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2/26/2013 8:26:00 AM
Executive Numbered Memo: 009-2012-13 - Charter School Accountability, Achievement Compacts, Licensure/Registration, and Highly Qualified Requirements

To: All School District Superintendents, Charter School Directors

From: Heidi Sipe, Assistant Superintendent, Office of Educational Improvement and Innovation
Victoria Chamberlain, Executive Director, Teacher Standards and Practices Commission
Doris McEwen, Deputy Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Oregon Education Investment Board

Re: Joint Memorandum – Charter School Accountability, Achievement Compacts, Licensure/Registration, and Highly Qualified Requirements


This memo is intended to clarify requirements relating to charter school accountability, inclusion in achievement compacts, licensure/registration for teachers and administrators, and compliance with federal highly qualified teacher (HQT) requirements applicable in Oregon charter schools.

Charter School Accountability
Charter Schools are authorized to operate as public schools in Oregon if they meet the requirements of ORS chapter 338 and are sponsored by legislatively approved entities. The legal authorization for establishing the charter school is a charter contract, negotiated and jointly agreed to by the charter school governing board and the sponsor governing board. This agreement identifies both the terms of the charter school operation and the responsibilities of the sponsor. The governing board of the sponsoring entity must ensure that the charter agreement and charter school policies do not conflict with statutory requirements.

All public charter schools in Oregon must follow the applicable federal and state laws listed in ORS 338.115, as well as any other terms included in the charter contract or charter school policy. It is the responsibility of the charter school governing board to ensure the charter school operates according to all applicable laws. The sponsor governing board is responsible for the oversight and accountability of the charter school’s operations. The governing board of the district in which the charter school is located* maintains responsibility for special education and the provision of a free appropriate public education for students enrolled in the charter school, regardless of parental residency.

The sponsor maintains the authority to monitor, review, and renew a charter school agreement. The sponsor may also terminate a charter contract if the charter school is found to be noncompliant with applicable laws and/or the terms of the charter contract, and/or criteria listed primarily in ORS 338.065, 338.095, and 338.105. Charter schools and school districts should have a mutually agreed upon complaint process established to ensure any issues raised can be appropriately processed in a timely manner.

Achievement Compacts
SB 1581 (2011) did not explicitly give the Oregon Education Investment Board (OEIB) the authority to require charter schools to prepare achievement compacts. However, where the charter school is authorized as part of a school district (sponsored by a school district rather than the State Board of Education or an institution of higher education), the charter school’s performance must be included in the district’s achievement data. Additionally, communications regarding the district achievement compact, as required by SB 1581, should be shared with all families in the district, whether enrolled in traditional, alternative, or charter schools.

Teacher and Administrator Licensure or Registration
Pursuant to ORS 338.135(7), all charter school teachers and administrators must be licensed or registered by the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC) prior to beginning employment. In non-virtual charter schools, at least one-half of the total full-time equivalent (FTE) teaching and administrative staff must hold an active Basic, Standard, Initial, or Continuing license issued by TSPC. Teachers holding any other TSPC license, such as limited, substitute or CTE teaching licenses are not included as part of the 50% requirement. Charter schools classified as virtual charter schools (OAR 581-020-0338) have a requirement for 95% of the school’s instructional hours to be delivered by licensed and highly qualified teachers. Additionally, all virtual charter school superintendents, assistant superintendents, and principals must hold a valid TSPC license for administration (ORS 338.120).

Teachers and administrators who do not have an Oregon issued educator license must register with TSPC for employment at a specific charter school prior to beginning employment. Additionally, the educator is responsible for keeping their registration or license active at all times while they are employed by the charter school. A teacher with a TSPC license may also register with TSPC to be an administrator in a non-virtual charter school. A registered charter school administrator may not teach in a charter school without a current TSPC teaching license or registration to teach.

When a charter school calculates the FTE for licensed teaching and administrative staff to comply with ORS 338.135(7), only the time spent teaching or administering under the license may be counted toward the 50% licensure requirement. For example, if a person is licensed to teach by TSPC and also registered to administer, the license does not count toward the portion of time the person is acting as the administrator.

Highly Qualified Requirements
Public charter schools, like all public schools, must comply with the federal laws related to highly qualified teachers pursuant to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)** and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).The term “highly qualified” in both laws is based on meaning in section 9101 of the ESEA and requires educators teaching core academic subjects to be “highly qualified.” The definition of core academic subjects, found in 34 CFR §300.10 is the same as that found in ESEA and in TSPC rules for secondary teachers in grades 7 - 12*** . “Core academic subjects specifically refer to English, reading or language arts, mathematics, science, foreign languages, civics and government, economics, arts, history, and geography.”

The legal requirement for all teachers teaching core academic content in a public school is:
  1. a minimum of a bachelor’s degree,
  2. full-state licensure (or registry for charter school teachers) that has not been waived on an emergency, temporary, or provisional basis, and
  3. demonstrated subject matter competency in the core academic subjects they are teaching.

Highly Qualified Elementary Teachers (whether registered or licensed and teaching in grades K-6) must demonstrate subject matter passage of the state adopted elementary multiple subjects test. If licensed prior to June 30, 2007 with at least three years of experience teaching obtained before June 30, 2009, teachers may be eligible through the state-adopted High Objective Uniform State Standard of Evaluation (HOUSSE).

Highly Qualified Secondary Teachers (whether registered or licensed and teaching grades 7-12) must demonstrate subject matter coholding a bachelor’s degree with a major in the core academic subject or subjects; holding an advanced degree in the core content; a passing score on the state approved rigorous content exam; or, if an educator was licensed prior to June 30, 2007 with at least three years of experience teaching obtained before June 30, 2009, they may be eligible through the state-adopted High Objective Uniform State Standard of Evaluation (HOUSSE).

If you have additional questions regarding charter schools, please contact ODE at: Margaret.Bates@state.or.us eMail or Kate.Pattison@state.or.us eMail.

If you have additional questions regarding teacher and administrator licensure or registration, please contact TSPC at: contact.TSPC@state.or.us eMail.

If you have additional questions regarding highly qualified teacher (HQT) requirements, please contact ODE at: Janet.Bubl@state.or.us eMail.

If you have additional questions regarding highly qualified teacher (HQT) requirements for special education teachers, please contact ODE at: RaeAnn.Ray@state.or.us eMail.

If you have additional questions regarding achievement compacts, please contact Whitney Grubbs at: Whitney.Grubbs@state.or.us eMail.


* ORS 338.165
** At the time the Highly Qualified requirements were added, the statute was identified as The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (P.L. 107-110, sec. 9101(23)(A)(i)).
*** English (Language Arts); Reading or Language Arts (Reading or Language Arts); Mathematics (Basic or Advanced Mathematics); Science (Integrated Science, Biology, Chemistry, or Physics); Foreign Languages (Spanish, French, German); Civics and Government (Social Studies); Economics (Social Studies); Arts (Art or Music); History (Social Studies); and Geography (Social Studies). [TSPC endorsements are in parentheses next to subjects and indicate highly qualified in the core academic subject listed. A teacher may also be highly qualified without a recorded endorsement as long as they have demonstrated subject matter competency as allowable by law.]
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Contact(s) for this Announcement
  • Margaret Bates Email    (503) 947-5688
    Educator Effectiveness - Education Program Specialist
  • Janet Bubl Email    (503) 947-5687
    Operations, Data & Planning - Ed. Specialist, Title I-A & Title VI B
  • Rae Ann Ray Email    (503) 947-5722
    IDEA Compliance & District Resources - General Supervision Specialist
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