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The Florida Statutes

The 2023 Florida Statutes (including Special Session C)

Title XLVIII
EARLY LEARNING-20 EDUCATION CODE
Chapter 1012
PERSONNEL
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F.S. 1012.98
1012.98 School Community Professional Learning Act.
(1) The Department of Education, public postsecondary educational institutions, public school districts, public schools, state education foundations, consortia, and professional organizations in this state shall work collaboratively to establish a coordinated system of professional learning. For the purposes of this section, the term “professional learning” means learning that is aligned to the state’s standards for effective professional learning, educator practices, and leadership practices; incorporates active learning; is collaborative; provides models; and is sustained and continuous. The purpose of the professional learning system is to increase student achievement, enhance classroom instructional strategies that promote rigor and relevance throughout the curriculum, and prepare students for continuing education and the workforce. The system of professional learning must align to the standards adopted by the state. Routine informational meetings may not be considered professional learning and are not eligible for inservice points.
(2) The school community includes students and parents, administrative personnel, managers, instructional personnel, support personnel, members of district school boards, members of school advisory councils, business partners, and personnel that provide health and social services to students.
(3) Professional learning activities linked to student learning and professional growth for instructional and administrative staff meet the following criteria:
(a) For instructional personnel, utilize materials aligned to the state’s academic standards.
(b) For school administrators, utilize materials aligned to the state’s educational leadership standards.
(c) Have clear, defined, and measurable outcomes for both individual inservice activities and multiple day sessions.
(d) Employ multiple measurement tools for data on teacher growth, participants’ use of new knowledge and skills, student learning outcomes, instructional growth outcomes, and leadership growth outcomes, as applicable.
(e) Utilize active learning and engage participants directly in designing and trying out strategies, providing participants with the opportunity to engage in authentic teaching and leadership experiences.
(f) Utilize artifacts, interactive activities, and other strategies to provide deeply embedded and highly contextualized professional learning.
(g) Create opportunities for collaboration.
(h) Utilize coaching and expert support to involve the sharing of expertise about content and evidence-based practices, focused directly on instructional personnel and school administrator needs.
(i) Provide opportunities for instructional personnel and school administrators to think about, receive input on, and make changes to practice by facilitating reflection and providing feedback.
(j) Provide sustained duration with followup for instructional personnel and school administrators to have adequate time to learn, practice, implement, and reflect upon new strategies that facilitate changes in practice.
(4) The activities designed to implement this section must:
(a) Support and increase the success of educators through collaboratively developed school improvement plans that focus on:
1. Enhanced and differentiated instructional strategies to engage students in a rigorous and relevant curriculum based on state and local educational standards, goals, and initiatives;
2. Increased opportunities to provide meaningful relationships between teachers and all students; and
3. Increased opportunities for professional collaboration among and between teachers, certified school counselors, instructional leaders, postsecondary educators engaged in preservice training for new teachers, and the workforce community.
(b) Assist the school community in providing stimulating, scientific research-based educational activities that encourage and motivate students to achieve at the highest levels and to participate as active learners and that prepare students for success at subsequent educational levels and the workforce.
(c) Provide continuous support for all education professionals as well as temporary intervention for education professionals who need improvement in knowledge, skills, and performance.
(d) Provide instructional personnel and school administrators with the knowledge, skills, and best practices necessary to support excellence in classroom instruction and educational leadership.
(e) Provide training to teacher mentors as part of the professional learning certification program under s. 1012.56(8) and the professional education competency program under s. 1012.56(9). The training must include components on teacher development, peer coaching, time management, and other related topics as determined by the Department of Education.
(5) The Department of Education, school districts, schools, Florida College System institutions, and state universities share the responsibilities described in this section. These responsibilities include the following:
(a)1. The department shall create a high-quality professional learning marketplace list that acts as a guide and tool for teachers, schools, school administrators, and districts across the state to identify high-quality professional learning provider programs and resources that meet the criteria described in subsection (3) and have demonstrated success in meeting identified student needs.
2. The department shall disseminate to the school community, through a centralized professional learning web page, the marketplace list under subparagraph 1. The Commissioner of Education shall use data on student achievement to identify student needs.
(b) Each school district shall develop a professional learning system as specified in subsection (4). The system shall be developed in consultation with teachers, teacher-educators of Florida College System institutions and state universities, business and community representatives, and local education foundations, consortia, and professional organizations. The professional learning system must:
1. Be reviewed and approved by the department for compliance with s. 1003.42(3) and this section. Effective March 1, 2024, the department shall establish a calendar for the review and approval of all professional learning systems. A professional learning system must be reviewed and approved every 5 years. Any substantial revisions to the system shall be submitted to the department for review and approval. The department shall establish a format for the review and approval of a professional learning system.
2. Be based on analyses of student achievement data and instructional strategies and methods that support rigorous, relevant, and challenging curricula for all students. Schools and districts, in developing and refining the professional learning system, shall also review and monitor school discipline data; school environment surveys; assessments of parental satisfaction; performance appraisal data of teachers, managers, and administrative personnel; and other performance indicators to identify school and student needs that can be met by improved professional performance.
3. Provide inservice activities coupled with followup support appropriate to accomplish district-level and school-level improvement goals and standards. The inservice activities for instructional and school administrative personnel shall focus on analysis of student achievement data, ongoing formal and informal assessments of student achievement, identification and use of enhanced and differentiated instructional strategies that emphasize rigor, relevance, and reading in the content areas, enhancement of subject content expertise, integrated use of classroom technology that enhances teaching and learning, classroom management, parent involvement, and school safety.
4. Provide inservice activities and support targeted to the individual needs of new teachers participating in the professional learning certification and education competency program under s. 1012.56(8)(a).
5. Include a professional learning catalog for inservice activities, pursuant to rules of the State Board of Education, for all district employees from all fund sources. The catalog shall be updated annually by September 1, must be based on input from teachers and district and school instructional leaders, and must use the latest available student achievement data and research to enhance rigor and relevance in the classroom. Each district inservice catalog must be aligned to and support the school-based inservice catalog and school improvement plans pursuant to s. 1001.42(18). Each district inservice catalog must provide a description of the training that middle grades instructional personnel and school administrators receive on the district’s code of student conduct adopted pursuant to s. 1006.07; integrated digital instruction and competency-based instruction and CAPE Digital Tool certificates and CAPE industry certifications; classroom management; student behavior and interaction; extended learning opportunities for students; and instructional leadership. District plans must be approved by the district school board annually in order to ensure compliance with subsection (1) and to allow for dissemination of research-based best practices to other districts. District school boards must submit verification of their approval to the Commissioner of Education no later than October 1, annually. Each school principal may establish and maintain an individual professional learning plan for each instructional employee assigned to the school as a seamless component to the school improvement plans developed pursuant to s. 1001.42(18). An individual professional learning plan must be related to specific performance data for the students to whom the teacher is assigned, define the inservice objectives and specific measurable improvements expected in student performance as a result of the inservice activity, and include an evaluation component that determines the effectiveness of the professional learning plan.
6. Include inservice activities for school administrative personnel, aligned to the state’s educational leadership standards, that address updated skills necessary for instructional leadership and effective school management pursuant to s. 1012.986.
7. Provide for systematic consultation with regional and state personnel designated to provide technical assistance and evaluation of local professional learning programs.
8. Provide for delivery of professional learning by distance learning and other technology-based delivery systems to reach more educators at lower costs.
9. Provide for the continuous evaluation of the quality and effectiveness of professional learning programs in order to eliminate ineffective programs and strategies and to expand effective ones. Evaluations must consider the impact of such activities on the performance of participating educators and their students’ achievement and behavior.
10. For all grades, emphasize:
a. Interdisciplinary planning, collaboration, and instruction.
b. Alignment of curriculum and instructional materials to the state academic standards adopted pursuant to s. 1003.41.
c. Use of small learning communities; problem-solving, inquiry-driven research and analytical approaches for students; strategies and tools based on student needs; competency-based instruction; integrated digital instruction; and project-based instruction.

Each school that includes any of grades 6, 7, or 8 must include in its school improvement plan, required under s. 1001.42(18), a description of the specific strategies used by the school to implement each item listed in this subparagraph.

11. Provide training to reading coaches, classroom teachers, and school administrators in effective methods of identifying characteristics of conditions such as dyslexia and other causes of diminished phonological processing skills; incorporating instructional techniques into the general education setting which are proven to improve reading performance for all students; and using predictive and other data to make instructional decisions based on individual student needs. The training must help teachers integrate phonemic awareness; phonics, word study, and spelling; reading fluency; vocabulary, including academic vocabulary; and text comprehension strategies into an explicit, systematic, and sequential approach to reading instruction, including multisensory intervention strategies. Such training for teaching foundational skills shall be based on the science of reading and include phonics instruction for decoding and encoding as the primary instructional strategy for word reading. Instructional strategies included in the training may not employ the three-cueing system model of reading or visual memory as a basis for teaching word reading. Such instructional strategies may include visual information and strategies which improve background and experiential knowledge, add context, and increase oral language and vocabulary to support comprehension, but may not be used to teach word reading. Each district must provide all elementary grades instructional personnel access to training sufficient to meet the requirements of s. 1012.585(3)(f).
(6) Each district school board shall provide funding for the professional learning system as required by s. 1011.62 and the General Appropriations Act, and shall direct expenditures from other funding sources to continuously strengthen the system in order to increase student achievement and support instructional staff in enhancing rigor and relevance in the classroom. The department shall identify professional learning opportunities that require the teacher to demonstrate proficiency in specific classroom practices, with priority given to implementing training to complete a reading endorsement pathway adopted pursuant to s. 1012.586(2)(a). A school district may coordinate its professional learning program with that of another district, with an educational consortium, or with a Florida College System institution or university, especially in preparing and educating personnel. Each district school board shall make available inservice activities to instructional personnel of nonpublic schools in the district and the state certified teachers who are not employed by the district school board on a fee basis not to exceed the cost of the activity per all participants.
(7) An organization of private schools or consortium of charter schools which has no fewer than 10 member schools in this state, which publishes and files with the Department of Education copies of its standards, and the member schools of which comply with the provisions of part II of chapter 1003, relating to compulsory school attendance, or a public or private college or university with a teacher preparation program approved pursuant to s. 1004.04, may also develop a professional learning system that includes a professional learning catalog for inservice activities. The system and inservice catalog must be submitted to the commissioner for approval pursuant to state board rules.
(8)(a) The Department of Education shall disseminate, using web-based technology, research-based best practice methods by which the state and district school boards may evaluate and improve the professional learning system. The best practices must include data that indicate the progress of all students. The department shall report annually to the State Board of Education and the Legislature any school district that, in the determination of the department, has failed to provide an adequate professional learning system. This report must include the results of the department’s investigation and of any intervention provided.
(b) The department shall also disseminate, using web-based technology, professional learning in the use of integrated digital instruction at schools that include middle grades. The professional learning must provide training and materials that districts can use to provide instructional personnel with the necessary knowledge, skills, and strategies to effectively blend digital instruction into subject-matter curricula. The professional learning must emphasize online learning and research techniques, reading instruction, the use of digital devices to supplement the delivery of curricular content to students, and digital device management and security. Districts are encouraged to incorporate the professional learning as part of their professional learning system.
(9) The State Board of Education may adopt rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to administer this section.
(10) This section does not limit or discourage a district school board from contracting with independent entities for professional learning services and inservice education if the district school board can demonstrate to the Commissioner of Education that, through such a contract, a better product can be acquired or its goals for education improvement can be better met. Such entities shall have 3 or more years of experience providing professional learning with demonstrative success in instructional or school administrator growth. The school district must verify that such entities and contracted professional learning activities from such entities meet the criteria established in subsection (3) for training linked to student learning or professional growth. Contracted training for teaching foundational skills shall be based on the science of reading and include phonics instruction for decoding and encoding as the primary instructional strategy for word reading. Instructional strategies included in the training may not employ the three-cueing system model of reading or visual memory as a basis for teaching word reading. Such instructional strategies may include visual information and strategies which improve background and experiential knowledge, add context, and increase oral language and vocabulary to support comprehension, but may not be used to teach word reading.
(11) For instructional personnel and administrative personnel who have been evaluated as less than effective, a district school board shall require participation in specific professional learning programs as provided in subparagraph (5)(b)5. as part of the improvement prescription.
(12) The department shall disseminate to the school community proven model professional learning programs that have demonstrated success in increasing rigorous and relevant content, increasing student achievement and engagement, meeting identified student needs, and providing effective mentorship activities to new teachers and training to teacher mentors. The methods of dissemination must include a web-based statewide performance-support system including a database of exemplary professional learning activities, a listing of available professional learning resources, training programs, and available technical assistance. Professional learning resources must include sample course-at-a-glance and unit overview templates that school districts may use when developing curriculum. The templates must provide an organized structure for addressing the Florida Standards, grade-level expectations, evidence outcomes, and 21st century skills that build to students’ mastery of the standards at each grade level. Each template must support teaching to greater intellectual depth and emphasize transfer and application of concepts, content, and skills. At a minimum, each template must:
(a) Provide course or year-long sequencing of concept-based unit overviews based on the Florida Standards.
(b) Describe the knowledge and vocabulary necessary for comprehension.
(c) Promote the instructional shifts required within the Florida Standards.
(d) Illustrate the interdependence of grade-level expectations within and across content areas within a grade.
(13) The department shall require teachers in grades K-12 to participate in continuing education training provided by the Department of Children and Families on identifying and reporting child abuse and neglect.
History.s. 789, ch. 2002-387; s. 10, ch. 2003-118; s. 47, ch. 2003-391; s. 75, ch. 2004-41; s. 5, ch. 2004-255; s. 62, ch. 2006-74; s. 165, ch. 2007-217; s. 34, ch. 2008-108; s. 198, ch. 2011-5; s. 7, ch. 2012-155; s. 42, ch. 2013-27; s. 14, ch. 2013-89; s. 11, ch. 2013-185; s. 382, ch. 2014-19; s. 6, ch. 2014-32; s. 100, ch. 2014-39; s. 14, ch. 2014-184; s. 14, ch. 2015-6; s. 13, ch. 2017-116; s. 41, ch. 2018-6; s. 23, ch. 2021-9; s. 8, ch. 2021-160; s. 5, ch. 2022-72; s. 33, ch. 2023-39; s. 20, ch. 2023-108.