SECTION 1. Chapter 15A of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2014 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out section 19C and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
Section 19C. Section 19C. There shall be a Massachusetts master teacher corps program, hereinafter referred to as the corps, for the purpose of building a group of recognized teachers of high achievement in the profession. The corps shall be designed to incentivize highly effective educators to work in high needs schools and recognize and reward these educators for their service. Corps members shall also serve to mentor incoming apprentice teachers and further the goals of the education reform act, so-called. The department of elementary and secondary education, hereinafter referred to as the department, shall administer this program. The board of elementary and secondary education shall promulgate regulations, hereinafter referred to as the board, where necessary, for the effective implementation of such program. Such regulations may include the following provisions:
(1) The department may select master teachers who achieve master teacher status through certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, pass a challenging content test, agree to serve in a high needs school for a three-year period, and agree to mentor apprentice teachers. The department may develop and include alternatives to the National Board for Professional Teacher Standards program for the corps selection process.
(2) Teachers with master teacher corps status shall retain professional teacher status in the districts in which they were originally employed and are granted a three-year period of leave in order to work in a high needs school in another district. During the time they are working in the high needs school, master educators continue to earn years of creditable service for salary schedule purposes in the districts in which they were originally employed, notwithstanding the provisions of section 38G of chapter 71, or chapter 150E.
(3) Master educators who fulfill the three-year commitment will be granted automatic renewal of their professional license for one renewal cycle.
(4) The department shall develop an outreach plan to attract underrepresented populations to the teaching profession.
(5) School administrators serving in schools that perform in the lowest 20 percent of schools or districts in the state shall be granted the ability to exercise hiring autonomy or preference for educators participating in such program.
(6) Incentives for the districts in which the master teachers are originally employed may include additional state funding allocations or preference on competitive grant opportunities administered by the department.
SECTION 2. Section 38G of chapter 71 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2014 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out, in line 270, the word “student” and replacing it with the following word: candidate.
SECTION 3. Section 38G of the chapter 71 of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by striking out, in lines 273-275, the words, “The college or university or school district or other institution shall also provide the commissioner with a transcript of the student’s record,” and replacing it with the following:-
The approved program will be evaluated by the commissioner on a regular basis to ensure that candidates are well prepared to meet the needs of students in the commonwealth. Through this review, the commissioner shall meaningfully differentiate the performance of individual program providers based in part on the outcomes of candidates once they are employed. The commissioner shall annually publish data on these programs, including the current approval status.
SECTION 4. Section 38G of chapter 71 of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting after the word “record” in line 275, the following paragraph:-
All applications for reviewing and approving preparation programs under this section shall be accompanied by a fee to be determined annually by the commissioner of administration and finance under the provisions of section 3B of chapter 7. Said fees shall be established and sufficient to allow the department to carry out the responsibilities outlined in this section.
SECTION 5. The department of elementary and secondary education shall convene a teacher preparation and certification task force, hereinafter referred to as the task force. The task force shall investigate and study the feasibility of requiring all teacher candidates in educator preparation programs to participate in a teacher residency program and the feasibility of requiring only those teacher candidates who will be seeking employment in high needs districts to participate in a teacher residency program. The task force shall also review the requirements for teacher certification established under section 38G of chapter 71 of the General Laws, and consider the circumstances under which the passage of the teacher certification test required under said section 38G should be considered sufficient to teach in a Massachusetts public school and/or whether any alternative training options should be considered sufficient to meet the requirements under said section 38G.
SECTION 6. The task force shall file a report with the commissioner of elementary and secondary education and the clerks of the house of representatives and the senate and the joint committee on education no later than one year after the enactment of this bill.
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