Charter leader certification requirements are likely to change.

State board: Charter head certification must match districts

Jarek Rutz Headlines, Education

Charter leader certification requirements are likely to change.

Charter leader certification requirements are likely to change.

A state board has recommended changing the certification and licensure requirements for Delaware charter school leaders to match those of school district leaders.

The move by the Professional Standards Board must be passed by the State Board of Education before going into effect.

The suggested change has angered charter school leaders and officials.

Several wrote to the board prior to Thursday night’s vote to argue that the cookie-cutter approach is the antithesis of why charter schools exist: to provide a flexible institution that tries to educate students in fresh and different ways. 

At least one charter school mom wrote in to applaud the move, saying she was shocked to discover that the same credentials were not already required.

“All Delaware charter schools are led by highly qualified administrators,” said Kendall Massett, executive director of the Delaware Charter Schools Network on Friday.

The leaders bring transferable skills from various professional fields, with different life and educational experiences, she said, which allows them to approach education with a new and innovative perspective.  

“This is what makes charter schools so effective, allowing them to meet the original intent of the charter school law, increasing student achievement with research based innovative approaches to education,” she said.

For certification, charter school leaders may either:

  • Enroll in a traditional or alternative route to certification program that leads to traditional administrator certification and complete the program within three years.
  • Earn approval for a digital portfolio submitted to an external vendor who will review work samples to measure competency and alignment to professional standards for educational leaders. 

The portfolio is akin to meeting a rubric for administrators, and if individual leaders need help completing it, the Department of Education will provide professional learning to assist. 

It would also require charter leaders to upload evidence to demonstrate competence in all of the standards as it relates to their work in the school.

This option is only for charter leaders employed before June 30. 

There’s no difference between a charter school administrator and a district administrator when it comes to licensing certification for all leaders hired after June 30, the board pointed out several times.

Leaders who are not currently licensed must complete up to three years of related professional leadership or management experience to fulfill the student teaching/internship requirement.

Massett previously said that charter school leaders do not have the same role as district school leaders, and it doesn’t make sense to require the same certifications and licenses. 

She noted that they have to be excellent marketers to raise funds and drive enrollment, which are responsibilities district leaders don’t have. 

Given the success of many of our charters, perhaps the state should be reviewing all administrative requirements,” she said, “so that districts might also benefit from a wider selection of proven leaders in various fields.”

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