High Quality Staff in Title I Schools
Instruction by high quality staff fosters student learning.
The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) recognizes the importance of high quality instruction to advance students’ learning and close achievement gaps.
What Are High Quality Staff?
Based on the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) in December 2015, also known as the Every Student Succeeds Act, individual states are responsible for setting qualification requirements for staff to be considered “high quality." In Virginia, teachers must have an appropriate college degree and hold a state license with endorsement in the content areas they teach. Additionally, instructional assistants in Title I schoolwide models must have a high school diploma and must have an associate's degree or higher, two years of successful college study, or a passing score on a state or local paraprofessional assessment. The FCPS Department of Human Resources has put practices in place to ensure all teachers and instructional assistants hired in Title I schools meet these requirements at the time of hire.
Equitable Access to High Quality Staff
FCPS ensures students in Title I schools have equitable access to high quality, outstanding teachers and staff. FCPS annually hires competent teachers and staff who are committed to fostering educational excellence. Title I schools are given access to all early hire candidates in order to ensure the most highly skilled teachers are available to serve in these schools. Through job fairs, collaboration with college personnel, and a variety of incentives, recruitment specialists in the FCPS Department of Human Resources continue to build a core of effective teachers for all schools. In addition, Human Resources staff monitor on an ongoing basis to ensure all teachers maintain appropriate licensure.
All parents in Title I schools may request information regarding the professional qualifications of their children’s classroom teachers. Each August or September, schools send parents notification of their right to this information. Parents have the right to request information on: college and graduate school preparation, including degrees and major fields of study for each degree held; licensure status, including subject and grade level endorsements; and whether those licenses meet the requirements for the subjects or grade levels taught.
The annual notification also advises parents that they have the right to request information about the qualifications of any instructional assistant who provides services to their children. Finally, the notice directs parents on how to access additional school and division performance and teacher quality data within the school quality profile published annually by the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE). See also the “Reporting on Staff Expertise” section below.
In addition to this annual notice for all parents, parents in Title I schools will be promptly notified by the school if at any time their children receive instruction for four or more consecutive weeks from a teacher or substitute teacher who does not meet state licensure expectations for the area of instruction.
Reporting on Staff Expertise
Based on federal guidance for the transition to the newly reauthorized Every Student Succeeds Act amendment to ESEA, divisions and states are not required to report on the credentials of paraprofessionals during 2016-17. However, FCPS continues to monitor and maintain expectations for all teachers and paraprofessionals in Title I schools to meet the qualification criteria indicated in the “What Are High Quality Staff” section above.