Teacher Professional Development in Alabama

Alabama Professional Education Personnel Evaluation Program (PEPE) website. A description of the PEPE program's mission may be found here.

The following information is quoted from the Alabama State Department of Education website:

Alabama Standards for Effective Professional Development

The following list of Standards for Effective Professional Development were adopted by the Alabama State Board of Education on June 13, 2002. These state standards are embedded in the NCLB definition of professional development in Title IX, Section 9101 (34). They should be used as a guide in developing your LEA Professional Development Plan and implementing activities under that plan.

  1. Effective professional development organizes adults into learning communities whose goals are aligned with those of the school, the district, and the state.
  2. Effective professional development requires knowledgeable and skillful school and district leaders who actively participate in and guide continuous instructional improvement.
  3. Effective professional development requires resources to support adult learning and collaboration.
  4. Effective professional development uses disaggregated student data to determine adult learning priorities, monitor progress, and help sustain continuous improvement.
  5. Effective professional development uses multiple sources of information to guide improvement and demonstrate its impact.
  6. Effective professional development prepares educators to apply research to decision making.
  7. Effective professional development uses learning strategies appropriate to the intended goal.
  8. Effective professional development applies knowledge about human learning and change.
  9. Effective professional development provides educators with the knowledge and skills to collaborate.
  10. Effective professional development prepares educators to understand and appreciate all students, create safe, orderly and supportive learning environments, and hold high expectations for their academic achievement.
  11. Effective professional development deepens educators’ content knowledge, provides them with research-based instructional strategies to assist students in meeting rigorous academic standards, and prepares them to use various types of classroom assessments appropriately.
  12. Effective professional development provides educators with knowledge and skills to involve families and other stakeholders appropriately.

Alabama Teacher Certification

Alabama issues teacher certificates at three levels to individuals who have completed a state-approved teacher education program (through a traditional or alternative approach) and earned a degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher education: (1) Class B at the baccalaureate level; (2) Class A at the master's level; and (3) Class AA at the sixth-year or education specialist level. Certificates issued at the Class A and Class AA levels are considered to be advanced certificates.

There is no common definition of an "academic major" in Alabama. Among Alabama's 29 bachelor degree-granting institutions, as verified in April 2003, the average minimum number of semester hours required in an academic major is 32, and the average number of required upper division hours (junior level or above) is 19. For purposes of demonstrating subject/content area competency, “coursework equivalent to an academic major” is a minimum of 32 semester hours in the content area, with 19 of those hours at the junior level or above. The Alabama State Board of Education revised teacher education program approval standards on September 11, 2003, to require a greater emphasis on content knowledge.

Highly Qualified Teachers (NCLB)

NCLB applies the highly qualified teacher requirement to core academic subject teachers in public schools. Alabama’s review of highly qualified teachers will extend to any teacher who holds a valid Alabama teaching certificate, including those who are currently seeking employment and those who are currently employed in a private school or a state-supported school that does not operate under the governance of a local public school system.

Primarily to meet the needs of small schools, Alabama provides middle/secondary certification in three cross-discipline areas: English Language Arts, General Science, and General Social Science. A teacher who holds certification in one of those broad areas, has an academic major in one of the categorical subjects or the equivalent of an academic major across categorical subjects in the broad area, and has earned credit in another categorical subject(s) included in the broad area will be deemed highly qualified to teach the other subject(s). For example, a teacher certified in General Social Science who holds an academic major or the equivalent in history and has earned credit in civics and government (political science) will be deemed highly qualified in both history and political science.

A middle school or secondary teacher who holds valid certification can apply for highly qualified status in the certification area by using Form SHQ and providing documentation of one of the following:

  1. A Class A or Class AA Professional Educator Certification.
  2. A passing score on an Alabama-approved subject-specific test in the HQ subject area requested. Only scores from selected Praxis II assessments or the Alabama Initial Teacher Certification Test from the 1980s are acceptable. (See the website above for more information about using Praxis II scores to obtain highly qualified status.)
  3. An undergraduate major in the HQ subject area requested.
  4. A graduate degree in the subject area requested.
  5. Coursework equivalent to an undergraduate academic major (at least 32 semester hours in the academic area with at least 19 upper division or gradate level semester hours) in the HQ subject area requested.
  6. A Class A or Class AA certification in an area closely related to the HQ subject area requested and have 10 or more years of full-time teaching experience in the HQ subject area requested.
  7. Five or more years of full-time teaching experience in the HQ subject area requested and a valid National Board for Profession Teaching Standards Certificate.

Page content compiled by Joelle Lien
Edited by Stacey C. Kolthammer