Professional Development & Training | TCTA
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Professional Development & Training

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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:

  • technology;
  • positive behavior intervention and support strategies, including classroom management, district discipline policies, and the student code of conduct adopted under Chapter 37; and
  • 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.

Read more on the requirements

USDE finalizes teacher stipends for self-selected professional development

TCTA testifies about reducing teacher training requirements


Reading academies

House Bill 3 requires all classroom teachers and principals in grades K-3 to complete reading academies. While the target for completion was the 2021-22 school year, a bill passed in 2021 now allows districts through the 2022-23 school year to train current staff.

All K-3 teachers and principals must register for the literacy academies, but there are some exemptions and additional options.

Exemptions/options

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

Teachers who participated in the 2018-19 READ Grant can count their participation toward the HB 3 literacy requirement.

TEA also is offering a Fast Track option for skilled participants that requires district-level approval. According to TEA’s Reading Academy Authorized Provider FAQ Page, “the participant will be tasked with successfully passing all 7 artifacts on their first attempt. If they do not pass any single artifact, they will not pass the course, and will be required to enroll in a blended or comprehensive course. The district will not be refunded the cost of the Fast Track course.”

Per TEA, the Fast Track option is recommended for highly skilled reading teachers with prior certifications or licensures related to reading or dyslexia intervention. This option was available after Sept. 15, 2020.

Providers

Districts may work with anyone on the Authorized Providers List in Texas, including all 20 regional education service centers.

Reading Academy design

TEA has authorized two models: a comprehensive model and a blended model (click here for more information). Both cover the same content using the same learning management system, provide a cohort leader (either a blended facilitator or a comprehensive coach) to guide participants through the process), require submission of the same artifacts, require moderated grading of artifacts, and are completed over a period of 11 months.

After choosing the delivery model(s), districts then have two implementation options:

  1. partner with an authorized provider (AP) to facilitate Reading Academies or
  2. local implementation, which requires districts to enter into a memorandum of understanding with an AP and hire/train their own Reading Academies cohort leader(s). With this option, districts that already employ qualified staff who can act as reading academy cohort leaders can execute a memorandum of understanding with an approved provider. A district will pay a fee per cohort leader to the provider to obtain reading academy infrastructure and training. That cohort leader will ensure all K-3 teachers and principals complete the training.

The cost per participant for the blended model is $400, while the cost per participant in the comprehensive model is $3,000.

Regardless of the model chosen, TEA anticipates that between training and demonstrating understanding and application of concepts, it will take participants about 60 hours/11 months to complete the academies.

Districts can choose which model their K-3 teachers and principals attend and by which year before the deadline they complete the academies.

Participants who fail to demonstrate proficiency or to complete the requirements can be re-enrolled in a new cohort.

Reading Academy content

Reading Academy course modules are available via an online portal (CANVAS platform).

There are 12 modules, and performance tasks (e.g. artifacts) are embedded within modules. There are six artifacts. For example, at the end of Module 6, Phonological Awareness, teachers will video themselves providing a very brief phonological awareness lesson using the gradual release of responsibility framework. Two of the artifacts will be graded by cohort leaders, while the remainder will be graded by the CANVAS platform.

Cohort leaders

Cohort leaders must meet certain TEA qualifications, including demonstrating proficiency via a centralized TEA screening, and must have served as a teacher in grades K-5 for three or more years across their career.

In addition to demonstrating proficiency on the screening assessment, the cohort leader must be hired either directly by an approved provider or by a district that has signed a memorandum of understanding with an approved provider to implement the academy locally.

School districts can work with their authorized providers to form and register cohorts of participants. If a school district is an authorized provider, it can form cohorts as well.

Funding

School districts receive several new funding sources in HB 3 that can be used to support reading instruction, including paying for teacher attendance at reading academies. TEA strongly encourages school districts to structure the reading academies within designated campuswide professional development and/or professional learning community days to ensure that staff has ample opportunity to complete the required content and to keep costs down.