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SBOE: Emergency Rules

COVID-19 Emergency Rules from the Tennessee State Board of Education

May 21, 2019

Upon approval today by the SBOE, the rules will be sent to the Attorney General for approval and filed with the Secretary of State’s office.

These rules will go into effect immediately upon filing with the Secretary of State’s office and will remain in effect for 180 days. Any provision of these rules that will need to remain in effect beyond the 180 days will be included in a permanent rule, which will be approved as a separate item.

Following is a summary of the rules voted on today, with links to the full language considered. This is based on the summary document provided by the State Board of Education to frame their meeting, but summaries and some additional framing information has been added for clarity.

  • 0520-01-02-.17 STATE ATTENDANCE GUIDELINES
    This is an amendment to the attendance section of the State Board’s Administrative Rules and Regulations. This rule clarifies that districts may take attendance during distance learning but may not issue students unexcused absences or report students as truant for failure to participate in distance learning activities conducted by the district during the period of closure due to COVID- 19.

  • 0520-01-03-.11 REQUIREMENTS FOR 2019-20 SCHOOL YEAR AS A RESULT OF THE COVID-19 PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY
    This adds a new section to the State Board’s Minimum Requirements for Approval of Public
    Schools rule addressing a number of issues as a result of school closures due to COVID-19. Topics addressed include:

    • The process for LEAs to seek approval of waivers from the Commissioner and State Board, 

    • amended graduation requirements for students scheduled to graduate in 2019-20 school year: 

      • LEAs and public charter schools may provide remote learning opportunities to students as an opportunity to improve the student’s grade

      • LEAs and public charter schools who allow students to complete additional work to improve their spring semester grade should support students who lack home internet access by providing printed materials to complete necessary coursework to obtain a passing grade.

      • LEAs and public charter schools may provide remote credit recovery opportunities for students who failed their first attempt at a course in spring 2020 in order to obtain a passing score.

      • LEAs that have adopted a locally approved grading system may continue to calculate grades and graduation distinctions under a locally approved grading system as determined by the local board of education.

      • In order to graduate in the 2019-20 school year, students must earn a minimum of twenty (20) credit hours which shall include the following subjects:

  1. Four (4) credits of mathematics as described in the State Board’s High School Policy 2.103;

  2. Four (4) credits of English language arts as described in the State Board’s High School Policy 2.103;

  3. Three (3) credits of science as described in the State Board’s High School Policy 2.103; and

  4. Two (2) credits of social studies as described in the State Board’s High School Policy 2.103.

    • A student in the 12th grade in the 2019-20 school year shall not have End-of-Course exams scheduled to occur in the spring semester of the 2019-20 school year count as a percentage of a student’s final grade in a course with an associated End-of-Course exam.

    • A student scheduled to graduate in the 2019-20 school year is not required to take and pass the civics test required by T.C.A. § 49-6-408 to meet the social studies course credit requirements to earn a regular high school diploma

    • Students receiving the occupational diploma in the 2019-20 or 2020-21 school year may receive the occupational diploma if they can demonstrate work experience of at least one (1) year.

    • Students in the 12th grade during the 2019-20 school year who were enrolled in a Tennessee public school during their 11th grade year and who did not take the ACT or SAT shall not be required to take the ACT or SAT for graduation purposes.

  • grading considerations for students taking high school credit courses, 

    • Students taking courses for high school credit who were not scheduled to graduate in the 2019-20 school year shall receive no grade lower than the grade they earned in the course as of March 20, 2020; however, LEAs and public charter schools may provide remote learning opportunities to students as an opportunity to improve the student’s grade.

  • suspension of TCAP testing in the spring semester of the 2019-20 school year and eliminating requirement for students in the 11th grade to take the ACT or SAT, 

    • This does not prohibit an LEA or public charter school from voluntarily administering TCAP tests to students in the 2019-20 school year.

  • and revised accountability requirements.

    • Student performance and student growth data from the TCAP tests, which include, but are not limited to, TNReady assessments, English learner assessments, alternate TCAP assessments and end-of-course examinations, administered in the 2019-20 school year shall not be used to assign a letter grade to a school, unless the use results in a higher letter grade for the school. Additionally, student performance and student growth data from TCAP tests administered in the 2019-20 school year shall not be used to identify a school as a priority school or to assign a school to the achievement school district.

    • The Department of Education will not recommend and the State Board will not approve school or LEA performance designations based on performance goals and measures in the 2019-20 school year.

    • LEAs and public charter schools shall not be required to complete required professional development trainings or required safety drills or that a school was unable to conduct due to school closures in the spring semester of the 2019-20 school year.

  • 0520-02-04-.11 REQUIREMENTS FOR 2019-20 SCHOOL YEAR AS A RESULT OF THE COVID-19 PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY[Teacher candidates - clinical placement disruption]
    This adds a new section to the State Board’s Educator Preparation rule addressing modified
    requirements for teacher candidates who were unable to complete their clinical placement due to COVID-19 associated closures.

  • 0520-02-03-.09 DENIAL, FORMAL REPRIMAND, SUSPENSION AND REVOCATION
    This amends the State Board’s licensure discipline rule to allow Directors of Schools to request an extension of the thirty (30) day reporting period if the Director is unable to submit a timely report due to school closures as a result of COVID-19.

  • 0520-02-03-.15 REQUIREMENTS FOR 2019-20 SCHOOL YEAR AS A RESULT OF THE COVID-19 PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY[Educator Licensure]
    This amends the State Board’s Educator Licensure rule to allow prospective educators who were unable to complete required licensure exams due to COVID-19 to receive a one-year practitioner license with the requirement that scores on licensure exams be submitted within the one-year validity period. This rule also allows educators whose practitioner license is set to expire in August 2020 to have the license validity period extended one year to allow the educator to complete requirements for renewal or advancement that were interrupted as a result of COVID-19.

  • There are also changes to 0520-02-03-.03 and -.10  to streamline pathways for out-of-state educators and school leaders to obtain licensure in Tennessee.

  • 0520-02-01-.01 GENERAL REQUIREMENTS FOR EVALUATION[Educators]
    This amends the State Board’s Evaluations rule to clarify that Level of Overall Effectiveness (or “LOE”) scores will not be generated for the 2019-20 school year. Also clarifies that observations that were not able to be completed in the 2019-20 school year will not be required.

  • 0520-01-09-.24 REQUIREMENTS FOR 2019-20 SCHOOL YEAR AS A RESULT OF THE COVID-19 PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY[Initial Evaulations-IEP]
    This amends the State Board’s special education rule to extend the time period by which school must complete a student’s initial evaluation to ninety days after receipt of parental consent. This extension is authorized by 34 C.F.R. § 300.301(c).

  • 0520-01-11-.07 MONITORING AND COMPLIANCE[IEA]
    This amends the State Board’s Individualized Education Accounts rule to waive the requirement that students participating in the program take a nationally norm-referenced test or the TCAP test if such test was scheduled to occur in the spring semester of the 2019-20 school year.

  • 0520-07-02-.09 REQUIREMENTS FOR 2019-20 SCHOOL YEAR AS A RESULT OF THE COVID-19 PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY[IEA]
    This amends the State Board’s Non-Public School Approval Process rule to clarify that approved Category I and II private schools are not required to take the TCAP or a nationally standardized achievement test if the test was scheduled to occur in the spring semester of the 2019-20 school year. Additionally, clarifies that the 180 instructional day requirement is also waived for Category I and II private schools and that any approved private school that is required to meet the same graduation requirements as public schools is also subject to the amended graduation requirements for students scheduled to graduate in the 2019-20 school year.

  • English as a Second Language Program Policy 3.207: First and final reading of item to update policy requirements in light of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency for Tennessee K-12 public schools. Listed below are COVID-19 special considerations from this item:                                             

    • Special Considerations Due to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency in Spring 2020. LEAs shall have a provisional method that uses existing data and information for identifying students as NELB students and for determining entrance into an ESL program if the student has not completed either the W-APT screener or WIDA screener. The Tennessee Department of Education may provide best practice guidance for identifying NELB students for districts to reference. Students identified as NELB students and enrolled in ESL services using a provisional method shall be given provisional NELB status. Formal NELB identification and screening for ESL support using the W-APT screener or WIDA screener shall take place as soon as possible once school resumes for any student who has been given a provisional NELB status.

    • Special Considerations Due to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency in Spring 2020. If a student has completed all four domains of the 2019-20 WIDA ACCESS, LEAs shall use that data to determine a direct ESL service model for a student for the 2020-21 school year. If a student does not have complete 2019-20 WIDA ACCESS scores, LEAs shall determine the direct ESL service model for the student in the 2020-21 school year based on available data points and the student's ILP.

    • Special Considerations Due to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency in Spring 2020. If an English Learner does not have 2019-20 WIDA ACCESS scores, LEAs shall use multiple data points approved by the Tennessee Department of Education to exit a student from ESL direct services. Students who exit ESL direct services shall be considered transitional ELs for four (4) school years. The three options approved for exit from English as a Second Language services in Spring 2020 are:

  1. Students who completed all four domains of the WIDA ACCESS assessment shall exit by current criteria.

  2. Students who have completed one, two, or three of the four domains of the WIDA ACCESS assessment shall exit based on criteria that the Tennessee Department of Education shall calculate.

  3. Students who have not completed any domains of the WIDA ACCESS assessment shall exit based on a rubric developed by the Tennessee Department of Education.

  • Uniform Grading Policy 3.301: First and final reading of item to update policy requirements in light of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency for Tennessee K-12 public schools. Includes detailed instructions on:

    • Uniform Grading System

    • Honors Courses and Early Postsecondary Opportunities

    • Implementation and Guidance

  • Charter School Local Education Agency (LEA) Policy 4603: First and final reading of item to update an LEA policy for State Board-authorized charter schools in light of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency for Tennessee K-12 public schools.

    • As all LEAs are doing across the state, the State Board of Education as an LEA for three charter schools has established an updated policy regarding Promotion and Retention, Grading, and Assessment: To address special circumstances created by statewide close of schools in spring semester of the 2019-20 school year as a result of tornado damage and the infectious disease COVID-19.

    • This policy pertains only to charter schools authorized by the State Board of Education

  • Educator Licensure Rule 0520-02-03: Final reading of item to allow additional flexibility for educators and school leaders coming into Tennessee with licenses from other states. These changes include:

    • Section .03: add a new pathway for out-of-state prospective teachers that does not require submission of qualifying scores on professional assessments if the educator holds a comparable level license from a state other than Tennessee; and

    • Section .10: add a new pathway for out-of-state prospective instructional leaders that does not require submission of qualifying scores on professional assessments if the educator holds a comparable level license from a state other than Tennessee.

    • Section .15: This amends the State Board’s Educator Licensure rule to allow prospective educators who were unable to complete required licensure exams due to COVID-19 to receive a one-year practitioner license with the requirement that scores on licensure exams be submitted within the one-year validity period. This rule also allows educators whose practitioner license is set to expire in August 2020 to have the license validity period extended one year to allow the educator to complete requirements for renewal or advancement that were interrupted as a result of COVID- 19.