Starting this summer, requirements for Indiana teachers to renew their teaching licenses will increase. Completing a 15-hour externship with a company is one of their options for renewal.

This is a mandate included in House Enrolled Act 1002, “Professional Growth Points,” which passed in this spring’s Indiana legislative session. An official memo was sent out to superintendents and principals by the Indiana Department of Education last week.

Holders of Professional Educator Licenses are required to renew their license every five years. During this period, they’re required to acquire 90 points according to the DOE’s professional growth plan, or PGP. The PGP has already existed, but legislators are changing the requirements of attaining points.

Starting July 1, 2019, teachers who want to renew their licenses will be required to complete 15 of the 90 PGP points required for renewal in one of three ways.

First, they can complete an externship with a company. They can go to the company or have representatives from the company come to their school to educate them.

Secondly, teachers can participate in professional development provided by the state, a local business, or a community partner that provides opportunities for school and employers to partner in promoting career navigation.

Thirdly, they can participate in professional development that outlines current and future economic needs of the community, state, nation, and globe and how these needs can be disseminated to students. This third option has to receive under the state, a local business, or a community partner.

Indiana State Senator Dennis Kruse (R – District 14) said the new requirement will help students prepare for the workforce.

“For some reason there’s been a gap between what the kids are learning in school and what employers want them to have, as far as skills and knowledge on the job,” he said. “So we want to try and connect those two and teachers is one of the key things to connect to employers so the teacher knows what the employer needs and want, so they can help teach and guide those kids so they can fulfill those job opportunities that are out there.”

President of the Fort Wayne Education Association Julie Hyndman said Fort Wayne Community Schools teachers were blindsided by this law. 

“It’s another opportunity to demoralize public school teachers that the Indiana legislatures have continued to do, this year and most years prior,” she said. “This is a complete insult.” 

Hyndman, an FWCS elementary school teacher of 24 years, said lawmakers don’t understand educators and the hardships and business of their career.

She explained that teachers already participate in conferences, workshops and continuing education through their districts. She doesn’t see any value in going to an outside source for professional development. 

“At this point I don’t see it,” she said. “What I really wish is that legislators that make these kind of laws would make an externship in a public school themselves for an extended period of time.”

Kruse said many teachers representing the Indiana State Teachers Association were at the discussions over the new law. He thinks they may have failed to inform Fort Wayne superintendents and teachers that it was coming. 

The new law will only take affect teachers that begin their five-year renewal after July 1. Those that started accruing their 90 hours before that date won’t have to do an externship.

A PGP is one of four license renewal options available to license holders under current rules needed to maintain a required concurrently held Indiana Licensing Agency License. Hyndman said at least half of teachers hold a PGP.

A PGP is required for individuals completing 90 hours of professional development for renewal and for individuals combining college coursework and professional development hours for renewal. One hour of participation in a professional development activity equals one PGP point.

For the new 15-PGP point requirement to apply to an individual’s license renewal, the answer “yes” must be answered to the following: Is the license to be renewed a Professional Educator License issued as a practitioner or accomplished practitioner license or a comparable license issued under prior rules, is the selected renewal option a PGP, and was the PGP for renewal started in the license holder’s Licensing Verification and Information System account after July 1, 2019.

Professional Educator Licenses are full licenses issued in instructional, administrative, and school services content areas.

The Office of Career and Technical Education, the Office of Educator Licensing, and the Office of Workforce and Innovation will be posting guidance and resources on the Indiana Department of Education website in the near future. The info will include how to set up an externship with a company, how local education agencies, can collaborate with community business and economic development partners, and where to find existing resources and tools through state and local organization and partners.

Click here to read PGP Memorandum.