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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

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Other Options Available For Uncertified Guam Educators
Teachers may gain part-time status to stay in ‘good standing’

By Louella Losinio

HAGTA, Guam (Marianas Variety Guam, Dec. 4, 2012) – Around half of the more than 40 teachers who faced the possibility of termination due to their lack of Praxis I certification have already expressed interest to voluntarily accept an unclassified, limited-term, part-time teaching status with the Guam Department of Education (GDOE) in order to remain in good standing.

The teachers have yet to turn in the required paperwork to formalize the transition. However, GDOE personnel have already been reaching out to the teachers to confirm and further discuss their options, GDOE Superintendent Jon Fernandez told Variety in an interview.

The law allows an employee in a classified position, who resigns in good standing, to retain his/her re-employment rights for up to four years. But in the case of the teachers, a full teaching certificate will still be required, Fernandez said.

Limited-term and part-time teachers, he further stated, face the risk that they might be replaced by a fully certified teacher in the future, so it is not certain whether and for how long they might retain their current position in the classroom.

"For those who remain out of compliance with certification requirements, I will have to address those individuals within our current personnel processes to determine the appropriate next steps on a case-by-case basis," Fernandez stressed.

A formal administrative process takes about 60 days during which the department makes a final decision about the status of individual teachers who do not meet certification requirements nor make an effort to stay in compliance.

"The bottom line is that I am committed to ensuring that the department is fully compliant with legal requirements to place fully certified teachers in every classroom. It's in the best interests of our students in the long run," the GDOE head emphasized.

Notice

Just last month, GDOE issued a notice requiring the teachers to submit documentation before Dec. 1 to show they have met certification for Praxis I, which evaluates basic skills in reading, writing, and math. Praxis I is a requirement for individuals seeking an initial educator certificate.

According to Praxis I testing requirements, the applicant must have a qualifying score of 173 for reading, 170 for writing, and 170 for mathematics to get certified.

During the last Guam Education Board meeting, a motion to grant the teachers an emergency one-year certification failed to pass after split-voting from the board. Also during the meeting, Guam Commission for Educator Certification (GCEC) vice chair Margie Artero said the commission has to set high standards to assure qualified individuals are working with students, especially with the "very sad rates of SAT-10 results on Guam."

GCEC took over the task of certifying educators on-island from GDOE after its establishment by Public Law 29-73. Currently, the commission certifies teachers employed by the Guam Department of Education, DODEA, and private schools.

Marianas Variety Guam: www.mvguam.com
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