2022 Legislature                                   CS for SB 896
    2         An act relating to educator certification pathways for
    3         veterans; amending s. 1012.56, F.S.; authorizing the
    4         Department of Education to issue a temporary
    5         certificate to specified military servicemembers who
    6         meet certain criteria; requiring a teacher mentorship
    7         for specified military servicemembers who hold a
    8         temporary certificate; specifying the duration and
    9         issuance of a temporary certificate for specified
   10         military servicemembers; amending s. 1012.59, F.S.;
   11         making a technical change; providing an effective
   12         date.
   14  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   16         Section 1. Subsection (7) of section 1012.56, Florida
   17  Statutes, is amended to read:
   18         1012.56 Educator certification requirements.—
   20         (a) The Department of Education shall issue a professional
   21  certificate for a period not to exceed 5 years to any applicant
   22  who fulfills one of the following:
   23         1. Meets all the applicable requirements outlined in
   24  subsection (2).
   25         2. For a professional certificate covering grades 6 through
   26  12:
   27         a. Meets the applicable requirements of paragraphs (2)(a)
   28  (h).
   29         b. Holds a master’s or higher degree in the area of
   30  science, technology, engineering, or mathematics.
   31         c. Teaches a high school course in the subject of the
   32  advanced degree.
   33         d. Is rated highly effective as determined by the teacher’s
   34  performance evaluation under s. 1012.34, based in part on
   35  student performance as measured by a statewide, standardized
   36  assessment or an Advanced Placement, Advanced International
   37  Certificate of Education, or International Baccalaureate
   38  examination.
   39         e. Achieves a passing score on the Florida professional
   40  education competency examination required by state board rule.
   41         3. Meets the applicable requirements of paragraphs (2)(a)
   42  (h) and completes a professional preparation and education
   43  competence program approved by the department pursuant to
   44  paragraph (8)(c) or an educator preparation institute approved
   45  by the department pursuant to s. 1004.85. An applicant who
   46  completes one of these programs and is rated highly effective as
   47  determined by his or her performance evaluation under s. 1012.34
   48  is not required to take or achieve a passing score on the
   49  professional education competency examination in order to be
   50  awarded a professional certificate.
   51         (b) The department shall issue a temporary certificate to
   52  any applicant who:
   53         1. Completes the requirements outlined in paragraphs
   54  (2)(a)-(f) and completes the subject area content requirements
   55  specified in state board rule or demonstrates mastery of subject
   56  area knowledge pursuant to subsection (5) and holds an
   57  accredited degree or a degree approved by the Department of
   58  Education at the level required for the subject area
   59  specialization in state board rule; or
   60         2. For a subject area specialization for which the state
   61  board otherwise requires a bachelor’s degree, documents 48
   62  months of active-duty military service with an honorable
   63  discharge or a medical separation; completes the requirements
   64  outlined in paragraphs (2)(a), (b), (d), (e), and (f); completes
   65  the subject area content requirements specified in state board
   66  rule or demonstrates mastery of subject area knowledge pursuant
   67  to subsection (5); and documents completion of 60 college
   68  credits with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.5 on
   69  a 4.0 scale, as provided by one or more accredited institutions
   70  of higher learning or a nonaccredited institution of higher
   71  learning identified by the Department of Education as having a
   72  quality program resulting in a bachelor’s degree or higher.
   73         (c) The department shall issue one nonrenewable 2-year
   74  temporary certificate and one nonrenewable 5-year professional
   75  certificate to a qualified applicant who holds a bachelor’s
   76  degree in the area of speech-language impairment to allow for
   77  completion of a master’s degree program in speech-language
   78  impairment.
   79         (d) A person who is issued a temporary certificate under
   80  subparagraph (b)2. must be assigned a teacher mentor for a
   81  minimum of 2 school years after commencing employment. Each
   82  teacher mentor selected by the school district, charter school,
   83  or charter management organization must:
   84         1. Hold a valid professional certificate issued pursuant to
   85  s. 1012.56;
   86         2. Have earned at least 3 years of teaching experience in
   87  prekindergarten through grade 12; and
   88         3. Have earned an effective or highly effective rating on
   89  the prior year’s performance evaluation under s. 1012.34.
   90         (e)1. A each temporary certificate issued under
   91  subparagraph (b)1. is valid for 3 school fiscal years and is
   92  nonrenewable.
   93         2. A temporary certificate issued under subparagraph (b)2.
   94  is valid for 5 school fiscal years, is limited to a one-time
   95  issuance, and is nonrenewable.
   97  At least 1 year before an individual’s temporary certificate is
   98  set to expire, the department shall electronically notify the
   99  individual of the date on which his or her certificate will
  100  expire and provide a list of each method by which the
  101  qualifications for a professional certificate can be completed.
  102  The State Board of Education shall adopt rules to allow the
  103  department to extend the validity period of a temporary
  104  certificate for 2 years when the requirements for the
  105  professional certificate were not completed due to the serious
  106  illness or injury of the applicant, the military service of an
  107  applicant’s spouse, other extraordinary extenuating
  108  circumstances, or if the certificateholder is rated highly
  109  effective in the immediate prior year’s performance evaluation
  110  pursuant to s. 1012.34 or has completed a 2-year mentorship
  111  program pursuant to s. 1012.56(8). The department shall extend
  112  the temporary certificate upon approval by the Commissioner of
  113  Education. A written request for extension of the certificate
  114  shall be submitted by the district school superintendent, the
  115  governing authority of a university lab school, the governing
  116  authority of a state-supported school, or the governing
  117  authority of a private school.
  118         Section 2. Paragraph (c) of subsection (3) of section
  119  1012.59, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  120         1012.59 Certification fees.—
  121         (3) The State Board of Education shall waive initial
  122  general knowledge, professional education, and subject area
  123  examination fees and certification fees for:
  124         (c) An honorably discharged veteran of the United States
  125  Armed Forces or a veteran of a reserve component thereof who
  126  served on active duty and the spouse or surviving spouse of such
  127  a veteran.
  128         Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2022.