of an educator certificate to a person who holds a similar certificate issued by another state or foreign country, subject to the TEC, §21.052, and continuing education requirements.

TEC, §21.044, requires the SBEC to propose rules establishing training requirements a person must accomplish to obtain a certificate, enter an internship, or enter an induction-year program.

TEC, §21.048(a), requires the SBEC to propose rules prescribing comprehensive examinations for each class of certificate issued by the SBEC and requires the commissioner of education to determine the satisfactory level of performance required for each certification examination and each core subject covered by the generalist certification examination.

TEC, §21.054, requires classroom teachers, principals, and school counselors to earn continuing professional education units in specific areas and directs the SBEC to propose rules relating to continuing education courses and programs for educators.

TEC, §22.0831(f), authorizes the SBEC to propose rules to implement the national criminal history record information review of certified educators.

EFFECTIVE DATE:
The proposed effective date of the proposed revisions to 19 TAC Chapter 239 would be December 17, 2017.

PREVIOUS BOARD ACTION:
None.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION AND JUSTIFICATION:
The SBEC rules in 19 TAC Chapter 239, Subchapter A, School Counselor Certificate, and Subchapter C, Educational Diagnostician Certificate, establish requirements for minimum admission, preparation, standards, certificate issuance, renewal, and transition and implementation dates for the school counselor and educational diagnostician certificates.

The SBEC-appointed advisory committees for the School Counselor Certificate and Educational Diagnostician Certificate were convened to provide feedback on the current rules and processes related to preparation, testing, certification, and renewal for both certificate areas. Texas Education Agency (TEA) staff updated the SBEC on the activities completed by both advisory committees and provided a high-level overview of key issues relevant to each certificate as part of the discussion item on the March 3, 2017 SBEC meeting agenda. TEA staff presented proposed changes to 19 TAC Chapter 239, Subchapters A and C, as part of the discussion item on the June 9, 2017 SBEC meeting agenda and for action at the August 4, 2017 meeting. Attachment III includes an updated action plan/timeline of activities for both committees. Attachment IV provides the names of the School Counselor and Educational Diagnostician Advisory Committee members. Attachment V lists the Texas-approved educator preparation programs for the School Counselor certificate and the Educational Diagnostician certificate.

Following is a description of the proposed revisions included in Attachment II that reflects feedback from the SBEC-appointed advisory committees for the School Counselor Certificate and Educational Diagnostician Certificate and action taken by the SBEC at its October 6, 2017 meeting.

Subchapter A. School Counselor Certificate

§239.1. General Provisions

The proposed amendment to 19 TAC §239.1(a) would update the language to more fully reflect the scope of preparation required of candidates seeking the School Counselor certificate. The proposed amendment to subsection (b) would specify the expectation that individuals certified as a School Counselor, Grades EC-12, will participate in counseling-related professional development activities as a way to remain current with best practices and procedures for school counseling and in developing quality, comprehensive school counseling programs. The proposed amendment to subsection (c) would provide additional confirmation that individuals with this certificate are appropriately licensed to provide counseling services to all students in Prekindergarten to Grade 12.

§239.10. Preparation Program Requirements

The proposed amendment to 19 TAC §239.10(a) would update the language to further emphasize the importance of having structured, field-based training experiences in an actual school setting but remove the reference to "campuses" to acknowledge that serving in the role of school counselor within several campus settings is not always possible for each certification candidate. The proposed change to subsection (b) would remove the phrase "and/or experience" directly related to the standards as an option for substituting preparation coursework and other requirements leading to issuance of the school counselor certificate to further emphasize the important role of training through an educator preparation program to ensure successful entry and retention in the critical role of school counselor. Proposed new subsection (c) would specify that educator preparation programs must incorporate processes to ensure certification candidates can understand and implement The Texas Model for Comprehensive School Counseling Programs, which aligns with provisions in the TEC, Chapter 33, Subchapter A, School Counselors and Counseling Programs, and serves as a model for school counselors and school counseling programs across the state.

§239.15. Standards Required for the School Counselor Certificate

Under Standard I, Learner-Centered Knowledge, the proposed amendment to 19 TAC §239.15(b)(1) would update the language to ensure that preparation programs and certification candidates share a common understanding of the thoughts and beliefs that have guided the role of the school counselor and school counseling programs over the years. Proposed new subsection (b)(4) would add an emphasis on the role of college and career readiness standards and the ability of the school counselor to infuse these important knowledge and skills into his or her interactions with students as they explore postsecondary options. With the addition of proposed new subsection (b)(4), the subsequent paragraphs would be renumbered accordingly.

The proposed change to subsection (b)(5) would add "test interpretation" to the list of key assessment principles and procedures important to a school counselor's repertoire to further emphasize the importance of understanding test results and using them effectively to assess and address student needs. The proposed change to subsection (b)(7) would update the language to highlight the various phases of learners' development and would allow the rules to further confirm importance of the breadth and depth of the counseling programs. The proposed change to subsection (b)(9) would update the language to stress the importance of conducting oneself in an ethical manner. The proposed change to subsection (b)(11) would reflect more current and expansive language. The proposed change to subsection (b)(12) would reflect the more current reference to the counseling program and refer to the Texas College and Career Readiness Standards as important components to be blended together with academic curricula to ensure the best preparation for all students. The proposed change to subsection (b)(13) would update the language to better express that the counselor is instrumental in ensuring the comprehensiveness of the school counseling program and its ability to be responsive to the needs of all students.

Proposed new subsection (b)(15)-(19) would expand the list of skills and abilities required of an effective school counselor. These proposed additions would further emphasize the importance of solid preparation to effectively step into the role of school counselor and would address the importance of developing and teaching best practices related to leadership skills. The proposed additions would also focus on the impact that cultural factors and group membership can have on students; stipulate a necessary understanding of the comprehensive school counseling program model; emphasize the importance and use of technology in its various forms and the personal and professional harm of technology misuse; and highlight the importance of understanding systems, with a special emphasis on family dynamics and school environments.

Under Standard II, Learner-Centered Skills, reference to The Texas Model for Comprehensive School Counseling Programs would be included to confirm the important role of this key Texas document and its necessary use in all educator preparation programs. The proposed change to subsection (c)(2) would incorporate updated terminology and add reference to The Texas Model for Comprehensive School Counseling Programs to further confirm the important role of this Texas-specific document to the development and maintenance of a successful school counseling program. The proposed change to subsection (c)(5) would emphasize the important, proactive role of the school counselor in making referrals and following up on his or her effectiveness relating to student needs within the school and community. The proposed change to subsection (c)(8) would highlight the importance of a school counselor taking time to complete a thorough assessment of student needs not only relating to assessment data but also to ensure there is sufficient information available to make informed and effective decisions on best ways to support that student in any other critical needs areas. The proposed change to subsection (c)(9) would update the types of practices that should be used to address student needs. The proposed change to subsection (c)(10) would incorporate current terminology for school counseling programs.

Proposed new subsection (c)(11) would address the school counselor's role in facilitating learners' ability to achieve their potential. Proposed new subsection (c)(12) would highlight the importance of the school counselor remaining proficient in counseling and campus-related technology to ensure that he or she is readily equipped with the latest tools and technology to successfully address and support the various needs of learners. Proposed new subsection (c)(13) would add a reference to the use of various resources to counsel students about postsecondary college and career readiness opportunities to ensure the school counselor remains knowledgeable about numerous options available and can craft guidance that meets the needs of each learner.

Under Standard III, Learner-Centered Process, the proposed amendment to subsection (d) would emphasize the importance of revising the school counseling program as needed to strengthen the overall program and ensure that it is meeting the needs of all learners and would add reference to The Texas Model for Comprehensive School Counseling Programs to confirm the importance of using the state's model for school counseling programs. The proposed amendment to subsection (d)(2) would clarify the distinction between personal and social goals. The proposed amendment to subsection (d)(5) would accurately reflect the school counselor's role as a consultant to help learners achieve success inside and outside of school.

Proposed new subsection (d)(6)-(13) would emphasize the school counselor's role as advocate for a comprehensive school counseling program that involves the school and community and utilizes resources within and beyond classrooms to implement and maintain a successful school counseling program that supports all learners, as well as elaborate on the school counselor's extensive role in leading and promoting an effective school counseling program that involves all members of the school community. Proposed new subsection (d)(14) would encourage the school counselor to develop practices to promote learners' knowledge about college and career readiness processes necessary to pursue postsecondary opportunities.

Under Standard IV, Learner-Centered Equity and Excellence for All Learners, the proposed changes to subsection (e)(1)-(3) would update language to reflect the importance of the school counselor to create and maintain a positive school environment that is inclusive of and responsive to all learners.

Proposed new subsection (e)(4)-(9) would specify the need for school counselors to build on commonalities versus differences in all learners; understand the impact of environment and behavior on individual learners; ensure equitable access to programs and services for all students; understand how family values, group membership, and culture intersect; acknowledge learners' gifts, strengths, and extracurricular talents when considering programs and services; and increase students' awareness and include their voice regarding educational and individualized plans as this type of environment affords every learner an opportunity for growth and success. Proposed new subsection (e)(10) would emphasize the important role of the school counselor in ensuring all students and their parents/guardians have equitable access to information about postsecondary opportunities and use available resources to become college and career ready.

Under Standard V, Learner-Centered Communications, proposed new subsection (f)(9)-(11) would be added to illustrate the school counselor's opportunity to take a positive, strength-based approach to the development of a school counseling program that verbalizes commonalities versus differences in all learners; highlight the importance of effectively communicating the school counselor's roles and responsibilities to all stakeholders; and emphasize the need for school counselors to adhere to best practices connected to ethical and legal considerations related to appropriate use of technology and email, documentation, record keeping, privileged communication, and informed consent process as these are all principles that align with the statewide model for school counseling programs. Proposed new subsection (f)(12) would highlight the role of the school counselor in facilitating learners' and parent/guardians' access to school and community resources related to postsecondary opportunities and college and career readiness.

Under Standard VI, Learner-Centered Professional Development, the proposed changes to subsection (g)(5) and (6) would show the importance of school counselors engaging in active professional development on a regular basis, as well as the important role of professional development in a school counselor's ability to increase college and career readiness and the promotion of postsecondary opportunities and preparation for all learners.

§239.20. Requirements for the Issuance of the Standard School Counselor Certificate

The proposed amendment to 19 TAC §239.20(3) would change the minimum degree requirement for issuance of the School Counselor Certificate from a master's degree to a 48-hour master's degree in counseling. TEA staff discussed this suggested change with the Board during the June 9, 2017 SBEC meeting and explained that this was the more rigorous of the two options discussed with the advisory committee. Staff also shared that while all members of the advisory committee agreed on the importance of strong preparation to become certified as a school counselor, several members also supported use of an already established master's degree to meet one of the requirements for issuance of the standard certificate. Attachment II reflects action taken by the SBEC at its October 6, 2017 meeting, retaining the requirement of a 48-hour master's degree in counseling as part of the proposed amendment.

§239.25. Requirements to Renew the Standard School Counselor Certificate

The proposed amendment to 19 TAC §239.25 would remove outdated references to renewal requirements for certificates issued from September 1, 1999, to August 31, 2000, and would add language to confirm it is necessary for individuals issued the standard school counselor certificate to comply with renewal requirements in place for the certificate. A technical edit would also be made to update a cross reference.

§239.30. Transition and Implementation Dates

Section 239.30 would be repealed to remove outdated language. In response to public comment, at its October 6, 2017 meeting, the SBEC modified at adoption new §239.30 to change the implementation date to September 1, 2019, for the proposed changes to apply to candidates being admitted into an approved Texas educator preparation program for the School Counselor certificate. The additional year would allow educator preparation programs more time to make the necessary changes to comply with the new requirements. The title of proposed new §239.30 would be updated to clearly reflect the contents of the section.

Subchapter C. Educational Diagnostician Certificate

§239.80. General Provisions

The proposed amendment to 19 TAC §239.80(b) would update the language to emphasize the importance of the educational diagnostician remaining current in the area of assessment as it has a direct impact on student learning. The proposed amendment to subsection (c) would more accurately reflect the student grade range served by educational diagnosticians.

§239.82. Preparation Program Requirements

The proposed amendment to 19 TAC §239.82(b) would allow flexibility in educator preparation program design.

§239.83. Standards Required for the Educational Diagnostician Certificate

The proposed changes to 19 TAC §239.83(b)-(k) would remove the word "beginning" from every reference to the educational diagnostician since the standards apply to all educational diagnosticians and not just individuals entering the profession upon completion of a preparation program and issuance of certification.

Under Standard I, the proposed amendment to subsection (b)(1)(D) would specify that an educational diagnostician knows and understands the importance and impact of placement of special education students in the least restrictive environment.

Under Standard IV, the proposed amendment to subsection (e)(1)(A) would specify that an educational diagnostician knows and understands placement of individual students in the least restrictive environment, and the proposed amendment to subsection (e)(2)(A) would specify that an educational diagnostician is able to establish measurable annual goals and objectives.

Under Standard VI, the proposed amendment to subsection (g)(1)(I) would add the response to intervention or RTI to further explain what is meant by use of the term prereferral, and the proposed amendment to subsection (g)(1)(L) would add "transition" to the examples of methods of academic and nonacademic assessment and evaluation.

Under Standard VII, the proposed amendment to subsection (h)(1)(D) would specify that an educational diagnostician knows and understands the ways in which native language may affect evaluation.

Under Standard IX, the proposed amendment to subsection (j)(1)(A) would add language to emphasize the type of support that will have the most appropriate impact on student behavior.

Under Standard X, the proposed amendment to subsection (k)(1)(D) would update language to show the need for the educational diagnostician to be able to distinguish between techniques and apply them as necessary to positively impact student living.

§239.84. Requirements for the Issuance of the Standard Educational Diagnostician Certificate

The proposed amendment to 19 TAC §239.84(5) would change the required number of creditable years of teaching experience as a classroom teacher from two to three years. The committee was unanimous in favor of this recommendation and felt that returning to three years of experience would allow the individual interested in pursuing the educational diagnostician certificate to gain a much-needed additional year in the classroom before becoming an educational diagnostician.

§239.85. Requirements to Renew the Standard Educational Diagnostician Certificate

Technical edits would be made to update cross references.

§239.86. Transition and Implementation Dates

Section 239.86 would be repealed to remove outdated language, and new §239.86 would be proposed to include an implementation date of September 1, 2018, for the proposed changes to apply to candidates being admitted into an approved Texas educator preparation program for the Educational Diagnostician Certificate. The title of proposed new §239.86 would be updated to clearly reflect the contents of the section.

SBOE Review of Proposed SBEC Rules

Under the TEC, §21.042, the SBEC must submit a written copy of each rule it proposes to adopt to the SBOE for review. The SBOE may reject the proposed rule by a vote of at least two-thirds of the members of the SBOE present and voting, but may not modify a rule.

FISCAL IMPACT: The TEA staff has determined that there is no additional fiscal impact on state and local governments and there are no additional costs to persons or entities required to comply with the proposed rule actions. In addition, there is no direct adverse economic impact for small businesses, microbusinesses, and rural communities; therefore, no regulatory flexibility analysis, specified in Texas Government Code, §2006.002, is required. There is no effect on local economy; therefore, no local employment impact statement is required under Texas Government Code, §2001.022. The proposed revisions do not impose a cost on regulated persons and, therefore, are not subject to Texas Government Code, §2001.0045.

PUBLIC AND STUDENT BENEFIT: The public and student benefit anticipated as a result of the proposed revisions would be more rigorous requirements for the preparation, certification, testing, and renewal of School Counselor and Educational Diagnostician certificates that result in highly effective certified school counselors and educational diagnosticians upon entry into the profession and retention of these qualified professionals. There are no anticipated additional costs to licensees or other regulated persons.

PROCEDURAL AND REPORTING IMPLICATIONS: The proposed amendments would have no additional procedural and reporting implications.

LOCALLY MAINTAINED PAPERWORK REQUIREMENTS: The proposed amendments would have no additional locally maintained paperwork requirements.

PUBLIC COMMENTS: In accordance with the SBEC rulemaking process, a summary of comments received by the SBEC on its proposed rules is shared with the SBOE under separate cover prior to this SBOE meeting.

OTHER COMMENTS AND RELATED ISSUES: None.

MOTION TO BE CONSIDERED: The State Board of Education:

Take no action on the proposed revisions to 19 TAC Chapter 239, Student Services Certificates, Subchapter A, School Counselor Certificate, and Subchapter C, Educational Diagnostician Certificate.

Staff Members Responsible:
Ryan Franklin, Associate Commissioner
Educator Leadership and Quality

Marilyn Cook, Director
Educator Certification and Testing

Tim Miller, Director
Educator Preparation

Attachments:
I. Statutory Citations (PDF, 37KB)
II. Text of Proposed Revisions to 19 TAC Chapter 239, Student Services Certificates, Subchapter A, School Counselor Certificate, and Subchapter C, Educational Diagnostician Certificate (PDF, 92KB)
III. Updated Action Plan/Timeline of Activities for Advisory Committee for 19 TAC Chapter 239, Student Services Certificates, Subchapter A, School Counselor Certificate, and Subchapter C, Educational Diagnostician Certificate (PDF, 19KB)
IV. Advisory Committee Member List for Chapter 239, Student Services Certificates, Subchapter A, School Counselor Certificate, and Subchapter C, Educational Diagnostician Certificate (PDF, 22KB)
V. Approved Educator Preparation Programs for School Counselor Certificate and
Educational Diagnostician Certificate
(PDF, 20KB)