During the last few years, districts and charter schools have told the Texas Education Agency (TEA) that the designation of 6th grade as an elementary assignment has been problematic for teachers and administrators given the arrangement of teaching assignments in many of the state’s 6th grade classes. Based on this feedback, TEA has requested and received approval from the United States Department of Education (USDE) to redefine 6th grade as a secondary assignment for the purposes of Highly Qualified determinations as required by NCLB.
TEA will work during the spring to update determination forms, guidelines and reporting protocol for full implementation of this change for the 2014-2015 school year. Districts may immediately consider 6th grade teachers as secondary teachers, however, when determining their Highly Qualified status. Secondary teachers of core academic subject areas need to demonstrate subject area competency in the subjects they teach. With this change, if a 6th grade teacher teaches a single core academic subject, then they would need to be Highly Qualified only for the subject they teach, not a generalist’s curriculum.
No changes to campus and district Highly Qualified reporting through eGrants need to be made at this time based on this change. Please continue to amend reports as your teachers’ Highly Qualified status evolves during the school year, but do not amend reports to include 6th grade teachers in the secondary portion of the report at this time. For the remainder of this school year, they will continue to be reported as elementary school teachers within eGrants. TEA will update the eGrants reporting template during the summer so that it coincides with the new elementary and secondary configurations.
This change will not affect teachers who are Highly Qualified for 6th grade by using grades 1-8 exams. Those discontinued exams will still be acceptable for 6th grade but not 7th or 8th grade, as in current guidelines.
Please contact Tim Regal at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you may have about this change.