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Education Standards and Practices Board

Assuring highly qualified professional educators for North Dakota students
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2718 Gateway Avenue
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Bismarck, ND 58503-0585
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ESPB square logo About ESPB

Annual Report 2000
Vol. 5 Issue 1

New Licenses Instituted from 1999 Legislation

The Education Standards and Practices Board began the 1999-2000 school year with new computer programming changes costing the board approximately $37,000, the addition of a webpage, board member changes, a 40-day provisional license, issuing minor equivalency endorsements, electronic scanning of FBI fingerprint cards, issuing fines to educators without proper licensure, investing additional dollars in the money market, and state funding to provide the assessment fee for approximately 20 educators to receive National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certification. A total of 4,067 licenses were issued which is 111 more than the previous year. The five-year average number of licenses issued per year is 3,777

New licenses effective August 1999.

Legislative changes provided the opportunity to offer three new licenses (40-day provisional, interim reciprocal, and early childhood). The 40-day provisional license is issued to those applicants who have not received the investigative background report from the BCI or FBI. This license can be issued numerous times until the report has been received. The local school district must initiate the process for the license because a contract has been offered to the applicant. One hundred and one (101) forty- day provisional licenses were issued during the 1999-2000 school term.

The second new license for 1999 was the interim reciprocal which is provided to out-of-state applicants who hold a bachelor's degree that includes a major that meets the issuing jurisdiction's requirements in elementary education, middle level education, or a content area taught in public high schools. They must have also completed the professional education sequence from a state-approved teacher education program. This is a two-year license and can be renewed once. Upon request for renewal, the applicant must submit a plan of re-education to meet the North Dakota teacher education standards to the Education Standards and Practices Board. Seventy (70) Interim Reciprocal Licenses were issued during the 1999-2000 school term.

The third license was provided to meet federal requirements for Head Start Centers who must hire early childhood certified staff. This license is provided to those applicants who hold a four-year bachelor's degree with a major in early childhood education from a state-approved teacher education program.

The 1999 Legislature mandated a report on the reciprocal acceptance of teaching certificates with NDCC 15-36-1.3. This report was provided to the Educational Services committee during the interim session.

NASDTEC Interstate Contract Agreement

The National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) is an organization of governmental entities responsible for teacher education and certification. Organized in 1928, NASDTEC organizations share an interest in professional standards, practices, and licensure issues. The NASDTEC Interstate Contract is an agreement which facilitates the movement of educators among the various states and other jurisdictions which have signed the contract. The contract includes assurances, definitions, eligibility options, duties of NASDTEC members, and information about the administration of the contract. Jurisdictions which sign the contract designate the categories (teacher, administrator, support personnel, vocational personnel) and the jurisdictions whose certificates or educator preparation programs they are willing to recognize. The Education Standards and Practices Board on May 11, 2000 agreed to sign the NASDTEC Interstate Contract for the next five year period, agreeing to Subsection III.A. with all states.

Educational Testing

The North Dakota Association of Colleges of Teacher Education recommended to the Education Standards and Practices Board they adopt the Pre-Professional Skills Test (PPST) as an additional requirement for initial educator licensure in North Dakota. The PPST is a basic skill test that addresses the areas of reading, writing and math. The Education Standards and Practices Board voted at their December 2000 monthly meeting to begin the PPST test score collection on July 1, 2002.

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Certification

During the 1999 Legislature, money was appropriated to pay one-half of the assessment fees for twenty North Dakota educators to complete the NBPTS certification process during the biennium. The other half of the assessment fee was provided through a match at the federal level. Six applicants applied for these dollars in 1999 with two applicants withdrawing due to unforeseen circumstances. Six applicants also applied in 2000. The original assessment fee was $2,000 and increased to $2300 in 2000.

Educator Openings

The Education Standards and Practices Board compiled the data from the Job Service Educator Opening list. From July 1, 1999 through June 30, 2000, there was 1,247 positions open throughout North Dakota. Following is a listing of those openings with more than five per area:

ESPB Model for Professional Development

The Education Standards and Practices Board published standards for quality professional development in 1996, the Professional Development Guidelines: Effective Practices, after reviewing both national standards and multiple North Dakota case studies. The PD Guidelines were developed through a Goals 2000 Professional Development Grant based in the Greater Barnes County Consortium. The PD Guidelines show how effective professional development can enhance the achievement of school improvement and personal improvement goals. Since the PD Guidelines were developed, hundreds of ND teachers, administrators, and professional development providers have been trained in the application of the model. Awareness sessions and full semester hour courses on the PD Guidelines and the use of assessment in professional development are available. Sessions on use of the PD Guidelines in data-driven processes were presented at the October 4-5 NCA/DPI Fall School Improvement Workshop and materials provided to additional districts who wish to use the model. The Directors of the North Dakota Teacher Centers received training updates on the use of the model in October and will be able to assist schools and individuals in their use. Copies of the PD Guidelines are available through the office of the ESPB and related materials are available at all of the state's ten Teacher Centers.

New Teacher Induction Survey

Stories of teacher shortages are in the news often these days as increasing numbers of teachers retire, leave the profession or leave the state. Also prominent is the desire to constantly improve the way teachers are prepared so that they may meet the ever more sophisticated needs of today's students. The North Dakota Education Standards and Practices Board (ESPB) recently published results of a ND New Teacher Induction Survey on our web site: www.state.nd.us/espb. The survey was conducted by the ESPB and North Dakota Education Association during the spring of 2000 to gather first-hand information from new teachers. The survey polled new teachers employed in North Dakota during the 1997-2000 school terms, asking questions about:

  1. what new teachers feel are their greatest professional challenges;
  2. what mentoring and induction support is available to new teachers;
  3. whether they are intending to stay in the profession and, if not, why?

The areas North Dakota teachers felt were most challenging to them as they started their careers were: working with at-risk students, motivating students, designing learning experiences for diverse students, and classroom management. New teachers felt most confident about their preparation in their content areas (specific subject matter), and were also confident about their ability to work with parents and use technology.

Isolation was a challenge for new teachers. There was significantly less orientation and mentoring support in smaller schools and, to a lesser degree, to teachers who were likely to be the only teacher in their level or subject area (ex: kindergarten, K-12 areas such as art and music, and high school). These same teachers were less likely to be considering teaching as a lifetime career and more likely to be undecided about staying in teaching than elementary and middle level teachers.

Mentoring support from an experienced teacher was available to about one third of the new teachers. Middle level teachers were twice as likely to have mentors as high school teachers. The findings on how mentors could help new teachers paralleled the areas in which new teachers felt most challenged in their new jobs: curriculum design, teaching strategies, and classroom management. They also felt mentors could help them with orientation to district policies and procedures. Most of the mentoring relationships were informal, with only nine percent of the new teachers reporting their mentors had been trained in how to be a mentor and that they had dedicated time to work together.

When new teachers were asked whether they intend to stay in teaching after this year, only one percent (1%) of the teachers answered with a definite ‘no’, but a significant twenty percent (20%) were undecided. Twelve percent (12%) intended to stay one more year and 27% several more years. About a third (36%) of the new teachers indicated they currently intend to make teaching a lifetime career.

Those new teachers who were not intending to make teaching their lifetime career gave inadequate salary, family influences, and a desire for better working conditions as the most important reasons for that decision. Working conditions were not specifically stated, but likely include a range of things such as courses they were assigned to teach, number of different class preparations, work load in relation to salary, extra duty assignments, or equipment and facilities available. From a broader perspective, new teachers may also have been considering community services and amenities, jobs available for spouses, etc.

The least important reasons for leaving were lack of preparation or that they preferred another career. In general, the new teachers in North Dakota wanted to teach and felt well prepared to do so, but were choosing not to stay due to inadequate salaries, family needs, or working conditions. Some noted a need to repay college loans.

When the new teachers were asked what might convince them to stay in teaching the most important things were increased salary and support from the larger community. Salary and legislative support were overriding issues. Support from the community, school boards and administration was also very important. Respect for teaching as a profession was more important as an incentive to stay than as a reason for leaving.

It was clear from the survey that mentoring and professional development are key factors for maintaining and improving quality of teaching even though these things are not as decisive factors in teacher retention when compared to salary and job conditions. Conversely, additional salary cannot guarantee a consistent increase in the quality of teaching, but it is by far the most significant factor for keeping new teachers in the profession in North Dakota.

A coordinated support effort by the education community, local school communities, and North Dakota state government can address the factors identified by our new teachers and help them meet the challenges they face. Focusing on both teaching quality and adequate support can maintain the high quality teaching force our state and our students have benefited from in the past.

ESPB Adopts Teacher Education Performance Standards

The ND Education Standards and Practices Board (ESPB) was created as an independent professional board in 1995. Since that time, dozens of professional educators across the state have assisted the Board in setting and revising quality standards for the preparation and licensure of professionals who work in our schools. The hard work North Dakota teachers, administrators, and teacher educators have put into this participatory process has resulted in the Board's adoption of performance oriented standards for the preparation of educators.

In September and December of 1999 the Board instituted standards for subject matter areas which require colleges of education to include multiple performance assessments of those moving through their programs. In the past, North Dakota's standards had been largely in-put oriented, revolving around courses and hours completed. Areas studied and depth of study are still defined, but the new performance standards go beyond this to apply rigorous knowledge of both content and pedagogy to realistic performance activities teachers and other education professionals do in schools to influence student success. All content areas are also now required to incorporate the use of appropriate technologies as they apply to teaching and to the specific content.

In addition, in August 2000, the Board adopted the performance-oriented standards of the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE 2000) for approval of all teacher education units (department of education, college of education, etc.) in the state. The NCATE standards pertain to the education unit's assessment plan, governance, resources, etc., and also incorporate the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC) standards of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) as a major component of teaching performance, as well as the recommended standards of professional associations such as the Council for Exceptional Children and National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

The combination of the NCATE 2000 standards for the teacher education colleges and the content area performance standards solidifies a change to performance accountability that the colleges of teacher education have been diligently working toward throughout this change process. Various programs in the state are already at the leading edge of these changes.

Board Member Changes

The ESPB experienced two board member changes during 1999-2000. Mary Harris, UND, Dean representative, resigned from the board in September, 1999. Doug LaPlante, DSU, was appointed by the governor as her replacement. In June 2000, Linda Davis, teacher representative, was replaced by Amy Benz from Beulah. Linda became the assistant principal at Simle Middle School in Bismarck. Amy was also one of North Dakota's first nationally certified teachers. Jack Rasmussen, Ph.D., Minot State, replaced Doug LaPlante as the representative from the teacher education programs.

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