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HIGHLY QUALIFIED TEACHERS - Statute

13. Adds requirements for related services personnel and paraprofessionals.
The qualifications under Section 612(a)(14)(A) of IDEA include qualifications for related services personnel and paraprofessionals that:
  • Are consistent with any state-approved or state-recognized certification, licensing, registration or other comparable requirements that apply to the professional discipline in which those personnel are providing special education or related services;
  • Ensure that related services personnel who deliver services in their discipline or profession meet the requirements of Section 612(a)(14)(B)(i) of IDEA and have not had certification or licensure requirements waived on an emergency, temporary or provisional basis; and
  • Allow paraprofessionals and assistants who are appropriately trained and supervised, in accordance with state law, regulation or written policy, in meeting the requirements of Part B to be used to assist in the provision of special education and related services to children with disabilities.
[612(a)(14)(B) of IDEA]

Dialogue Starter - Cross-stakeholder

Reaction Questions

  1. IDEA asserts that related service providers have certification consistent with state approved requirements in their discipline.
    • How does this lead to student achievement?
    • How will this impact services and supports for students and other school staff?
    • How does the availability of appropriately and adequately prepared and trained related service providers impact student achievement?
    • What creative options exist for SEAs and LEAs to ensure the availability of appropriately and adequately prepared related service providers?


  2. What might be the appropriate role(s) for paraprofessionals and assistants in the provision of related services and special education to children with disabilities?


  3. How might current roles change as a result of IDEA 2004?


  4. What might be some criteria for defining appropriate training and supervision?


Application Questions

  1. Why is it important to hire the most qualified service providers in terms of student outcomes?


  2. Do you know the personnel standards for specific related services disciplines (e.g., OT, SLP, school psychology)? How are these different from specific categories of personnel (e.g., academic language therapist, developmental therapist, motor therapist?


  3. How can you find out about related service qualifications?


  4. What steps can LEAs take to recruit and retain the most qualified related service providers?


  5. Who should be involved in establishing qualifications for related service providers?


  6. Who should be involved in establishing caseloads for related service providers?


  7. What steps should be taken to inform parents of the credentials of related service providers providing services to their children?


    These questions were developed by the following stakeholders working together:


    Role: National Researcher
    Location: Florida

    Role: Superintendent
    Location: Illinois

    Role: Special Education Teacher
    Location: Pennsylvania

    Role: School Division–National Related Service Provider organization
    Location: Maryland

    Role: Local Special Education Director
    Location: Connecticut

    Role: National Technical Assistance Provider
    Location: California

    Role: National Technical Assistance Provider
    Location: Colorado

    Role: Government Relations–National Related Service Provider organization
    Location: Maryland