The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, NCLB, requires that the nation’s public schools are staffed by professional educators and paraprofessionals that are highly qualified according to federal guidelines. Additionally, the federal legislation requires that local school districts publicly report the annual progress of the district and each campus served by the district in meeting the State’s measurable highly qualified teacher objectives. The state of Texas’ goal was for every teacher in the core academic content areas in the state to reach highly qualified status by the end of the 2005-2006 school year.
The core content areas that require highly qualified status include English, reading, mathematics, science, foreign languages, civics and government, economics, fine arts, history, and geography. The Texas Education Agency has defined “arts” as art, theatre, music and dance. Teachers that teach in areas outside the core content areas must still maintain appropriate content area certification for their assignment although they are not reported in the highly qualified reporting. Texas State Board of Educator certification requirements and the No Child Left Behind requirements are not always consistent. A Texas teacher may be certified in Texas, yet not meet Highly Qualified requirements under federal laws. Conversely, a teacher may meet the requirements for Highly Qualified while not meeting Texas requirements for certification.
“Highly Qualified” according to NCLB means that the teacher has obtained full Texas teacher certification, including special education; holds a minimum of a bachelor’s degree; and has demonstrated subject matter competency in each academic subject in which the teacher teaches as defined by TEA and in compliance with NCLB. The statutory definition includes additional elements that apply differently to new and experienced teachers, and to elementary and secondary teachers.
Paraprofessional requirements under No Child Left Behind mandate that all instructional aides meet paraprofessional guidelines in districts served by federal funding. Paraprofessionals serving students in an instructional setting such as a teacher’s aide in the classroom must have 48 hours of higher education, an associate’s degree or have passed a locally administered test to assess their abilities to assist students in reading and mathematics.
Additionally, No Child Left Behind legislation requirements mandate that school districts receiving federal funding must provide research based professional development to instructional staff to meet funding guidelines.
Stephenville Independent School District currently has 209 teachers teaching one or more classes in a core content area as defined by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Of those 209 teachers, all have met the qualifications to attain Highly Qualified status resulting in 100.0% of the district’s teachers being classified as “Highly Qualified”.
The following charts provide information regarding the district’s progress in meeting the federal requirement that all core area teachers are highly qualified and are provided with high quality professional development. The three areas of the report are as follows: