Professional Development requirements | TCTA
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Professional Development requirements

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A Texas public school district has the discretion to determine the number of days of the teacher contract year to devote to staff development and teacher preparation days. Staff development must be predominantly campus based and must be developed and approved by the campus site-based decision-making committee.

In designing staff development, a school district must use procedures that, to the greatest extent possible, ensure the training incorporates proactive instructional planning techniques using a flexible framework that:

  • reduces barriers in instruction;
  • provides appropriate accommodations, supports, and challenges;
  • maintains high achievement expectations for all students, including students with disabilities and students of limited English proficiency; and
  • integrates inclusive and evidence-based instructional practices for all students, including students with disabilities.

The staff development provided by a school district may include training in:

(A) technology and digital learning; and

(B) positive behavior intervention and support strategies, including classroom management, district discipline policies, and the student code of conduct adopted under Chapter 37.

The district also may use staff development that is designed and approved by the district-level site-based decision-making committee. The district must provide scientifically based staff development relating to the instruction of students with disabilities to educators who work primarily outside of special education and who do not possess the knowledge and skills necessary to implement the individualized education programs of students receiving instruction from the educators.

School districts must provide training in the following:

  • suicide prevention;
  • strategies for establishing and maintaining positive relationships among students, including conflict resolution; and
  • preventing, identifying, responding to and reporting incidents of bullying.

This training must use a program based upon best practices and recommended by the Health and Human Services Commission/TEA. The training may include two or more of the listed topics together (a TCTA-initiated provision).

The suicide prevention training may be satisfied through independent review of suicide prevention training material that complies with TEA guidelines and is offered online.

Districts must increase awareness and implementation of trauma-informed care through a training program selected from the list established under Section 38.351, Education Code. The training must address how grief and trauma affect student learning and behavior and how evidence-based, grief-informed, and trauma-informed strategies support the academic success of students. In addition, the training must be provided as part of any new employee orientation for all new school district educators. For existing educators, districts must follow the requirements outlined in Senate Bill 1267 (see the box on page 27). School districts are required to maintain records of district staff members who participated in the training.

Prevention techniques for and recognition of sexual abuse, trafficking and all other maltreatment of children also must be provided, as part of new employee orientation, to all new school district and open-enrollment charter school employees. For existing educators, districts and charter schools must follow the requirements outlined in SB 1267. The district must maintain records that include the school staff members who participated in the training.

Early mental health intervention and suicide prevention training must be provided to teachers, counselors, principals and other appropriate personnel in accordance with the requirement of SB 1267. (The training is required at elementary campuses only to the extent sufficient funding and programs are available.) The district must maintain records that include the district employees who participated in the training.

All school nurses, and other school employees in regular contact with students must complete a TEA-approved online course of instruction regarding seizure recognition and related first aid.

Training on use of the bleeding control station is required for school district peace officers, security personnel and any other personnel who might reasonably be expected to use a bleeding control station.

School districts may require school district employees who have access to a local government computer system or database to complete a cybersecurity training program, but only the district’s cybersecurity coordinator is required to complete annual training.

District-offered staff development also may count toward the continuing professional education requirement for standard certification. However, it is the teacher, not the district, who determines whether any district-offered staff development also will count toward the teacher’s required CPE hours.

School safety training

State law requires school district/open-enrollment charter school multihazard operations plan to include:

  • emergency response training for district employees, including substitute teachers; and
  • training on integrating psychological safety and suicide prevention strategies into the district’s plan from an approved list of recommended training established by the commissioner and the Texas School Safety Center for members of the school safety and security committee, counselors, mental health professionals, educators, and other district personnel as determined by the district.

Threat assessment and safe and supportive school program teams must report to TEA the number and percentage of school personnel trained in suicide prevention or grief/trauma-informed practices, mental health or psychological first aid for schools, training related to a safe/supportive school program or any other program identified by the commissioner.

School districts are required to maintain records that include the name of each district staff member that participated in the training and must report annually to TEA the number of teachers, principals and counselors employed by the district who completed the training and the total number of teachers, principals and counselors employed by the district.

Literacy achievement academies

All school districts/open-enrollment charters must ensure that, not later than the end of the 2022-23 school year, each K-3 classroom teacher has attended a teacher literacy achievement academy. New teachers must attend an academy by the end of their first year of assignment in those grades.

Teachers holding all-level certification in art, health education, music, physical education, speech communication and theater arts, or theater, are exempt from the requirement.

The completion of a literacy achievement academy by an educator who teaches students with dyslexia satisfies the CPE requirement for educators who instruct students with dyslexia and a training requirement adopted by the State Board of Education related to the screening or treatment of a student for dyslexia or a related disorder.

Assessment training

Legislation passed in 2021 prohibits TEA from requiring annual assessment training for anyone other than the campus test coordinator; however, the campus test coordinator can require other employees to repeat assessment training.

Additionally, TEA may not require a school district employee to repeat training or online calibration activities related to administering the Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment (TELPAS), unless the administration of or assessment using TELPAS has changed significantly since the employee completed the training. The school district employee assigned to oversee TELPAS administration at a campus may, at their discretion, require other district employees involved in administering the TELPAS to complete training or online calibration activities.

A school district employee may not be required to complete a training or online calibration activity in one sitting.

School Districts must adopt professional learning policies

Senate Bill 1267, passed in 2021, established a new framework for and approach to educator professional learning. The bill slimmed down teacher training requirements with the goal of enabling educators to more freely select training opportunities to improve their craft.

The bill requires the State Board for Educator Certification to publish a clearinghouse of all educator training requirements, with best practices and industry-based frequency recommendations for local boards to consider annually in adopting their local professional development policies. The annual policy adopted by local school boards must note any differences in the policy adopted by the district or open-enrollment charter school from the recommendations in the clearinghouse. It also must include a schedule of all training required for educators or other school personnel at the district or school (effective Aug. 1, 2022).

For more on SB 1267, click here.