Deadline to obtain Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) credits

Teachers will need to obtain six credits within three years starting in SY 2020–21

Over winter break, the Hawaii Department of Education published a memo that notified teachers of a three-year deadline to obtain necessary credits in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).

For approximately 20 years, the DOE has had a requirement that all teachers needed to work toward obtaining six credits in TESOL and report their credits. Last March, the DOE sent out a memo reminding teachers of this requirement. However, in recent history, the DOE’s focus on tracking and confirming teachers who have obtained the credits has been inconsistent. Going forward, the DOE is going to centralize its data collection related to these credits and has implemented a deadline for teachers to obtain them.

Starting in school year 2020–21, the DOE will require teachers who provide direct instruction to students to obtain their six TESOL credits within three years. The DOE is also designating the TESOL credits as meeting the “Sheltered Instruction Qualification.” This requirement applies regardless of instructional assignment.

The Hawaii State Teachers Association engaged the DOE in an extensive consult and confer regarding our concern over this change in expectations. Please see the following FAQs that may help you to understand the new requirements.

Q1: What if I already have my six TESOL credits?

A1: Teachers should check their record in eHQ to confirm their credits on file. Should a teacher need to submit credits for their record, they can use this form.

Q2: What kind of credits will meet the requirements for meeting the Sheltered Instruction Qualification?

A2: See this reference sheet for more information.

Q3: What options do teachers have to meet the six TESOL credit requirement?

A3: See this reference sheet for the six options to meet the credit requirements.

Q4: Can my principal force me to take a TESOL PD course outside of paid work time?

A4: No, while the DOE has the right to require teachers to obtain TESOL training, teachers have the right to ask that the PD be taken during paid work time, including if necessary having a substitute teacher provided to facilitate the teacher’s TESOL coursework.  See Option 3 on this reference sheet.

Q5: How do I get access to the National Education Association (NEA) English Language Learner micro-credentials stack (Option 6)?

A5:  More information can be found here. Note these micro-credentials are only available for NEA members.

Q6: I submitted a hard copy form to our TESOL coordinator (recently/a long time ago). Do I still have to submit to the EQ Section?

A6: Yes. Regardless of any previous submission at the school level, teachers need to check their eHQ record and submit credits if they are not reflected in their record.

Q7: What are the consequences for any teachers not able to secure their six TESOL credits within three years?

A7: We asked the DOE this question and this was their response: “The Department’s expectation is that all teachers are able to address the needs of ELs and provide an environment conducive to learning for ELs. Multiple pathways are being provided to support teachers to meet the ongoing language development needs of ELs.” HSTA recognizes that the DOE didn’t really answer the question, we expect that the department will provide the necessary supports including if needed paid work time to complete the credits.

Q8: I am a non-classroom teacher and have no instructional responsibilities. Do I have to secure the six TESOL credits within three years?

A8: Generally no, as long as you do not plan for or provide direct instruction to students.  In the future, should you be assigned a classroom position, you will have to meet the requirement. Should have you have further questions, please discuss with your supervisor or contact the English Learner Program to the Student Support Section at osssel@k12.hi.us or (808) 305-9787.

Q9: What if I have questions about how to submit or obtain my credits?

A9:  Submit questions related to your eHQ record to hqt@k12.hi.us or call (808) 441-8499. If you have specific program questions, contact the English Learner Program to the Student Support Section at osssel@k12.hi.us or (808) 305-9787.


Dec. 19, 2019

March 5, 2019