Certification/credentialing violations and other issues

Administrative Letter : 84
Policy Code:     GB

Note:  Please share with all building administrators and hiring officials.

There has been a dramatic rise in the number of credentialing violations occurring in the past year as well as an increase in activity in the late spring to request waivers to compensate for the violations. Schools can lose funding and superintendents can be disciplined for hiring uncredentialed staff, and people working without a credential can be required to disgorge the money they received. (See Title 20-A, Part 6, Chapter 501, §13003; DOE Rule Chapter 115, Part I, Section 15)

Please note the following rules and laws regarding certification and other credentialing:

  • Credential required. No position, however difficult to fill, may be filled by a person who is not credentialed, except in the following circumstances:
    • The person shows an original letter of eligibility for a conditional or targeted need certificate or a transitional endorsement, or
    • The position is for a regular employee and the school is committed to monitoring compliance with the person’s application and fingerprinting so that the person can be removed in eight (8) weeks if the person has not been fingerprinted within twenty (20) days of becoming employed.  Only those persons who have completed their requirements on time and are waiting for the results from the Certification Office can properly rely on the temporary approval beyond the sixty (60) days from the date of issuance.
  • Out-of-state applicants. The foregoing principles apply equally to applicants with credentials from out-of-state.  There is no absolute reciprocity in Maine when using the Interstate Agreement.  Such candidates must apply to the Maine Department of Education for an evaluation of their credentials and receive letters of eligibility for certification.
  • Submit conditional, targeted need, transitional affidavits as soon as possible. If you hire a staff member on a conditional, targeted need, or transitional basis, please be certain to submit the required affidavit of employment to the Department Certification Office as soon as possible. This enables the employee to be credentialed at the earliest opportunity, and it also allows enough time to meet the course and/or testing requirements before the August 31st deadline to be eligible to renew the certificate or endorsement if needed.
  • Waivers should be last resort. Waiver requests should be a last resort and should not arrive in the Commissioner’s office in the spring as an attempt to fix a situation that would not have occurred had the person held a certificate or had a letter of eligibility in hand.
  • Do not assume credential results. Do not assume from your own review of the applicants’ transcripts that they will be issued a particular type of credential.  Not all courses on some transcripts will be counted.  A degree does not necessarily mean one is automatically eligible for an Educational Technician II or III credential, for example.  Authorization for Educational Technician areas is based on the number of approved semester hour credits. Credits in quarter hours must first be translated into semester hours.  That analysis is performed by the Certification Office.
  • Renewal notices. Employees holding approval cards only will not receive renewal notices from the Maine Department of Education.  There are approximately 73,000 such holders in Maine, all with varying expiration dates.  Most school administrative units set up a local database with their employees’ approval expiration dates and then remind them approximately two months prior to the approval’s expiration.According to Informational Letter #88 dated February 4, 2005, employees who hold valid authorization or certification need not renew the approval before the expiration of their authorization or certificate.  They are covered by the valid authorization or certificate until it expires. A renewed background check may be required for those individuals applying for an Educational Technician upgrade, a new endorsement, or a certificate unless the person has been continuously employed in schools for the preceding five years.
  • Requirement for pre-approval of internship plans. Finally, employees applying for administrative certificates often need to complete an internship requirement supervised by a local mentor unless they complete an approved program through a traditional institution of higher education.  The mentor must be currently certified in the specific internship area and must be employed in that capacity for the duration of the internship.  All internship plans must first be reviewed by the Certification Office, and the applicant must show documentation from the Certification Office that the plan and the proposed mentor have been approved prior to the implementation of the internship plan.

Please direct any questions to Mark Cyr, Certification Coordinator, at 207-624-6603, fax at 207-624-6604, or by email at mark.cyr@maine.gov.

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