Jobs: Middle School Endorsement Confusion

image from www.psdgraphics.comSome of the middle school teachers at schools being consolidated are worried that they might not only have to change schools and administrators but also might be in danger of losing their jobs.  I could try and pretend to understand the details but it's probably better if I just share the documents (below) and let those of you who are certification experts figure this out.  It has something to do with the 1997 grandfather clause, middle school vs. junior high endorsements, and consolidation.  There are at least a few folks out there who are extremely concerned and understandably confused. 

Winkler Letter:

As part of the Board of Education's efforts to prepare graduating elementary students for the academic rigor they will encounter in high school, nearly three years ago we adopted a policy that requires all middle-grades positions to be staffed with teachers who hold the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) endorsement in one or more of the following areas: language arts, math, science and social studies.

When we adopted the policy, we committed to fully meeting the standard by July 2011. That means that no later than June 30, all schools serving middle grade students must staff language arts, math, science and social studies classes with teachers holding endorsements in these positions.  Any teachers who do not meet the endorsement requirement by June 30 cannot remain staffed in these positions. Teachers without the required endorsement will be displaced from their positions, and they could face layoff or dismissal.

While we know the endorsement status of many of our middle grades teachers, it's important that to ensure that our records are as up to date as possible.  To help, we ask you please indicate your endorsement status on the attached form and return it to our Middle Grades Specialization Project team via fax at 773-553-5688 or email  Please complete and return the attached form by April 8.  If you have questions, you can contact anyone on the team at 773-553-5600.

Thank you for your attention to this issue, and for your commitment to our students' success. 


Alicia Winckler

Chief Human Capital Officer 

cc:     Terry Mazany, Chief Executive Officer                           

Charles Payne, Chief Education Officer 

Rachel Garza-Resnick, Chief Labor Relations Officer

Katherine Volk, Acting Officer, Teaching and Learning

James Bebley, First Assistant General Counsel

Chief Area Officers      


There has been a change regarding Chicago Public School middle school teachers who need the middle school endorsement.

I want you to be aware of these issues and forward them to others in your office as necessary.

1.       Upper Elementary/Junior High Content Area Endorsements - We previously communicated that teachers with Junior HS content area endorsements would still be required to take the two middle grades pedagogy courses. After further consideration, we believe that the Junior HS endorsement gets to the heart of our policy which aims to ensure that our 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students are serviced by content area specialist. With that being said, we are not requiring teachers with Junior HS endorsements, awarded prior to 7/1/97, to complete additional coursework unless they are seeking to teach a content for which they are not currently endorsed.

2.       Nationally Board Certified Teachers (NBCT) - Teachers with National Board Certification in a core content area (English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science or Social Studies - History) meet the policy requirements for a middle grades content area specialist position. For the purposes of our specialization policy, they do not require additional coursework unless they are seeking to teach a content for which they do no hold a National Board Certification. However, teachers with the Generalist/Middle Childhood National Board Certification must complete the appropriate coursework for a content area endorsement to meet the policy requirements and provide instruction in grades 6, 7 and 8.


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  • Wonder if Ben Joravsky would write about the charter movement in Chicago?

  • "CPS students are screwed by teacher certification requirements. It's absurd that scientists, business people and the lot have to jump through ridiculous hoops to teach"

    Sort of validating the argument that "those who can't, teach"? A head full of science knowledge or a grasp of economics does not a teacher make. I don't think these endoresements are ridiculous, but I agree that content area is too glossed over by undergraduate ed programs.

  • National Board certification is about pedagogy. If you don't have a major or minor in your teaching field, you are unqualified to teach that content.


  • To get rid of a lot of teachers in a hurry?

  • As far as upper grade departmentalized, I think reading scores should be the biggest factor, but at a 33% level in ratings - linked with
    a) pedagogical skill (from direct principal observation, minimum 25 minutes)
    b) maintenance of CIM lesson plans and gradebook according to the local principal's criteria

    I teach Science I will be incredibly pissed if
    a) they make us take that nearly trivial pursuit any more t

  • ...any more than the current 4th and 7th year
    b) they imply that what I teach a 7th grader in five months in Science comes close to the skipping stone of ADD that is that test

    A new hire principal should not be able to use ANY test score data from that year as a means of making a rating for any teacher rated SATISFACTORY or above.

  • New hire Ps should put their bodies in the classrooms and get to know their staffs. What will they compare the current year scores to? Really, they shouldn't be able to compare numbers that they bear no relation to, i.e. scores of the previous year. My school was a zoo with an interim principal from Feb onwards last year, since the LSC I.T.I.W. thought they could play games with the previous hire.

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