Candidates would have to qualify for a new type of teaching certificate

A 60-day public comment period opens Wednesday on a state Education Department proposal to create a new, temporary teaching certificate to allow certain licensed health professionals to teach health education.

The Transitional K certificate will help address a shortage of health education teachers statewide.

“It's more important than ever that students have access to quality health instruction taught by experts,” Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa stated in a release. “It just makes sense to create a pathway for medical professionals ... to bring their skills and knowledge to the classroom.”

Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said some schools are having a hard time finding and hiring qualified health education instructors and said the proposed regulation will help address that issue, while maintaining the state's high standards to obtain a teaching certificate.

To qualify, a candidate must have a bachelor's degree or higher and a valid state license and registration as a physician, physician assistant, nurse practitioner or registered professional nurse.

They must complete all workshops and have an employment and support commitment from a public or nonpublic school or BOCES.

The temporary certificate will be valid for three years, during which the holder can pursue the additional requirements needed to obtain an initial certificate in classroom teaching. Once the candidate meets the requirements for an initial certificate and completes certain additional coursework, he or she will be eligible for a professional certificate.

To get an initial certificate, candidates must complete nine semester hours of academic coursework in the following:

— Human development and learning, including, but not limited to, the impact of culture, heritage, socioeconomic level and factors in the home and community that may affect a student's readiness to learn;

— Teaching students with disabilities and special health-care needs within the general education classroom, including assistive technology; and

— Curriculum and/or instruction, including instructional technology.

They must also take and pass the Educating All Students exam and the Content Speciality Test in Health Education.

To obtain professional certification, they will also need to complete an additional nine semester hours in teaching literacy skills methods, instruction and/or assessment, and classroom management.

The notice of proposed rule making will be published Wednesday in the State Register. Comments will be accepted through May 28 at regcomments@nysed.gov.

After that, according to the release, it is anticipated the proposed amendment will be presented to the Board of Regents for adoption at its July meeting and, if approved, would go into effect on Aug. 2.