Do I as a beginning teacher have to participate in BTSA (Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment Program)? Do I have to get the CLAD or BCLAD certificate? The answers are not always a simple "yes" or "no"
The BTSA program was designed by the State Department of Education and the Commission on Teacher Credentialing to provide a support system for preliminary or clear credentialed beginning teachers (first- and second- year) in public education and also ensure that these new teachers develop competency in the California Standards for the Teaching profession. Although currently the program is "voluntary", probationary teachers are strongly encouraged to participate in the program. The BTSA program utilizes CFASST (California Formative Assessment and Support System for Teachers); it is a support and formative assessment process designed to assist beginning teachers’ professional development. The support and assessment system is both structured and flexible, and consists of a series of events that focus teachers through a "plan, teach, reflect, apply" process, that blends teaching knowledge with performance. Those involved the administration of the program, the BTSA support providers, are aware that the "kits" involve an incredible amount of paperwork and have made every effort to reduce this burden. Reluctance to participate in this program could negatively impact a beginning teacher’s progress toward tenure especially if the beginning teacher demonstrates weaknesses in knowledge of subject matter, teaching methodologies or instructional strategies. Effective January l, 2003, as a result of SB2042, beginning teachers must successfully participate in and complete BTSA as part of a new teacher induction program that leads to a clear credential.
What about the CLAD (Cross-cultural, Language, and Academic DevelAopment) Certificate? Why is there the emphasis on obtaining the CLAD? Two principle reasons - Comitй and the Office of Civil Rights. All students must have equal access to the curriculum and the expertise of all teachers. There could be serious consequences if all ELL (English Language Learners) students were grouped into special classes --- discrimination issues.
Since July of 1996 new hires in many districts have signed contracts indicating that they will make progress toward obtaining the CLAD. Since January of 2000 all new hires have committed to obtaining the CLAD within the first three years of employment.
Newly hired, certificated employees must complete 30 hours of training by the end of the school year in which they are hired to satisfy their contractual agreement. Evidence of progress towards completion of the CLAD certificate must be submitted annually to the Human Resources Division. To remain in the "in training" status, a teacher must continue to work toward the CLAD yearly until the CLAD Certificate is earned. Per their contract, as part of their continued employment they will be required to obtain CLAD authorization by the end of the third year of employment.
There are a variety of programs to meet the CLAD certificate requirement or equivalent:
1. The BTTP (Bilingual Teachers Training Program) – CNUSD Classes
Three training modules---CLAD methodology, Language Development, and Cultural Awareness---provided at no cost by the District. Optional college credit through UCR Extension is available. Six unit of a foreign language (all six units in
the same language or its equivalency (9 quarter units) in a community/four- year college, or 90 class hours offered by BTTP with a final grade of pass and 80% attendance is required for CLAD certification. Upon completion of the course work, the CLAD examination must be passed.
2. University classes, Extension Programs and On-line Programs
Completion of CLAD course work and recommendation to the CTC (Commission on Teacher Credentialing) by an approved university program will lead to CLAD certification without having to pass the exam . If you need units to move across the salary schedule, why not investigate a university program that leads to the CLAD certificate as well as advancement on the salary schedule? Did you know that if you have over fifteen years teaching experience you can move over to Class C without a Master’s Degree? And that if you have over 20 years experience you can move to Class D?
Both UCLA Extension and the University of San Diego offer online courses leading to the CLAD. CTA has a partnership with OnLineLearning.net that offers CTA members a 15% discount (or $75 off, whichever is greater) on every online instructor-led course. (www.onlineLearning.net or (888) 627-1148) Enter or mention Discount ZCTA when you enroll and provide your membership number for verification.
University of San Diego offers course work by videotape. You need to pay for the college credit, but the tapes are available from the District and probably some colleagues as well. (www.usd-oline.org or 1 (888) 3321-6658)
Where does that leave the veteran teacher? If a teacher has a student identified as an English Language Learner in his/her class, the teacher must be certified or be "in training". It does not make any difference what type of credential the teacher holds. In addition to the options listed above there is another possible avenue to meeting the CLAD requirement.
SB395 – "CLAD Alternative for Veteran Teachers"
I f you are a veteran teacher the SB395 program may meet your needs. First passed as AB1969, this legislation "grandfathered" veteran teachers from having to complete either university course work or taking the CLAD exam.
CTA lobbied successfully to continue to exempt the veteran teacher from having to obtain the CLAD certificate by exam or university course work; SB 395 is currently available to credentialed employees with permanent status in California (Not only CNUSD) as of January 1, 1999. The District offered one class at the end of summer, another is being offered in October/November (Sorry, class is full.) Three district teachers will be trained so that courses will be more readily available. There are plans to offer these classes again this winter and spring. Also, the three buy-back staff development days (approximately $269 per day) have been left in the budget; the SB 395 classes meet the criteria –watch for further details from the District.
So what happens if I don’t get the CLAD or its equivalent?
Although failure to obtain the CLAD certificate will not result in loss of employment, it could lead to involuntary transfers or grade-level/ subject matter assignments that you find less desirable. It could also close doors to voluntary transfers to other sites.