Licensure

 

DESE Licensure for School Nurses and The Individual Professional Development Plan

  1. Overview – DESE Licensure for School Nurses
  2. Guide for Developing an Individual Professional Development Plan
  3. Individual Professional Development Plan Template
  4.  MA DESE IPDP Template
  5. Professional Development – Plans and Points
  6. Brief History of DESE Licensure of School Nurses 1993 to present and Grandfathering
  7. “Thesaurus” of Terms
  8. Contact Hour, CEU and PDP Information
  9. 1994 DOE Regulations for School Nurse
  10. Competencies – School Nurse MA DOE 1994
Contact – DESE:
  •  The Telephone Number for the Department of Education is: 1-781-338-3000.
  •  The Office for Licensure’s telephone number is: 1-781-338-6600.
Contacts – MSNO:

 

DESE Licensure for School Nurses – An Overview

Information Provided by MSNO

Certification is the recognition that a certain standard, set by a professional body, has been met by an individual in that profession. The overall purpose of certification is the assurance to the public that the individual has the necessary expertise of knowledge and skills in their professional specialty. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education licensure of school nurses is based on those standards of practice and credentialing recognized by ANA, NASN and MSNO.

Licensing (certification) by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is a requirement for the employment setting, not the practice. Licensing by the Board of Registration in Nursing is a requirement for practice, wherever the setting.

All school nurses working in the public schools of Massachusetts are required to be licensed with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), as are all administrators, teachers and other professional support personnel. Most, if not all Districts, are requiring nurses to be licensed at the time of hire.  If not licensed at the time of hire, nurses must do so as soon as possible after being hired (refer to individual district guidelines) Another District option is to apply for a critical need if you cannot find any licensed candidates.

All DESE information for Educator Licensure can be found at: www.doe.mass.edu . School nurses are considered Professional Support Personnel and the full regulations and requirements can be found on the DESE website: http://www.doe.mass.edu/lawsregs/603cmr7.html?section=11.

 

Licensure

MA DESE Licensure has three levels, only two of which apply to the School Nurse. These are:

  1. Initial License
  2. Professional License

(Preliminary License: Not applicable for the School Nurse applicant due to the requirement for minimal 2 years of experience as a Registered Nurse prior to Initial licensure.)

 

The regulations that govern this DESE Licensure are: 603 CMR 7.00 Regulations for Educator Licensure

School Nurse (Levels: All)

 (a) Initial License.

  1. Valid license to practice as a Registered Nurse in Massachusetts.
  2. A bachelor’s or master’s degree in nursing.
  3. A minimum of two full years of employment as a Registered Nurse in a child health, community health, or other relevant clinical nursing setting.
  4. Completion of an orientation program based on the requirements for delivery of school health services as defined by the Department of Public Health. (Includes Professional School Nursing Practice in MA (2 day program), Medication Administration and Delegation in MA Schools (1 day program) AND Mandated Screening Training for School Nurses (1 day program).     ALL 3 PROGRAMS ARE NEEDED FOR LICENSURE
  5. Passing score on the MTEL Communication and Literacy Skills test. (www.doe.mass.edu )***

***All support personnel, including school nurses, who apply for initial licensure, are required to meet the qualifying score on Department of Education Communication and Literacy skills test. School nurses are not subject to a test of subject matter knowledge for this certificate. This is the same requirement for all other support personnel, such as a school psychologist, school guidance counselor, school social worker, library media specialist, speech and language therapists, etc.

(b) Professional License.

  • Possession of an Initial license.
  • Three years of employment as a school nurse.
  • Completion of one of the following:

Achievement and maintenance of certification or licensure by a nationally recognized professional nursing association as a school nurse, community health nurse, or a pediatric/family/school nurse practitioner.
A master’s degree program that may include credits earned in a master’s degree program for the Initial license in community health, health education, nursing, or public health.

The Initial license is valid for 5 years. It is the expectation that at the end of 5 years, the requirements will have been met to move to the Professional License. If these have not been met, the holder of the Initial License may apply for a one time extension for another 5 years.

The Professional License is renewed every 5 years by meeting the required Continuing Education / Professional Development. (See below)

School Nurses and Professional Teacher Status

Chapter 267 of the Acts of 2006, was approved August 21, 2006, amends Chapter 71 section 41 of the General Laws to include school nurses in the list of school personnel (including teachers, school librarians, school adjustment counselors, school social workers and school psychologists) who are eligible for professional teacher status if they meet certain established criteria.

The full text of the new law is available at http://mass.gov/legis/laws/seslaw06/sl060267.htm.

Re-Licensure
  • Primary License: 150 PDPs
  • Each additional license: 30 PDPs
  • Continuing Education / Professional Development required to renew Professional licenses every 5 calendar years

 

The MA DESE requirements for re-licensure of 2000 are in effect at this time.

The complete regulations can be found at: http://www.doe.mass.edu/recert/2000guidelines/guidelines.pdf.

MA DESE Re-licensure FAQ can be found at: http://www.doe.mass.edu/recert/qa.html.

The Individual Professional Development Plan

The Individual Professional Development Plan aims to align the individual educator’s needs for professional development for enhancing their practice with the goals / mission of their individual school and their school district.

Educators in Massachusetts who hold a professional license are required to develop an Individual Professional Development Plan in order to meet license renewal requirements. Professional teaching licenses must be renewed every 5 years and the re-licensure process requires all educators to prepare an Individual Professional Development Plan for each renewal cycle. The plan must be consistent with the educational goals of the school and/or district and enhance the ability of the educator to improve student learning. Educators may need to modify the plan based on evolving school improvement goals.

 See:

“Guide for Developing an Individual Professional Development Plan”,

“Individual Professional Development Plan Template” and

“MA DESE IPDP Template”

Professional Development Points – PDP’s

See:

DESE “Recertification Guidelines for Massachusetts Educators 2000”

 http://www.doe.mass.edu/recert/2000guidelines/guidelines.pdf

The total number of PDP’s necessary to renew a Professional License in a primary area of practice is 150, with 80% required to be in the content area of the primary license. The remainder can be considered “elective.” Each additional area of licensure must include an additional 30 PDP’s in the content and skill of each additional license to be renewed.

A minimum of 10 to a maximum of 45 PDP’s are needed in order to count towards the 150 total number required for re-licensure. The linked PDP’s need to be topic-related and must have some form of post assessment (a test) or an end of course product to be eligible to be considered.

 

See:

“Professional Development Plans and Points”

For information about the development and history of DESE Licensure of school nurses,

 

See:

“Brief History of DESE Licensure of School Nurses 1993 to Present and Grandfathering”

For information / clarification of some of the terminology encountered in the certification / licensure process,

 

See:

“Thesaurus of Terms”

 

Guide for Developing an Individual Professional Development Plan

The individual’s professional development should be directly linked to the goals of your district and individual school improvement plans.

 

What is an Individual Professional Development Plan (IPDP)?

Educators in Massachusetts who hold a professional license are required to develop an Individual Professional Development Plan in order to meet license renewal requirements. Professional teaching licenses must be renewed every 5 years and the re-licensure process requires all educators to prepare an Individual Professional Development Plan for each renewal cycle. The plan must be consistent with the educational goals of the school and/or district and enhance the ability of the educator to improve student learning. Educators may need to modify the plan based on evolving school improvement goals.

While the Principal/Supervisor must approve the IPDP, the responsibility for developing the plan and completing and documenting professional development activities belongs to the individual educator. Likewise, it is the educator’s responsibility to monitor the plan for needed changes and for initiating a biennial plan review with the principal.

 

How do I develop an Individual Professional Development Plan?

  • Follow the steps below to develop an IPDP:
  • Review a copy of your district’s Professional Development Plan, Mission Statement or District/School Improvement Plan – this information is often on the district website .
  • Review a copy of the School Improvement Plan for your school.
  • Review the required Professional Development Points (PDPs) for your license(s).
  • Formulate a set of individual professional growth goals consistent with district and school improvement goals.
  • Choose professional development activities that will help you meet your goals over the 5-year licensure renewal cycle.
  • Share your plan with your Principal/Supervisor and secure her/his approval.
  • Complete the professional development activities and keep records.
  • Revisit your IPDP with your Principal/Supervisor every two years to review goals and amend the plan as necessary. You may add appropriate professional development activities as they become available during the 5-year cycle.

 

What criteria might the principal/supervisor use in approving my IPDP?

IPDPs must be approved by the Principal or supervisor. Principals and supervisors may wish to ask the following questions when reviewing and approving Individual Professional Development Plans:

  • To what extent are the individual professional growth goals aligned with school and/or district goals?
  • How will the proposed professional development activities add to the educator’s repertoire of skills and content knowledge?
  • How is the plan designed to improve student learning?
  • How is the educator participating in a range of meaningful and professionally relevant professional development?

 

What resources are available for developing my IPDP?

  • School Improvement Plans – see individual school websites
  • For more information on requirements for educator license renewal, consult the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education web site at http://www.doe.mass.edu/recert/
  • The Massachusetts Teacher’s Association also maintains a Recertification Help page at: http://www.massteacher.org/career/state_cert/recert.

 

Professional Development – Plans and Points

 

  1. Review and list the mission statement/goals for the district and school
  2. Prepare the individual goals – keep goals broad and focus on 2-4 goals
  3. Meet with the Principal / Supervisor and sign Plan
  4. Meet again at the end of 2 and 4 years to revise Plan if needed
  5. Compile and appropriately link all PDP’s
  6. Hold for 5 years following re-licensure
  7. Submit application for re-licensure, sign and include with payment.

 

 

NOTE: IPDP and PDP’s are not submitted to DESE unless an audit is requested. (Same as MA RN re-licensure process with BORN.)

 

Most professional development programs presented for nurses that meet the criteria of BORN for contact hours are eligible for conversion to “certificates of attendance” that can be linked together to meet the criteria for PDP’s.

Individual Professional Development Plan

(See:“Individual Professional Development Plan Template”)

The requirement for an individual professional development plan evolved with the passage of Education Reform and its mandate for the professional development of all educators. Continued professional development was seen as a primary component to maintaining the highest level of competence to those charged with educating Massachusetts students.

Following the first recertification cycle, the requirement to have an Individual Professional Development Plan was instituted. All “teaching” professionals who hold a Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Professional License, including school nurses, guidance counselors, school psychologists, and social workers, are required to develop and maintain an Individual Professional Development Plan (IPDP).

The Individual Professional Development Plan documents the educator’s own goals for professional development and how they align with the school and / or district educational goals, school improvement plans or mission statements. The educator needs to review their personal goals periodically and keep them current. It is the responsibility of the educator to develop an IPDP every five years in order to renew licensure. Plans should be reviewed every 2 years.

Developing An Individual Professional Development Plan

There are four steps to developing an Individual Professional Development Plan. Step 1 is to determine what are the district and school goals. District and school goals can be found on school district websites. Another source is the school principal.

Step 2 is to develop individual professional goals that align with the district and school goals. Goals should be more general than specific. Nurses working together in a group proves easier in helping to formulate goals. It will also help to strengthen their vision and role as a department and encourage professional collaboration.

Step 3 is to identify the required number of professional development points or PDPs.

Step 4 is to obtain the approval or endorsement of the assigned supervisor in the district for the developed Individual Professional Development Plan.

Earning PDPs

 School Nurses, See: “Contact Hour, CEU and PDP Information”

There are several ways to earn PDPs as determined by the DESE. The more familiar way is by clock hours collected at conferences or district professional development offerings that focus on strengthening professional knowledge and skills in content areas: 1 PDP = 1 clock hour. Confirmation of number or hours for attendance becomes “Certificate of Attendance”, handed to the participant at the end of the program / conference. These hours then become “linked” and form the basis of the required PDP’s.

However, PDPs are no longer granted for single conferences. In order for a PDP to be valid PDPs must be grouped into blocks of a minimum of ten (10) PDPs in a relevant subject area or related topic areas with an end of course assessment (a test) or the completion of an end product, which is an observable demonstration of learning.

A topic is a single area of study or one that is tightly integrated within a given clinical topic. For example: Mental Health and Clinical Health Needs of Children. A variety of professional development activities in one topic can be used to satisfy the ten hour topic minimum requirement.

An observable demonstration of learning would be a newsletter article, presentations to parents, staff, community or student groups. An assessment would be a test at the end of a professional development program.

If you receive a Certificate of Attendance at a conference relevant to a subject area where PDPs or Certificates of Attendance have already been obtained, the hours can be changed to PDPs and be added to the subject area in which you have already completed an observable demonstration of learning (up to 40 PDPs).

Other ways to earn PDPs include:

  • college courses

1 Semester hour = 15 PDPs • advanced academic study or DESE sponsored activities
1.5 PDPs = 1.5 clock hours • educator designed professional activity that results in a professional product

  • 1 Presentation at a professional conference in a five year renewal cycle
  • 30 PDPs-Developing and implementing an activity for students, parents or teachers. These activities can include:

Series of seminars
Series of health related issues and their impact on learning
Extended learning activities for students

Curriculum Development
Doctoral Dissertation — 90 PDPs in five years
Masters or CAGS Thesis — 45 PDPs in five years
Chapters or professional articles in a book or professional journal — 30 PDPs per chapter or article
Published results of action research 30 PDPs in five years

CEUs are not related to contact hours. See the CEU definition on the DESE web site: www.doe.mass.edu).

Calculating PDPs

Calculating PDPs can be confusing. If PDPs are awarded by the school district: 1 PDP is equal to one clock hour.

If a program for continuing education credit is presented and or approved by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC): 1 PDP is equal to one clock hour (contact hour).

If a program is presented and approved for continuing education credit by the Board of Registration in Nursing (BORN): 1 PDP is equal to 1.2 contact hours.

Approval

After the educator has developed the plan, it needs to be endorsed/approved by a supervisor and this person can vary within districts from principals, to department heads, to nurse leaders or a combination. It is the responsibility of the educator to identify the correct person in their district to endorse/approve the plan. This same person is required to review and approve the plan every two years after the initial approval.

Approval means that eighty percent (80%) of the PDPs in the plan are consistent with the educational goals of the school and or district and that the plan is designed to enhance the ability of the educator to improve student learning. An approval or endorsement indicates that the supervisor has reviewed the record of professional development activities maintained by the educator to ensure that the reported activities are consistent with the approved professional plan.

Organizing Professional Development Activities

It is best to organize Professional Development activities according to topics, remembering that you need at least 10 PDPs in a topic area with an end product to count as PDPs.

 

DESE Audits

The DESE can request an audit of an educator’s Individual Professional Development Plan. Educators must maintain the documentation, record log, professional development plan, and application for five years from the date of recertification.

The following is needed if an audit is requested.

An Individual Professional Development Plan that is current and approved by the educator’s supervisor.

Reasonable documentation that validates the completion of an activity and the number of points accrued

A record of complete recertification activities that must include:

  • The topic and type of professional activities completed
  • The dates of the activities
  • The number of points completed.
  • Assessments or products

In summary it is the educator’s responsibility to:

  • Develop the plan
  • Obtain the supervisor’s initial approval and endorsement
  • Initiate a plan review with the supervisor every 2 years
  • Complete and document professional activities • Monitor the plan for needed changes

 

Brief History of DESE (formerly DOE) Licensure of School Nurses in Massachusetts and Grandfathering

Until the Education Reform Act of 1993, there were no standard requirements for the position of school nurse in Massachusetts. MSNO initiated legislation many times over many years to try to establish Certification for School Nurses. There was no nursing body that would / could set this standard, because it was specific to a particular setting – therefore it was up to those within that setting to set the standard. (The School Health Unit at DPH was a fairly new department when this legislation passed in 1993.)

When Ed Reform became a reality, with the inclusion of the school nurse as part of the Educational Professional Support Personnel, regulations for the school nurse certification needed to be established. There are few outside of the practice of school nursing who understand the complexities or the scope of the practice. The establishment of these regulations was a lengthy process of collaboration between DOE, DPH and MSNO in order to come to an understanding of our practice to set the basic regulations and competencies in 1994.

And the practice of school nursing has continued to become more and more complex.

Those nurses who had been in the practice of school nursing for many years and who did not have a Bachelor’s Degree, a BSN or an MSN could not be excluded – they were grandfathered. (Grandfathering for school nurses ended in 1998.)

  • Thus, any nurse who was employed as a school nurse on or before June, 1993 was exempt from the requirement of certification.
  • Any nurse who was employed on or before June, 1993 and had 5 years of experience as a school nurse and who had a BSN, could apply for Standard Certification (which meant that they would not be required to get a Master’s Degree or National Certification).
  • There was further legislation which opened a narrow window of opportunity from 1996-1998 that allowed any nurse, with or without a BSN or MSN, who had been employed as a school nurse on or before Sept 30, 1993 to be eligible to apply for Standard Certification. Once that window closed, all grandfathering opportunities ceased.

 

MSNO had been warned that DESE was likely to “tweak” the regulations. We alerted those school nurses who qualified for any of the grandfathering to become certified while they had the opportunity.

Also, the implications for the grandfathered school nurses could be profound:

  • Many districts would be ineligible for certain grant opportunities if all staff were not certified
  • A new superintendent could come in and require all staff to be certified by DESE
  • If a nurse moved to a different district, she would be eligible for a position, but she might not be chosen, because the district could require all staff to be certified. If there was another candidate for the job who was certified, the superintendent would have to hire that person.
  • Under the NCLB law, all staff need to be “highly qualified” which means they need to be licensed (certified) in their field.

Of the requirements for the DESE Initial License, a BSN or MSN are still in place. If a district is unable to find a nurse who is already licensed by DESE or is close to meeting the requirements, the district can hire the nurse and request a waiver from DESE. This is for one year, with the expectation that the nurse will be eligible for and receive the Initial License at the end of that time. (The waiver process is for any educator, not just a school nurse, who meets the above criteria for requirements in their field of education.)

The regulations have been updated several times; currently, the Professional License also requires either a Masters Degree or maintenance of certification from a national nursing organization.

Historical Time Line

DOE Certification 1993 to Present DESE Licensure

1993 – Inclusion of School Nurse Certification in the Massachusetts Education Reform Law

1994 – Requirements set for DOE Certification for School Nurses in the MA Public Schools

See: 1994 DOE Regulations for School Nurse.pdf

1994 – Competencies set for DOE Certification for School Nurse:

History of Grandfathering

(No longer applicable to any applicant for DESE Licensure for School Nurse)

1993 – Initial Regulations for School Nurse Certification included a grandfathering clause stating:

Any nurse employed by a school district on or before June 18, 1993 would be exempt from the requirement for certification by DOE.

All nurses employed by a school district as of June 18, 1993 with a minimum of five years experience as a school nurse and held a BSN would be eligible to apply for the Standard Certification and were exempt from the requirements listed in 603 CMR 7.10 (42) (b) (1), (3) and (4).

1997 – Chapter 220 of the Acts of 1997 – Grandfathering of School Nurses:

Any school nurse employed by a school district on or before September 30, 1993, who had five years of experience as a registered nurse, could obtain a Standard Certificate without having to meet the bachelor’s degree and master’s degree requirements, if they applied before 10/1/1999. They were not required to take the Communication and Literacy tests.

 

“Thesaurus” of Terms

DESE

“Educators may receive PDP’s after the successful completion of a professional development program (minimum of 10 hours on a topic) with an observable demonstration of learning that could include a written product or other documentable product.” Recertification Guidelines January 2000

“Providers may only award PDP’s after an educator has demonstrated proficiency in a relevant subject area or has demonstrated proficiency in a professional skill. All end-of-course assessments must assess at least 10 hours of professional development on a given topic.”Guidelines for Professional Development Providers February 2000

Therefore:

PDP’s for Massachusetts educators will be awarded by a provider when a minimum of 10 hours per topic has been completed along with an end of course product or test.

Otherwise, a “Certificate of Attendance” will be issued to the educator. The educator may receive PDP’s from their district by combining these professional development hours with follow-up activities in their district for a total of 10 or more hours.

Contact Hours: The “Certificate of Attendance” may also be applicable for contact hours for licensed professional support personnel, i.e. nurses, social workers, psychologists and adjustment counselors, as long as the program meets the requirements of the individual licensing boards. The licensed professional should be familiar with the professional development criteria of their individual licensing boards in order to determine the eligibility for contact hours.

For many years, nurses have been required to earn professional development/continuing education (CE) hours in order to meet the legal requirements for license renewal every two (2) years. This CE must meet the criteria in Board regulations. (See BORN web site at Massachusetts BORN:

http://www.doe.mass.edu/lawsregs/603cmr7.html?section=11

Those organizations and institutions which have provided these professional development programs have, unfortunately, documented the professional hours of contact hours interchangeably with/as CEU’s. This is not uncommon in other states, as well.

DESE Terms

ELAR:  The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s online educator licensure system

EPIMS: Education Personnel Information Management System

MTEL: Massachusetts Test for Educator Licensure

SIMS: Student Information and Management System

Panel Review – This panel meets 3 times a month to review alternate routes for candidates who have significant professional experience but may lack all of the credentials required for a particular license. The intent is to allow this person to enter the Massachusetts Educator system, with directives as to what, if any, further credentialing is necessary to complete the License requirements for their field.

Contact Hour, CEU, and PDP Information

We, as nurses, need to clarify the meaning of PDP, CEU and contact hour.

For many years, MA nurses have been required to earn professional development/continuing education (CE) hours in order to meet the legal requirements for license renewal every two (2) years. This CE must meet the criteria in Board of Nursing regulations. ( http://www.mass.gov/dph/boards/rn).

Those organizations and institutions which have provided these professional development programs have, unfortunately, documented the professional development hours of contact hours interchangeably with/as CEU’s. This is not uncommon in other states, as well.

The Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing (BORN) – defines the documentation of professional development/continuing education as:

  • One contact hour = 50 consecutive minutes
  • One college semester credit (of an acceptable course) = 15 contact hours
  • The BORN requires 15 contact hours every two (2) years for license renewal.
  • It can generally be assumed that if a nurse has attended a conference or workshop where the credit has been given as CEU’s for several hours of professional development, the professional development should be considered to be the equal number of contact hours.
  • The exception to this is if the professional development specifically states that it is being presented as college credit. As a rule, there is an additional fee for this credit. This credit then would be 1 college credit = 15 contact hours.

The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)

  • One contact hour = 60 consecutive minutes. (BORN has not yet submitted the necessary legislation to make the change to a 60 minute contact hour )

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education defines professional development credits as:

  • 1 PDP = 1 clock hour
  • 1 Semester hour = 15 PDP’s
  • 1 CEU = 10 PDP’s (The CEU definition can be found on the DESE web site at http://www.doe.mass.edu.)
  •  Advanced Academic Study or DESE activities = 1.5 PDP’s/clock hour
  • When submitting/converting your nursing professional development for DESE, remember that you will need to convert your contact hours (or the interchangeable CEU’s) to PDP’s.
  • ANCC = 1 contact hour = 1 PDP …………………. BORN = 1.2 contact hours = 1 PDP

Under most circumstances, this will not be a problem, since most school nurses have professional development credit in nursing, participate as a presenter, participate in school study groups, educational projects, mentoring, school improvement activities, etc. Nursing can account for the minimum of 120 PDP’s or all 150 PDP’s. Please refer to the DESE web site for more specifics http://www.doe.mass.

 

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