Connecticut Seal

Senate Bill No. 843

Public Act No. 15-232

AN ACT CONCERNING TRAUMA-INFORMED PRACTICE TRAINING FOR TEACHERS, ADMINISTRATORS AND PUPIL PERSONNEL.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 10-220a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2015):

(a) Each local or regional board of education shall provide an in-service training program for its teachers, administrators and pupil personnel who hold the initial educator, provisional educator or professional educator certificate. Such program shall provide such teachers, administrators and pupil personnel with information on (1) the nature and the relationship of drugs, as defined in subdivision (17) of section 21a-240, and alcohol to health and personality development, and procedures for discouraging their abuse, (2) health and mental health risk reduction education [which] that includes, but need not be limited to, the prevention of risk-taking behavior by children and the relationship of such behavior to substance abuse, pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV-infection and AIDS, as defined in section 19a-581, violence, teen dating violence, domestic violence, child abuse and youth suicide, (3) the growth and development of exceptional children, including handicapped and gifted and talented children and children who may require special education, including, but not limited to, children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder or learning disabilities, and methods for identifying, planning for and working effectively with special needs children in a regular classroom, including, but not limited to, implementation of student individualized education programs, (4) school violence prevention, conflict resolution, the prevention of and response to youth suicide and the identification and prevention of and response to bullying, as defined in subsection (a) of section 10-222d, except that those boards of education that implement any evidence-based model approach that is approved by the Department of Education and is consistent with subsection (d) of section 10-145a, sections 10-222d, 10-222g and 10-222h, subsection (g) of section 10-233c and sections 1 and 3 of public act 08-160, shall not be required to provide in-service training on the identification and prevention of and response to bullying, (5) cardiopulmonary resuscitation and other emergency life saving procedures, (6) computer and other information technology as applied to student learning and classroom instruction, communications and data management, (7) the teaching of the language arts, reading and reading readiness for teachers in grades kindergarten to three, inclusive, (8) second language acquisition in districts required to provide a program of bilingual education pursuant to section 10-17f, (9) the requirements and obligations of a mandated reporter, and (10) the teacher evaluation and support program adopted pursuant to subsection (b) of section 10-151b. Each local and regional board of education may allow any paraprofessional or noncertified employee to participate, on a voluntary basis, in any in-service training program provided pursuant to this section. The State Board of Education, within available appropriations and utilizing available materials, shall assist and encourage local and regional boards of education to include: (A) Holocaust and genocide education and awareness; (B) the historical events surrounding the Great Famine in Ireland; (C) African-American history; (D) Puerto Rican history; (E) Native American history; (F) personal financial management; (G) domestic violence and teen dating violence; (H) mental health first aid training; (I) trauma-informed practices for the school setting to enable teachers, administrators and pupil personnel to more adequately respond to students with mental, emotional or behavioral health needs; and [(I)] (J) topics approved by the state board upon the request of local or regional boards of education as part of in-service training programs pursuant to this subsection.

(b) Not later than a date prescribed by the commissioner, each local and regional board of education shall establish a professional development and evaluation committee consisting of certified employees, and such other school personnel as the board deems appropriate, including representatives selected by the exclusive bargaining representative for such employees chosen pursuant to subsection (b) of section 10-153. The duties of such committees shall include, but not be limited to, participation in the development or adoption of a teacher evaluation and support program for the district, pursuant to section 10-151b, and the development, evaluation and annual updating of a comprehensive local professional development plan for certified employees of the district. Such plan shall: (1) Be directly related to the educational goals prepared by the local or regional board of education pursuant to subsection (b) of section 10-220, (2) on and after July 1, 2011, be developed with full consideration of the priorities and needs related to student outcomes as determined by the State Board of Education, and (3) provide for the ongoing and systematic assessment and improvement of both teacher evaluation and professional development of the professional staff members of each such board, including personnel management and evaluation training or experience for administrators, shall be related to regular and special student needs and may include provisions concerning career incentives and parent involvement. The State Board of Education shall develop guidelines to assist local and regional boards of education in determining the objectives of the plans and in coordinating staff development activities with student needs and school programs.

(c) The Department of Education, in cooperation with one or more regional educational service centers, is authorized to provide institutes annually for Connecticut educators. Such institutes shall serve as model programs of professional development and shall be taught by exemplary Connecticut teachers and administrators and by other qualified individuals as selected by the Department of Education. The Department of Education shall charge fees for attending such institutes provided such fees shall be based on the actual cost of such institutes.

(d) The Department of Education may fund, within available appropriations, in cooperation with one or more regional educational service centers: (1) A cooperating teacher program to train Connecticut public school teachers, certified teachers at private special education facilities approved by the Commissioner of Education, certified teachers at nonpublic schools approved by the commissioner and certified teachers at other facilities designated by the commissioner, who participate in the supervision, training and evaluation of student teachers, provided such certified teachers at nonpublic schools pay for the cost of participation in such cooperating teacher program and provided further that enrollment in such program shall first be made available to public school teachers; and (2) institutes to provide professional development for Connecticut public school educators and cooperating teachers, including institutes to provide professional development for Connecticut public school educators offered in cooperation with the Connecticut Humanities Council. Funds available under this subsection shall be paid directly to school districts for the provision of substitute teachers when cooperating teachers are released from regular classroom responsibilities and for the provision of professional development activities for cooperating and student teachers, except that such funds shall not be paid to nonpublic schools for such professional development activities. The cooperating teacher program shall operate in accordance with regulations adopted by the State Board of Education in accordance with chapter 54, except in cases of placement in other countries pursuant to written cooperative agreements between Connecticut institutions of higher education and institutions of higher education in other countries. A Connecticut institution may enter such an agreement only if the State Board of Education and the Board of Regents for Higher Education have jointly approved the institution's teacher preparation program to enter into such agreements. Student teachers shall be placed with trained cooperating teachers. Cooperating teachers who are Connecticut public school teachers shall be selected by local and regional boards of education. Cooperating teachers at such private special education facilities, nonpublic schools and other designated facilities shall be selected by the authority responsible for the operation of such facilities. If a board of education is unable to identify a sufficient number of individuals to serve in such positions, the commissioner may select qualified persons who are not employed by the board of education to serve in such positions. Such regulations shall require primary consideration of teachers' classroom experience and recognized success as educators. The provisions of sections 10-153a to 10-153n, inclusive, shall not be applicable to the selection, placement and compensation of persons participating in the cooperating teacher program pursuant to the provisions of this section and to the hours and duties of such persons. The State Board of Education shall protect and save harmless, in accordance with the provisions of section 10-235, any cooperating teacher while serving in such capacity.

Approved June 30, 2015