Q & A ON
What does “highly qualified” mean
for general education teachers?
Dec 5, 2008 12:36 PM
The following information was issued by the Department of Education,
Division of Human Resources.
What does “highly qualified” (HQ) mean?
Under NCLB, general education teachers of core academic subjects are HQ
if they satisfy the following requirements:
hold at least a bachelor's degree from a four-year institution; AND
are certified (NYC Board of Examiners licenses included) and assigned
to their certification area; OR
if not certified in the core subject assignment area they teach,
demonstrate subject matter competency in the core subject they teach
using one of the ways permitted by the NCLB. (See section on
HQ flexibility below for when teachers are permitted to teach outside
of their certification area.)
Teachers are certified for a teaching assignment if they hold one of
A valid New York State certificate for the assignment; OR
A NYC Board of Examiners license that is valid for the assignment. This
is a license that NYC issued prior to 1990 and before NY State
certification was mandatory. This license is equal to NY State
Do the HQ requirements apply to all teachers?
The HQ requirements apply to public school teachers (not including
day-to-day substitutes) who are teachers of record in the core academic
subject areas of:
English, reading, language arts
Social Studies (history, geography, economics, civics and government)
The arts: art, dance, music, theater (including public speaking), drama
Federal and state laws require all classes in core academic subjects to
be assigned to teachers in their area(s) of certification unless they
qualify for certification flexibility.
What flexibility exists regarding certification and HQ?
Incidental Teaching: New York State permits certified teachers to be
assigned outside of their certification area for no more than 1 period
per day. With this certification flexibility, teachers must demonstrate
subject matter competency* in their out-of-field core subject
assignment to be HQ.
Middle School Experiment in Organizational Change: Teachers with
certificates in common branch subjects can teach them (Math, Science,
English, Social Studies) at the 7th and 8th grade level for up to 5
years without obtaining additional certification for the assignments.
Teachers using this flexibility must demonstrate subject matter
competency* in each core subject taught to be HQ.
*What are some ways in which teachers can demonstrate subject matter
competency for assignments?
Holding a NYS teaching certificate in the core academic subject(s); OR
If beyond the first year of certification or teaching, using the HOUSSE
(High Objective Uniform State Standard of Evaluation) in the core
academic subject they are teaching; OR
Holding an undergraduate major or graduate degree or their equivalents
in the core academic subject; OR
Having passed a Content Specialty Test (CST) in the subject or a NYC
Board of Examiners test in the subject.
How can principals help their teachers become Highly Qualified?
Review BEDS Reports: The BEDS Survey reports contain teacher
certification information and will help principals determine if
teachers are assigned to their certification area(s) according to HQ
Consider the Conversion Program: The Conversion program helps teachers
certified in a non-shortage area subject obtain certification in a
shortage area subject. For more information, contact
Encourage teachers to take the HOUSSE: As a reminder, general education
teachers beyond their first year of certification or teaching can only
take the HOUSSE if they are incidental teaching or are part of the
middle school experiment in organizational change.