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. It may include training in:

(A) technology;

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

(C) digital learning;

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;
  • recognizing signs of mental health conditions and substance abuse;
  • strategies for establishing and maintaining positive relationships among students, including conflict resolution;
  • 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 affected by grief and trauma; and
  • preventing, identifying, responding to and reporting incidents of bullying.

This training must be provided on an annual basis as part of employee orientation to all new school district/open-enrollment charter school educators and to existing school district/open-enrollment charter school educators on a schedule adopted by TEA, and must use a best practice-based program 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 program selected from the list of recommended best practice-based programs and research-based practices established under Section 161.325, Health and Safety Code. The law includes TCTA-initiated provisions that the training must only be provided as part of any new employee orientation for all new school district educators, and to existing school district educators on a schedule adopted by the agency by rule that requires educators to be trained at intervals necessary to keep educators informed of developments in the field. School districts are required to maintain records that include the name of each staff member that participated in the training and must report annually to TEA the number of teachers, principals and counselors employed by the district and the total who completed 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 and to existing employees on a schedule adopted by TEA until all employees have taken the training. The district must maintain records naming each employee who participated in the training.

Early mental health intervention and suicide prevention training must be provided to teachers, counselors, principals and other appropriate personnel. (The training is required at elementary campuses only to the extent sufficient funding and programs are available.) The district must maintain records naming each employee who received in the training, with relevant employees receiving the training at least once.

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.

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

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

Recent legislation 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 subsequently must attend an academy prior to 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.