South Carolina General Assembly
125th Session, 2023-2024

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S. 418

STATUS INFORMATION

General Bill
Sponsors: Senators Hembree and Turner
Document Path: SR-0224KM23.docx

Introduced in the Senate on January 19, 2023
Currently residing in the Senate Committee on Education

Summary: Read to Succeed Endorsements

HISTORY OF LEGISLATIVE ACTIONS

Date Body Action Description with journal page number
1/19/2023 Senate Introduced and read first time (Senate Journal-page 3)
1/19/2023 Senate Referred to Committee on Education (Senate Journal-page 3)

View the latest legislative information at the website

VERSIONS OF THIS BILL

1/19/2023



A bill

TO AMEND THE SOUTH CAROLINA CODE OF LAWS BY AMENDING SECTION 59-155-180, RELATING TO PRE-SERVICE AND IN-SERVICE TEACHER EDUCATION PROGRAMS, SO AS TO UPDATE THE ENDORSEMENT REQUIREMENTS OF READ TO SUCCEED.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:

SECTION 1.   Section 59-155-180(C) of the S.C. Code is amended to read:

   (C)(1) To ensure that practicing professionals possess the knowledge and skills necessary to assist all children and adolescents in becoming proficient readers, multiple pathways are needed for developing this capacity.

      (2) A reading/literacy coach shall be employed in each elementary school. Reading coaches shall serve as job-embedded, stable resources for professional development throughout schools in order to generate improvement in reading and literacy instruction and student achievement. Reading coaches shall support and provide initial and ongoing professional development to teachers based on an analysis of student assessment and the provision of differentiated instruction and intensive intervention. The reading coach shall:

         (a) model effective instructional strategies for teachers by working weekly with students in whole, and small groups, or individually;

         (b) facilitate study groups;

         (c) train teachers in data analysis and using data to differentiate instruction;

         (d) coaching and mentoring colleagues;

         (e) work with teachers to ensure that research-based reading programs are implemented with fidelity;

         (f) work with all teachers (including content area and elective areas) at the school they serve, and help prioritize time for those teachers, activities, and roles that will have the greatest impact on student achievement, namely coaching and mentoring in the classrooms; and

         (g) help lead and support reading leadership teams.

      (3) The reading coach must not be assigned a regular classroom teaching assignment, must not perform administrative functions that deter from the flow of improving reading instruction and reading performance of students and must not devote a significant portion of his or her time to administering or coordinating assessments. By August 1, 2014, the department must publish guidelines that define the minimum qualifications for a reading coach. Beginning in Fiscal Year 2014-2015, reading/literacy coaches are required to earn the add-on certification within six years, except as exempted in items (4) and (5), by completing the necessary courses or professional development as required by the department for the add-on. During the six-year period, to increase the number of qualified reading coaches, the Read to Succeed Office shall identify and secure courses and professional development opportunities to assist educators in becoming reading coaches and in earning the literacy add-on endorsement. In addition, the Read to Succeed Office will establish a process through which a district may be permitted to use state appropriations for reading coaches to obtain in-school services from department-approved consultants or vendors, in the event that the school is not successful in identifying and directly employing a qualified candidate. Districts must provide to the Read to Succeed Office information on the name and qualifications of reading coaches funded by the state appropriations.

      (4) Beginning in Fiscal Year 2015-2016, early childhood and elementary education certified classroom teachers, reading interventionists, and those special education teachers who provide learning disability and speech services to students who need to substantially improve their low reading and writing proficiency skills, are required to earn the literacy teacher add-on endorsement within ten years of their most recent certification by taking at least two courses or six credit hours every five years, or the equivalent professional development hours as determined by the South Carolina Read to Succeed Office, consistent with existing recertification requirements. Inservice hours earned through professional development for the literacy teacher endorsement must be used for renewal of teaching certificates in all subject areas. The courses and professional development leading to the endorsement must be approved by the State Board of Education and must include foundations, assessment, content area reading and writing, instructional strategies, and an embedded or stand-alone practicum. Whenever possible these courses shall be offered at a professional development rate which is lower than the certified teacher rate. Early childhood and elementary education certified classroom teachers, reading specialists, and special education teachers who provide learning disability and speech services to students who need to improve substantially their reading and writing proficiency and who already possess their add-on reading teacher certification can take a content area reading course to obtain their literacy teacher add-on endorsement. Individuals who possess a literacy teacher add-on endorsement or who have earned a master's or doctorate degree in reading are exempt from this requirement. Individuals who have completed an intensive and prolonged professional development program like Reading Recovery, Project Read, the South Carolina Reading Initiative, or another similar program should submit their transcripts to the Office of Educator Licensure to determine if they have completed the coursework required for the literacy teacher add-on certificate. The board is authorized to approve guidelines on an annual basis for professional development, coursework, certification, and endorsement requirements for teachers of early childhood and elementary education, including special education teachers, interventionists, reading specialists, and administrators, whose responsibilities, either directly or indirectly, substantially relate to reading and literacy instruction, support, or interventions as provided in this section. The guidelines approved by the board shall also include the issuance of appropriate credit to individuals who have completed an intensive and prolonged professional development program like Reading Recovery, Project Read, the South Carolina Reading Initiative, or another similar program. Local school districts, working with the department, shall offer the required professional development, coursework, certification, and endorsements at no charge to educators. Inservice hours earned through professional development must be used for renewal of teaching certificates in all subject areas.

      (5) Beginning in Fiscal Year 2015-2016, middle and secondary licensed classroom teachers are required to take at least one course or three credit hours, or the equivalent professional development hours as determined by the South Carolina Read to Succeed Office, to improve reading instruction within five years of their most recent certification. The courses and professional development must be approved by the State Board of Education and include courses and professional development leading to the literacy teacher add-on endorsement. Coursework and professional development in reading must include a course in reading in the content areas. Whenever possible these courses will be offered at a professional development rate which is lower than the certified teacher rate. Individuals who possess a literacy teacher add-on endorsement or who have earned a master's or doctorate degree in reading are exempt from this requirement. Individuals who have completed an intensive, prolonged professional development program like Reading Recovery, Project Read, the South Carolina Reading Initiative, or another similar program should submit their transcripts the to the Office of Educator Licensure to determine if they have completed the coursework or professional development required for the literacy teacher add-on certificate. Beginning July 1, 2023, early childhood, elementary, and special education teacher candidates seeking their initial certification in South Carolina must earn a passing score on a rigorous test of scientifically research-based reading instruction and intervention and data-based decision-making principles as approved by the board. The objective of this item is to ensure that teacher candidates understand the foundations of reading and are prepared to teach reading to all students.

      (6) Beginning in Fiscal Year 2015-2016, principals and administrators who are responsible for reading instruction or intervention and school psychologists in a school district or school are required to take at least one course or three credit hours within five years of their most recent certification, or the equivalent professional development hours as determined by the South Carolina Read to Succeed Office. The course or professional development shall include information about reading process, instruction, assessment, or content area literacy and shall be approved by the Read to Succeed Office. The board shall approve guidelines and procedures to allow in-service educators the option of utilizing the test in item (5) to exempt requirements established by the board pursuant to item (4). As part of this process, the board shall set a minimum cut score that an in-service educator must achieve in order to take advantage of this provision. An educator's score on this assessment may not be used for evaluation purposes. Contingent upon funding by the General Assembly, this test shall be provided at no cost to the educator.

      (7) The Read to Succeed Office shall publish by August 1, 2014, the guidelines and procedures used in evaluating all courses and professional development, including virtual courses and professional development, leading to the literacy teacher add-on endorsement. Annually by January first, the Read to Succeed Office shall publish the approved courses and approved professional development leading to the literacy teacher add-on endorsement. Teachers, administrators, and other certified faculty and staff are exempt from having to earn the literacy add-on endorsement to maintain certification only if they are not educating or serving students in a school or other educational setting. The literacy add-on endorsement must be earned before an individual who was previously exempt pursuant to this item returns to a position where they educate or otherwise serve students.

   (8) Annually by August first, the department shall publish the guidelines and procedures used in evaluating all courses and professional development, including virtual courses and professional development, leading to the literacy teacher add-on endorsement. Annually by January first, the department shall publish the approved courses and approved professional development leading to the literacy teacher add-on endorsement.

      (9) Prior to August 1, 2024 and continuing every five years thereafter, the department will conduct an evaluation of approved courses used for compliance of this section. The evaluation must include survey data from prior course participants. The department shall remove any courses receiving an unsatisfactory evaluation from the list of approved courses and professional development under this Section.

SECTION 2.   This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.

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This web page was last updated on January 23, 2023 at 4:49 PM