Highly Qualified Teachers and Paraprofessionals: Transition from the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) to the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA)


On December 10, 2015, President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA), which reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) and replaces the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB).  ESSA contains several provisions which impact “highly qualified teacher” (HQT) requirements beginning with the 2016-2017 school year.

The terms “highly qualified teacher” and “highly qualified paraprofessional” will be eliminated as of August 1, 2016.  As such, starting with the 2016-2017 school year, “highly qualified” data will no longer be collected or reported, nor will calculations be made related to percentages of classes being taught by highly qualified teachers.  However, under ESSA and §22.1-298.1 of the Code of Virginia, students must still be taught by teachers who are properly licensed and endorsed for the classes they are assigned to teach. These data will continue to be collected through the Master Schedule Collection (MSC) and Instructional Personnel and Licensure Report (IPAL). Additional information regarding licensure for teachers in Virginia may be found at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/teaching/licensure/index.shtml.

Go to the Superintendent's Memo to see the table below outlines some key differences that are known at this time between teacher qualifications under NCLB and ESSA.


Questions about ESSA
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