Highly Qualified Guidelines and Frequently
Asked Questions

What are the CORE CONTENT AREAS in which teachers are required to be highly qualified?
All teachers of the following core academic areas must meet highly qualified status:
(Click on each content area below to access specific information on how to achieve HQT)

Word Icon Elementary Education
Word Icon English / Language Arts
Word Icon Math
Word Icon Science
Word Icon Foreign Languages
Word Icon Political Science / Government
Word Icon History
Word Icon Geography
Word Icon Economics
Word Icon Music, Drama, and Arts (visual and performing, excluding Dance)
What are the Highly Qualified Requirements for SPECIAL EDUCATION Teachers?

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requires all special education teachers to meet the "Highly Qualified" definition of IDEA and the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

1) To be compliant with IDEA, all individuals who teach students with disabilities must hold the appropriate special education credential.

2) To be compliant with NCLB, all Idaho teachers of core academic subjects, including special education teachers, must additionally demonstrate subject matter competence in each core academic subjects taught.

  • Special Education teachers of elementary students will meet the core HQT requirements for
    Word Icon elementary education.
  • Secondary, content specific teachers of special education students will meet the additional requirements in core subject areas: Word Icon English, Word Icon math, Word Icon science, Word Icon foreign language, Word Icon government, Word Icon history, Word Icon geography, Word Icon economics, Word Icon music, Word Icon drama, Word Icon arts
  • Special Education teachers serving secondary students in a support role as part of a team (inclusion model), or teaching in a self-contained environment using an alternative assessment are required to meet the core subject requirement for elementary education

Word Icon Click here for additional information on the highly qualified requirements for special education teachers.

How can I ensure state funding for all of my teachers, even if they aren't yet HQT?
All alternate routes* to certification count as working toward HQT. It is important to have an Individual Teacher Plan on file with the district to ensure clear communication in the event of a monitoring visit. ( Word Icon Click here for a sample Plan for Achieving Highly Qualified Status )

Candidates must be making adequate progress as judged by the Professional Standards Commission. To find out what makes a teacher HQT in a specific content area, see above. If a teacher is currently working with the State Department on an approved route to certification/endorsement, there will be no loss of funding.

  1. Alternative Authorization - Teacher to New Cert/Endorsement (New)*
  2. Alternative Authorization - Content Specialist
  3. Computer-Based Alternative Route to Teacher Certification (ABCTE)

*The Provisional Authorization is NOT a route to certification but an emergency authorization to teach for one year.


If a teacher from out-of-state is interested in teaching in my district, how can I be assured that they are HQT and will be funded by the state? Any teacher with a current valid certificate from another state is eligible for a three-year interim Idaho certificate. Though they may not be considered highly qualified, there will be no loss of funding while the teacher is completing the requirements toward clear certification.

( Word Icon Click here for NCLB definition of Highly Qualified Status)

Are there specific highly qualified guidelines for Title I teachers? All core academic teachers in a Title I schoolwide program and teachers paid with Title IA funds in a targeted assistance program must meet highly qualified requirements at the beginning of the school year. Teacher Certification is not able to issue an Alternative Authorization - Teacher to New Certification/Endorsement for these individuals unless they have already taken and passed the appropriate Praxis II assessment for the content area endorsement they are seeking.

If a teacher with an expired certificate is interested in teaching in my district, how can I be assured that they are HQT and will be funded by the state? Any former teacher who once held a valid Idaho certificate, but has been separated from service and has let their certificate lapse, is eligible for a three-year interim Idaho certificate. Though he or she may not be considered highly qualified, there will be no loss of funding while the teacher is completing the requirements toward clear certification. However, if the teacher has proof of highly qualified status and has met the professional development credit requirements, they will be immediately eligible to receive a five-year clear Idaho certificate.

( Word Icon Click here for NCLB definition of Highly Qualified Status)

Is a Provisional Authorization ever considered HQT?
NO! Even if a person has taken a Praxis in the content area in which they are teaching, to be considered a highly qualified teacher, a valid certificate must also be in place. A Provisional Authorization is considered a temporary waiver by the federal government.

If we have to use a Provisional, will we lose funding?
Provisionals are to be used only under extreme circumstances and require a School Board request followed by state approval. Though there will be no loss of funding, such waivers are generally targeted for audit.

Is an ABCTE certified teacher considered HQT?
The ABCTE Passport qualifies a candidate as HQT in a specific content area. ABCTE candidates are considered HQT even prior to finishing the mentoring requirement toward full certification.

How does the HOUSSE Rubric qualify for HQT?:

  • A HOUSSE Rubric completed prior to July 1, 2008 is valid and portable from one district to another;
  • Once a teacher is HOUSSE qualified in a specific core content area, the person is always HQT in that area (NOTE: It is extremely difficult to acquire enough legitimate points to hold a HOUSSE in more than two core content areas);
  • HOUSE Rubrics must be available for review along with supporting documentation in the event of an audit;
  • The HOUSSE rubric can still be used under limited circumstances related to Special Ed and rural districts.

What is the quickest way to get teachers HQT for a core assignment in which they are not already endorsed?
The recently approved Alternate Authorization -Teacher to New Cert/Endorsement is specifically designed to assist current teachers in attaining HQT status as quickly and inexpensively as possible:

  • Praxis II plus mentoring leads to new endorsement
  • Districts can support this option using Title IIA funds to remove the financial burden from the teacher

NOTE: This is only available to add endorsements that have an alignment to the endorsement currently held (i.e. English to Communications) and cannot be used to add full certification.

(Click here for more information on the Teacher to New Cert/Endorsement)

If I have to put a non-HQT teacher in the classroom, what responsibility do I have to notify parents?
According to NCLB the district is obligated to inform parents when their child has been assigned, or taught for 4 or more consecutive weeks, by a teacher who is not highly qualified. [Section 1111(h)(6)(B)(ii), ESEA.] Guidance, D-3.
( Word Icon Click here for a NON-HQTSample Notification Letter.)

What changes should I be aware of regarding the Highly Qualified status of the Social Studies endorsement?
Idaho's federal representatives have approved the Social Studies endorsement earned after 2004 (which requires passing the 0081 Social Studies Praxis II exam) as meeting HQT status for all four of the related core content areas; history, geography, economics, and government.

It is important to note that the converse is not true. If a teacher has an endorsement in one or more of the core social studies areas, but does NOT hold the full Social Studies endorsement, they cannot be considered HQT to teach in any area other than those for which they hold the specific endorsement.

Under what circumstances can I consider my middle school teachers Highly Qualified?
If the teachers in your middle school/junior high are certified Standard Elementary - All Subjects K-8, and are teaching in specific core content areas they MUST prove content competency to be highly qualified. We have adopted several middle school Praxis II tests to assist in easing the burden of your middle school core content teachers in becoming highly qualified.

  • Middle School: Mathematics 5169
  • Middle School: English Language Arts 0047 or 5047
  • Middle School: Science 0439
  • Middle School: Social Studies 0089 or 5089

Did you know you can use your Title II Part A professional development dollars to assist these teachers in becoming highly qualified? For more information, please contact Teresa Burgess at 332-6891.

What do I need to know about highly qualified paraprofessionals?
All information and requirements regarding paraprofessionals is handled through the Title I Department at (208) 332-6942.

Other Resources: