Most educators are aware that the ISBE has adopted a new process which will switch all current teacher and administrator certificates to licenses. As of July 1, 2013, all previously held certificates will no longer be valid as all will be exchanged for Illinois educator licenses. Even though this major change is right around the corner, there has been very little information shared from the ISBE as to the specifics of this process. I contacted our Regional Office of Education earlier this week, and they stated the same frustrations. However, they assured that as soon as information is available, they will be sharing with school districts. In the meantime, this is what I currently have been able to ascertain.
As of July 1, 2013, all of an educator's current certificates will be exchanged for a Professional Educator License (PEL). For example, let's say an educator has a Type 09 Certificate with a Middle School Math Endorsement and a Type 75 General Administrative Certificate. Under the new licensure system, that person would now receive a PEL which contains all of their certificated areas and endorsements under a single license. Each license will contain an educator's specific areas and grade level ranges he/she is eligible to teach. For example, instead of "Middle School Math Endorsement", the license will specify eligibility to teach math in grades 5-8.
Currently, educators will not have to do anything as this switch will automatically take place on July1, 2013. An educator should lose nothing (endorsements) in the exchange to licenses. However, there are still renewal requirements, which to my knowledge, are yet to become finalized. Once those requirements are finalized, educators will need to adhere to the determined timelines for renewing their PEL.
If an educator fails to pay the necessary $50 fee to renew their five-year PEL within six months of the PEL lapsing, then it can only be renewed by paying a $500 fee or completing nine college credit hours.
Another important point to remember is that there will be no paper copies of the PELs provided. Educators will need to go to the Educator Licensure Information System (ELIS) to print a paper copy if needed.
Finally, until the new renewal requirements are finalized, educators should keep all documentation of completed professional development.
I am sure there will be much more to come on the process for exchanging certificates for licenses. Once that information becomes available, I will be sure to share. In the meantime, if there is someone who has more information on this process, please feel free to leave the information in the "Comments" section of this blog for all to see.