Barbara A. Sposet, Ph.D.
Chair, Teacher Education & Licensure Committee
Baldwin Wallace University
“The Only Constant is Change” – Heraclitus, Greek philosopher
Changes affecting both EPP’s (Education Preparation Providers or Teacher Education Programs) and in-service teachers were announced in late August by the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE). They include a change in licensure grade band levels and a change in teacher preparation/school district requirements.
Sentate Bill 216 will change the current PK3 license to a PK5 license effective fall, 2020. All other licensure grade bands (e.g., 4-9; 7-12 and PK12) will remain the same. Currently PK3 teacher candidates can add the 4/5 generalist endorsement that enables them to be the self-contained teacher through grade 5. The generalist option, however, will remain in place until the need no longer exists for EPP’s to offer the option. Of particular note is that there is no national accrediting body that addresses this entire grade band. NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) addresses students in grade PK3 but stops there. ACEI (Association for Childhood Education International) will no longer be in the business of approving programs that include grades 4 through 6. Accreditation at the state (Ohio Department of Higher Education) or national level is required by teacher education programs in Ohio such that the institution (i.e. Baldwin Wallace University, Denison) can sign off on teacher licenses.
The second change will affect all teachers and school districts. HB 318 requires that all Early Childhood and Early Childhood Intervention Specialist programs include instruction on PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention Supports). Much like the 12-hour reading core and the most recently added opiod abuse requirement, EPP’s must begin including the PBIS content beginning in a very small time frame – fall, 2019. What will affect ALL current in-service teachers is the requirement that within three years after the effective date of this requirement, each school district in Ohio must provide professional development or continuing education on positive behavior intervention and supports, as part of a school-wide implementation of PBIS. PBIS was recommended in the re-authorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act passed in 1997 by Congress and has been the topic of research the past 30 years. In a nutshell, classroom PBIS practices include preventative and responsive approaches that may be effectively implemented with all students in a classroom and intensified to support small groups or a few individual students.
As described by the national PBIS website, positive behavior intervention and support is an application of a behaviorally-based systems approach to enhance the capacity of schools, families, and communities to design effective environments that utilize research-validated practices to in which teaching and learning occurs. There are three tiers to the strategy which include: 1 – a focus on all students and misbehavior; 2 – targeted group support for SOME students; and 3 – individual support for a FEW students. Additional information with exemplars of each tier can be accessed through https://www.pbis.org/school/pbis-in-the-classroom.
As a methods and clinical practice supervisor, the most frequent concern that surfaces is classroom management. As a result, our EPP has done a curriculum audit that aligns to the seven OSTP standards and found that there is a gap in all our non special education licensure programs in its focus on classroom management. The requirement by the ODHE couldn’t come at a better time as we ready to recommend an additional course specific to classroom management and PBIS will be an included strategy. As a current in-service teacher reminded me recently, the K12 classroom learning environment has changed a lot in the past 10 years. The PBIS approach, as well as the Fluency Matters workshop ‘Keys to Manage your CI Classroom’ are well worth examining and adapting to the world language classrom whether you are a new or veteran teacher.