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TO:                   Superintendents of Schools and School Principals

FROM:             Susan A. Gendron, Commissioner

DATE:              June 7, 2006


Revised Requirements for Highly Qualified Teacher Identification and Use of the HOUSSE Rubric

Please be advised that Local Education Agencies (LEAs) responsible for determining veteran teachers’ Highly Qualified status after August 31, 2006 may be subject to new rules as to the use of the HOUSSE Rubric.  At present, in order to be considered Highly Qualified, a veteran teacher must demonstrate content area competency by:

  1. Holding a Bachelor’s degree or higher; and
  1. Holding full Maine State Teaching Certification (Provisional, Professional, or Master); and
  1. Having a major, or coursework equivalent to a major (24 semester hours), from an accredited four-year college(s) or university in the assigned core content area; or holding an advanced degree in that content area; or holding National Board Certification in that content area; or having passed the PRAXIS II in that content area; or having achieved 100 points in at least 3 columns, on Maine’s HOUSSE Rubric in that content area.

Recent guidance from the United States Department of Education indicates that the use of the HOUSSE may be curtailed after this year.  LEAs may want to apply the HOUSSE procedure, before August 31, 2006, to all veteran teachers who have not yet demonstrated Highly Qualified status and are eligible for the HOUSSE, or are anticipated to transfer teaching assignment into another content area in which they do not meet the other criteria listed in # 3 above.  The reasons for this are detailed in the remainder of this letter.

We are advising that all veteran teachers (teachers with at least one year of teaching experience) to use HOUSSE to determine their highly qualified status in all possible core academic subjects.  Once HOUSSE is phased out for veteran teachers, the only means of demonstrating highly qualified status in a subject will be to: 1) pass the PRAXIS II;
2) earn a major, or 24 credits in the subject or; 3) earn an advanced degree in a subject or an advanced certificate in a subject.

Deputy Secretary of Education Henry L. Johnson recently announced that the use of the HOUSSE Rubric for veteran teachers, except in certain situations, should be completed by the end of the 2005-06 school year, to achieve conformity with the deadline by which teachers of core subjects must be highly qualified.  I have designated August 31, 2006 as the official end of Maine's 2005-2006 school year. 

After August 31, 2006, according to this new guidance from the United States Department of Education, the allowed uses of HOUSSE procedures will be as follows for teachers hired after the end of the 2005-06 school year:

All other new hires are required to demonstrate competency by meeting the 3 listed criteria in the first paragraph on page one of this letter, excluding the HOUSSE procedures.

Teachers currently qualified under HOUSSE procedures (i.e. having demonstrated content competency through use of the HOUSSE prior to this end of the current school year) should continue to be counted as Highly Qualified for that content area.  Teachers operating under a “Teacher Action Statement,” working toward Highly Qualified status, may continue to do so, and be reported as not Highly Qualified.  At present, as has been the case in the past, there are no legally required employment consequences for not being Highly Qualified, there are only reporting requirements to parents, and to the State, in the yearly Highly Qualified Teacher data collection process.

If you have questions, or if we can assist you further, please contact Daniel J. Conley, at 207-624-6639, or by e-mail to