TITLE 14

Education

Free Public Schools

CHAPTER 12. EDUCATOR LICENSURE, CERTIFICATION, EVALUATION, PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT, AND PREPARATION PROGRAMS

Subchapter II. Three-Tiered Licensure System


(a) An initial license is valid for 3 years unless revoked. The Department shall issue an initial license under this section if an applicant demonstrates that the applicant has received a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited 4-year college or university, has achieved a passing score on an examination of general knowledge has achieved a passing score on both a content-readiness exam and a performance assessment as specified by the Department, in collaboration with Delaware educators, the Professional Standards Board, and the State Board of Education, no later than July 1, 2015, and has either completed a student teaching program or meets any 1 of the following alternatives to student teaching:

(1) One year of teaching experience consisting of a minimum of 91 days of long-term teaching experience in 1 assignment, except that this provision shall not apply to applicants seeking an initial license to teach in a core content area. For the purposes of this section, "core content area" means any subject area tested by the state assessment system, including mathematics, English/language arts, science, and social studies. Experience in the Alternative Routes to Licensure and Certification Program or the Special Institute for Teacher Licensure and Certification Program may not be used to meet this alternative; or

(2) The applicant is enrolled and participating in the Alternative Routes to Licensure and Certification Program pursuant to subchapter VI of this chapter of this title; or

(3) The applicant is enrolled and participating in the Special Institute for Teacher Licensure and Certification pursuant to subchapter V of this chapter; or

(4) The applicant is applying for an initial license and certification as a specialist and completes a supervised practical experience in the specialty area equivalent to student teaching as recognized pursuant to rules and regulations promulgated and adopted pursuant to this chapter. Equivalent practical experience in the specialty area may include but is not limited to a supervised internship, a practicum, or clinical experience. For purposes of this section, "specialist" means an educator other than a teacher recognized pursuant to rules and regulations promulgated and adopted pursuant to this chapter who is eligible to apply for both licensure and certification from the State to engage in other related professional support services.

(b) If a licensee intends to apply for a continuing license, the licensee shall, prior to the expiration of that licensee's initial license, complete professional development and mentoring activities as may be required by rules and regulations promulgated and adopted pursuant to this chapter.

(c) Pursuant to rules and regulations promulgated and adopted pursuant to this chapter, the Department may issue an initial license to an applicant with less than 3 years of teaching experience who is licensed as an educator in another jurisdiction or to an applicant who previously held a valid Delaware certificate that has since expired.

(d) An initial license may not be renewed. It may, however, be extended pursuant to § 1216 of this title.

(e) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (a), (c), (d), and this subsection of this section, an initial license may be issued for a period of up to 6 years for applicants in a vocational trade and industry area to complete specified college level course work required for certification. Such applicants must achieve a passing score on an examination of general knowledge such as Praxis I prior to the expiration of initial licensure.

(f) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (a) through (e) of this section, the Department may issue an initial license to an applicant for school nurse who meets all other requirements for initial licensure except for passage of an examination of general knowledge, provided that the applicant must pass and examination of general knowledge within one calendar year of the date of hire. If proof of passage of an examination of general knowledge has not been provided during the time period specified, the initial license will be suspended and may be able to be reviewed by the Secretary of Education per CDR 14-1500-1511.

(g) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (a) and (c ) of this section, the Department shall issue an initial license to an applicant who meets the criteria for meritorious new teacher candidate designation adopted pursuant to § 1203 of this title.

(h) [Repealed.]

72 Del. Laws, c. 294, § 2; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 73 Del. Laws, c. 20, § 1; 73 Del. Laws, c. 84, § 2; 74 Del. Laws, c. 14, §§ 1-3; 75 Del. Laws, c. 77, §§ 4, 5; 79 Del. Laws, c. 42, § 2; 79 Del. Laws, c. 288, § 1.;

(a) A continuing license is valid for 5 years unless extended pursuant to § 1216 of this title or revoked.

(b) Upon application, the Department shall issue a continuing license to an educator holding an initial license if the educator has successfully completed the requirements of § 1210 of this title and has not received more than 1 unsatisfactory annual evaluation, as defined by the State-approved educator performance system, during the period of initial licensure.

(c) Pursuant to rules and regulations promulgated and adopted pursuant to this chapter, the Department may issue a continuing license to an applicant licensed as an educator in another jurisdiction or to an applicant who previously held a valid Delaware certificate that has since expired. The applicant must have completed 3 or more years of successful teaching experience.

72 Del. Laws, c. 294, § 2; 74 Del. Laws, c. 14, § 4; 75 Del. Laws, c. 77, § 6.;

Upon application, the Department shall renew a continuing license for an additional 5-year term if the educator has completed 90 clock-hours of approved professional development, as well as other professional development and/or mentoring requirements as may be required by the rules and regulations promulgated and adopted pursuant to this chapter. For the purpose of this section, "clock-hour" means actual time spent in professional development, not credit hours. The Standards Board shall review the professional development requirements of this section on an ongoing basis for the purpose of proposing regulations that modify the minimum requirements of this section and that improve the effectiveness of professional development. Notwithstanding any provisions of this section to the contrary, the Standards Board may not modify the minimum clock-hour requirement of this section until January 1, 2003. The professional development required by this chapter for license renewal may be waived if the educator has successfully completed the professional development requirements pursuant to an approved local school district professional development pilot plan. The Secretary, after consultation with the Professional Standards Board, may approve one pilot local school district's professional development plan, submitted within twelve months of enactment of this Bill, if the pilot plan was developed and agreed upon by the district, ratified by the organization representing the district's teachers for collective bargaining purposes, and the pilot plan is at least as rigorous as the professional development requirements under this chapter. A pilot local professional development plan approved under this section shall be considered a 3-year pilot professional development plan. After 3 years, the local school district may seek to have the pilot professional development plan continued pursuant to § 1203 of this Chapter.

72 Del. Laws, c. 294, § 2; 72 Del. Laws, c. 295, § 1.;

An advanced license is valid for up to 10 years unless extended pursuant to § 1216 of this title or revoked. Upon application, the Department shall issue an advanced license to an educator who receives National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certification. The term of the advanced license be the same as the balance of the term of the educator's National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certification. The Department may also issue an advanced license to an educator who, upon application, demonstrates proficiency under an equivalent program that has been approved in rules and regulations promulgated and adopted under this chapter.

72 Del. Laws, c. 294, § 2; 75 Del. Laws, c. 77, §§ 7, 8.;

Upon application, the Department shall renew an advanced license for an additional 10-year term, provided that the educator maintained proficiency under the program for which the advanced license was first issued.

72 Del. Laws, c. 294, § 2.;

The Department shall issue a continuing license to a person holding a Delaware certificate issued by an education certifying board prior to July 13, 1971, or upon the expiration of a professional status certificate or standard certificate issued by the Department. Upon application, the Department shall issue an advanced license to a person holding current National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certification and a current Delaware certificate as of May 3, 2000.

72 Del. Laws, c. 294, § 2; 74 Del. Laws, c. 14, § 5.;

(a) Upon a showing by an educator of exigent circumstances, the Department may, through rules and regulations promulgated and adopted pursuant to this chapter, issue a license extension for a period not to exceed 1 year.

(b) An educator may take an extended leave of absence for up to 3 years with no effect upon the validity or expiration of the educator's initial, continuing or advanced license.

(c) If an applicant is not employed by a public school district or charter school, the initial license shall be inactive until such time as the applicant is employed by a public school district or charter school. Once employed, the initial license shall be in effect for 3 years and all rules and regulations promulgated and adopted under this chapter shall apply.

(d) The expiration of an educator's license before the end of the school year shall be considered an exigent circumstance under subsection (a) of this section and the educator's license shall be extended until the end of that school year. Notwithstanding any extension, the effective date of any renewed license shall be the original expiration date.

72 Del. Laws, c. 294, § 2; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 74 Del. Laws, c. 14, § 6; 75 Del. Laws, c. 77, § 9.;

(a) Pursuant to rules and regulations promulgated and adopted pursuant to this chapter, the Department may deny an applicant's application for a license for failure to meet the qualifications for a license. The Department may further deny a license to an applicant who otherwise meets the requirements of this subchapter for any of the causes enumerated in § 1218(a) and (b) of this title.

(b) The Department shall not take action to deny a license under this section without providing the applicant with written notice of the reasons for denial and with an opportunity for a full and fair hearing before the Standards Board.

(c) In any hearing before the Standards Board to challenge action taken under this section, the Standards Board shall have the power to administer oaths, order the taking of depositions, issue subpoenas, and compel attendance of witnesses and the production of books, accounts, papers, records, documents, and testimony.

(d) The burden of proof in a license denial action is on the applicant to show by a preponderance of the evidence that the applicant should not be denied a license because that applicant meets the qualifications for licensure pursuant to the applicable laws and regulations.

72 Del. Laws, c. 294, § 2; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 76 Del. Laws, c. 268, § 1.;

(a) The Secretary may suspend, revoke, or limit a license that has been issued to any person pursuant to this chapter, for the following causes:

(1) Obtaining or attempting to obtain a license or certificate by fraudulent means or through misrepresentation of material facts;

(2) Falsifying official school records, documents, statistics, or reports;

(3) Knowingly violating any of the provisions of the state assessment system set forth in § 172 of this title;

(4) Pleading guilty or nolo contendere with respect to, or is convicted of, any crime against a child constituting a misdemeanor, except for unlawful sexual contact in the third degree [§ 767 of Title 11];

(5) Pleading guilty or nolo contendere with respect to, or is convicted of, possession of a controlled substance or a counterfeit controlled substance classified as such in Schedule I, II, III, IV or V of Chapter 47 of Title 16;

(6) Being terminated or dismissed for immorality, incompetence, misconduct in office, wilful neglect of duty, disloyalty, or misconduct involving any cause for suspension or revocation of a license provided for in this section;

(7) Resigning or retiring pending dismissal for immorality, provided that clear and convincing evidence establishes the underlying misconduct occurred; or

(8) Having had a license or certificate suspended, revoked, or voluntarily surrendered in another jurisdiction for cause which would be grounds for suspension or revocation under this section.

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, the Secretary shall revoke a license if the license holder:

(1) Pleads guilty or nolo contendere with respect to, or is convicted of:

a. Any crime constituting the manufacture, delivery, possession with intent to manufacture or deliver a controlled substance or a counterfeit controlled substance classified as such in Schedule I, II, III, IV or V of Chapter 47 of Title 16;

b. Any crime constituting a violent felony as defined in § 4201(c) of Title 11;

c. Any crime against a child constituting a felony, or unlawful sexual contact in the third degree [§ 767 of Title 11];

d. Any crime constituting a felony sexual offense; or

e. Any crime constituting a felony offense against public administration involving bribery, improper influence or abuse of office; or

(2) Is terminated or dismissed for a sexual offense against a child; or

(3) Resigns or retires after official notice of allegations of a sexual offense against a child, provided that clear and convincing evidence establishes the underlying misconduct occurred.

(c) The Secretary may automatically suspend any license without a prior hearing if the license holder is arrested or indicted by a grand jury for a violent felony as defined in § 4201(c) of Title 11. A suspension under this subsection is effective on the date of the arrest or grand jury indictment.

(1) For a suspension under this subsection, the Secretary shall issue a written temporary order of suspension to the license holder at that license holder's last known address.

(2) The chief school officer or head of school, on behalf of the local board of education or charter school board of directors, shall report to the Secretary the name and last known address of any license holder employed by the district or charter school who it knows to have been arrested or indicted by a grand jury for a violent felony as defined in § 4201(c) of Title 11.

(3) A license holder whose license has been suspended pursuant to this subsection may request an expedited hearing before the Standards Board within 20 calendar days from the date the notice of the Secretary's decision to temporarily suspend the license holder's license was mailed. In the event that the license holder requests an expedited hearing in a timely manner, the Standards Board shall convene a hearing within 90 days of the receipt of such a request.

(4) If the license holder pleads guilty or nolo contendere with respect to, or is convicted of, a violent felony as defined in § 4201(c) of Title 11, the Secretary shall proceed with revocation under subsection (b) of this section.

(5) If the license holder is found not guilty of the underlying criminal charges, a nolle prosequi is entered on the record by the State, or the charges are otherwise dismissed by the court, the license holder may file a written request for license reinstatement, including documentation of the final status of the judicial proceeding, and their license shall be reinstated If the license expired during the period of suspension, the holder of the former license may reapply for the same tier license that was suspended, but shall meet the license requirements that are in effect at the time of the application for license.

(6) An order of suspension under this subsection shall remain in effect until the final order of the Secretary or the Standards Board becomes effective.

(d) The Secretary may take an action under subsection (a), (b), or (c) of this section on the basis of substantially comparable conduct occurring in a jurisdiction outside this state or occurring before a person applies for or receives any license.

(e) Any license holder who has pled guilty or nolo contendere to, or has been convicted of, a crime in a court of law which would constitute grounds for revocation, suspension or limitation of license under subsection (a) or (b) of this section or has been arrested or indicted by a grand jury for a violent felony as defined in § 4201(c) of Title 11, shall notify the Secretary of such action in writing within 20 days of such conviction, arrest or indictment, whether or not a sentence has been imposed. Failure to do so shall be grounds on which the Secretary may limit, suspend, or revoke the holder's license.

(f) Any license holder who has surrendered an educator license or any professional license or certificate or who has had such a license or certificate revoked, suspended, or limited in any jurisdiction or by any agency shall notify the Secretary of such action in writing within 30 days of such action. Failure to do so shall be grounds on which the Secretary may limit, suspend or revoke the holder's license.

(g) The chief school officer or head of school, on behalf of the local board of education or charter school board of directors, shall report to the Secretary the name and last known address of any license holder who is dismissed, resigns, retires or is otherwise separated from employment with that district or charter school after having received notice of misconduct that constitutes grounds for revocation or suspension under subsection (a), (b), or (c) of this section. Such report shall be made within 15 days of the dismissal, resignation, retirement or other separation from employment and is required notwithstanding any termination agreement to the contrary that the local board of education or charter school board of directors may enter into with the license holder. The reasons for the license holder's dismissal, resignation, retirement or other separation from employment with the district or charter school shall also be provided along with all evidence that was reviewed by or is in the possession of the district or charter school relating to the dismissal, resignation, retirement, or other separation from employment. The Department shall give written notice to any license holder of any notification received under this subsection to the license holder's last known address. Such notification shall be made within 15 days of receipt of the district or charter school's report to the Department of misconduct under this subsection. The obligation to report also applies when a chief school officer or head of school acquires relevant information after a license holder's dismissal, resignation, retirement, or other separation from employment. Failure to make such reports shall be grounds on which the Secretary may limit, suspend, or revoke the chief school officer's or head of school's license. All information obtained from the chief school officer or head of school shall be confidential and shall not considered public records under Delaware's Freedom of Information Act [Chapter 100 of Title 29].

(h) The Secretary may investigate any information received about a person that reasonably appears to be the basis for action under subsections (a) through (c) of this section. The Secretary shall not investigate anonymous complaints. The Department shall give written notice within a reasonable period of time to a license holder of any investigation initiated hereunder to the license holder's last known address. All information obtained during an investigation is confidential and shall not be considered public records under Delaware's Freedom of Information Act [Chapter 100 of Title 29]. The Secretary shall review the results of each investigation and shall determine whether the results warrant initiating action under subsection (a), (b), or (c) of this section.

(i) Whenever the basis of for action under subsection (a) or (b) of this section is a guilty plea, nolo contendere with respect to, or a conviction of a crime, a copy of the record of the plea, nolo contendere or conviction certified by the clerk of the court entering the plea, nolo contendere or conviction shall be conclusive evidence thereof.

(j) The Secretary may enter a consent agreement with a person against whom action is being taken under subsection (a), (b), or (c) of this section.

(k) The Secretary shall not take action against a person under subsection (a) or (b) of this section without providing the person with written notice of the charges and with an opportunity for a full and fair hearing before the Standards Board. Notice shall be sent to the person's last known address. The license holder shall have 30 calendar days from the date the notice of the charges was mailed to make a written request for a hearing. Unless otherwise provided for in this section, the burden of proof in a license disciplinary action shall be on the agency taking official action to establish by preponderance of the evidence that the license holder has engaged in misconduct as defined by subsections (a) and (b) of this section or otherwise has failed to comply with the applicable laws and regulations relating to the retention of the license. If no written request for a hearing is received by the Standards Board, the license holder's license shall be deemed to be revoked, suspended, or limited and the holder shall be so notified.

(l) A license may be suspended for a period of time not to exceed 5 years. The license may be reinstated by the Secretary, upon written request, with verification that all requirements for license renewal have been satisfied. If the license expired during the period of suspension, the holder of the former license may reapply for the same tier license that was suspended but shall meet the license requirements that are in effect at the time of the application for the license.

(m) If any of the causes listed in subsection (a) or (b) of this section are determined, the Secretary or the Standards Board after a hearing, may put limitations on a license that may include but is not limited to:

(1) Restrictions on the ages of students with whom the license holder may work;

(2) Additional supervision requirements; or

(3) Education, counseling, or psychiatric examination requirements.

(n) If a decision of license limitation, suspension or revocation is based on paragraph (a)(4), (a)(5), or (b)(1) of this section, and if the plea or conviction is overturned and there is no subsequent proceeding leading to a plea or conviction, the individual whose license is limited, suspended or revoked may file a written request for reinstatement, including documentation of the final status of the judicial proceeding, and the license shall be reinstated.

(o) An individual whose license has been revoked under subsection (a) of this section may petition the Secretary for reinstatement of the license not sooner than 5 years from the date of revocation. The individual shall submit to the Secretary a written petition showing credible evidence, by affidavit or otherwise, of the factors set forth in paragraph (o)(1) of this section.

(1) The Secretary shall consider all of the following criteria in evaluating a petition for reinstatement and shall only grant such a petition if it is in the best interest of the public schools of the State:

a. The nature and circumstances of the individual's original misconduct;

b. The individual's subsequent conduct and rehabilitation;

c. The individual's present character; and

d. The individual's present qualifications and competence to engage in the practice of instruction, administration or other related professional support services.

(2) A former license holder is entitled to a full and fair hearing before the Standards Board to challenge a denial of reinstatement pursuant to this subsection.

(3) A license revoked under subsection (b) of this section or suspended under subsection (c) of this section may not be reinstated under this subsection. A license revoked under paragraph (b)(1) of this section may only be reinstated pursuant to subsection (n) of this section and a license suspended under subsection (c) of this section may only be reinstated pursuant to paragraph (c)(5) of this section or after a hearing before the Standards Board.

(p) In any hearing before the Standards Board to challenge action taken under this section, the Standards Board shall have the power to administer oaths, order the taking of depositions, issue subpoenas, and compel attendance of witnesses and the production of books, accounts, papers, records, documents, and testimony.

(q) Notice of the limitation, revocation, suspension or reinstatement of a license shall be made by the Secretary, or the Secretary's designee, to all chief state school officers of the other states and territories of the United States.

(r) All communications between a license holder and the Department or Standards Board provided for in this section shall be by certified mail, with a return receipt requested.

(s) For purposes of this section only, the term "license" shall include a Standard or Professional Status Certificate issued by the Department prior to August 31, 2003, an initial license issued pursuant to § 1210 of this title, a continuing license issued pursuant to § 1211 of this title, or an advanced license issued pursuant to § 1213 of this title.

72 Del. Laws, c. 294, § 2; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 71 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 75 Del. Laws, c. 77, § 10; 76 Del. Laws, c. 268, § 2; 78 Del. Laws, c. 53, § 45.;

Pursuant to the rules and regulations promulgated and adopted under this chapter, the Department shall require each applicant for a license under this chapter to disclose that applicant's own criminal conviction history. Failure to disclose a criminal conviction history pursuant to this section is grounds for denial of a license under § 1217 of this title, revocation of a license under § 1218 of this title, and/or criminal prosecution under subchapter VI (Criminal Background Check for Public School Related Employment) of Chapter 85 of Title 11.

72 Del. Laws, c. 294, § 2; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;