Department of Education adjusts criteria for probationary credit

Over the summer, the Department of Education consulted with the Hawaii State Teachers Association regarding an adjustment of the criteria for awarding probationary credit, allowing a greater number of new hires to earn probation.

Prior procedures for earning probation restricted teachers from earning probation if they were assigned positions outside of their licensed field.  For example, if a teacher was assigned a position in Special Education, Counseling, Early Childhood Education or as a Librarian and was NOT licensed in that area, they previously would NOT earn probationary credit.  In addition, if a teacher was licensed in Special Education, Counseling or as a Librarian and they were assigned a position outside of those areas, they were also NOT given probationary credit.

In School Year 2017-2018, the DOE will implement a modification to the current practice, which will now allow licensed teachers to earn probationary credit when assigned to teach in areas outside their licensure area.  This change means teachers will earn probationary credit regardless of what subject area they are teaching.

The rationale for this change is to

1) Eliminate inadvertent penalizing of those teachers who agree to accept a SpEd position but are not licensed in SpEd

2) Eliminate the disparity in earning probationary credit between those who are licensed in the specialty areas and those licensed in the General Education subject areas

There are no plans to make this new probationary crediting process retroactive. The change in awarding credit is only going forward as of the start of school year 2017-2018.

Finally, it is generally in the best interest of teachers and students to have teachers teaching in their area of license.  As such, the HSTA encourages teachers who are teaching out of field to actively consult with their school administrator in the spring during assignment and transfer period to see if there are positions available that are more in line with their licensure area.

Therefore, starting with SY 2017-2018, anyone who meets the criteria below will be eligible to earn probationary credit.

Criteria for Earning Probationary Credit in a Semester:

1. Must hold a valid Hawaii teaching license;

2. Must be hired and licensed on or before the 24th working day of the semester, regardless of the subject area they are teaching;

3. Cannot miss more than 23 unpaid days in the semester; and

4. Must be on a paid status at the end of the semester.

In addition to this, the following conditions must be met in order for the individual to gain tenure:

Criteria for Gaining Tenure:

1. Non-tenured teachers are provided with year-to-year contracts and must be physically present on the first day of each new contract period to effectuate the terms of the contract.

2. A minimum continuous probationary period is required prior to tenure.

3. Teacher must serve a minimum of six (6) semesters as a probationary period and must have completed at least two (2) consecutive annual overall ratings with a rating of effective or better in their last two (2) years of probation.

4. If individual has a National Board Certification, they shall serve a probationary period of two (2) semesters.

5. Teachers will become tenured teachers on the first working day after successfully completing their probation.