December 29, 2020: Texas Educator Preparation Programs Newsletter

Texas Education Agency

December 29, 2020

Texas Educator Preparation Programs Newsletter

student at computer, remote learning


Happy Holidays to all our educator preparation program colleagues across Texas! 

As 2020 draws to a close, we thank you for the care and support you provided candidates during an unprecedented, challenging year. We hope that you can relax and enjoy some well-deserved time to rest and recharge. The new year signals a fresh start, and we look forward to working together with you as we usher in 2021. Happy New Year from all of us on the TEA preparation, certification, and testing teams!  

STR Task of the Week 12/22 & 12/29: Continue to closely monitor HB-3 impacted candidates who may be taking a certification exam from Dec. 21 – Dec. 29th for issuance of an intern, probationary, or standard certificate before 1/1/21.  

Teacher candidates who are scheduled to take certification exams from 12/21-12/29 may be issued score reports on or before 12/31. With this in mind, we recommend that programs gain a clear line of sight on which candidates may be testing during this time and that programs and candidates take the following steps to ensure that the certificate issues by the deadline, if the candidate receives a passing exam score:  

  • Candidates should proactively apply for their certification in ECOS, complete fingerprinting, and pay all required fees. 
  • Programs should check ECOS daily from 12/28-12/31 after 12:00 pm to make recommendations for candidates who have certification exam scores that have posted, so that certificates may issue.  
  • Programs may also proactively recommend these candidates for certification before score reports are posted.  

For more information regarding score reporting windows for the certification exams associated with the HB-3 impacted certification fields, please visit this page. 

STR Task of the Week 12/22 12/29 (Bonus extra task!): Ensure any necessary coverage over end of the year breaks. Although we hope that all the necessary certificate processing will be complete well before 12/31/2020, some actions may need to be taken in the final few days. We encourage EPPs to identify staff who can be available during the semester break in December to recommend last minute certificate applications if necessary. As noted below, TEA will have EPP support staff available 12/28 – 12/31. 

Previous STR Task of the Week:  
12/15: Ensure and monitor degree conferral. 
12/8: Support your teacher candidates who may be issued a standard certificate in an HB 3 impacted field by 12/31/20 completing their fingerprinting requirement in a timely manner. 
11/24 & 12/1: Actively communicate the STR exam requirement to teacher candidates who may be issued a standard certificate in an HB 3 impacted field by 12/31/20. 
11/17: Have your eligible candidates complete their certificate application in ECOS. 
11/10: Ensure that every candidate has tested – or has a testing plan! 
11/3: Support all your candidates in logging in to their ECOS account. 

If you are not currently subscribed to the newsletter, please sign up at the link below.  
Educator Preparation Program Listserv Registration  

Table of Contents

Upcoming Events

1/11/2021: edTPA Pilot Year 3 Application Webinar (Returning Applicants): 3 pm-4 pm (more information and link below) 

1/13/2021: Applications (Class/Categories) Webinar: 10:00 am – 11:00 am (more information and link below) 

1/15/2021: edTPA Pilot Year 3 Application Webinar (New applicants): 2:00 pm-3:30 pm (more information and link below) 

1/22/2021: Oral and Written Communication STR Deep Dive: 10:00 am- 12:00 pm (registration link here

Upcoming Deadlines

Topic Action Item Due Date
Educator Testing Continue to communicate with all candidates who are impacted by the STR exam transition, including December Finishers and WPRO teachers. ASAP
Educator Certification 

Final day for intern, probationary, or standard certifications to be issued without the STR exam requirement for HB 3 impacted fields.

December 31, 2020  

edTPA Year 3 Application 

Final date to submit an application to participate in the Year 3 edTPA Pilot  

February 15, 2021 

School Librarian and Reading Specialist Educator Standards Advisory Committee Nominations 

Final date to submit nomination forms for School Librarian and Reading Specialist Educator Standards Advisory Committees 

February 15, 2021 


Educator Preparation Program Support

Updates related to Educator Preparation Program Management  

Holiday Break Support for EPPin Preparation for the 12/31/2020 STR Deadline 
As the clock continues to count down to 12/31/2020we know that although schools may be on vacation, candidates and EPPs may still be finishing out the required steps for certification. EPP support staff will be present to support EPPs during the holiday break. Unless noted, the best way to communicate with your preparation program specialist is by filing a HelpDesk Ticket. 

  • December 28-30: TEA Open, Regular Hours 
  • December 31: TEA Closed – HelpDesk tickets will be monitored and supported. If you have an issue, please file a HelpDesk ticket or call Lorrie Ayers at 512-936-2166 or Mark Olofson at 512-463-8911. 
  • January 1: TEA Closed   

Coming on January 13:  Applications (Class/Categories) webinar 
This webinar will provide Educator Preparation Program staff with an overview of the application and guidance to successfully complete the applications to add a new certificate route or class. The intended audience for this webinar includes program staff and/or instructors at EPPs interested in adding a new certificate route or class. Instructors who develop coursework for a new certificate area will benefit from attending this webinar by getting a better understanding of what is expected when applying for a new certificate. You can sign up for the webinar here 

Big ‘Thank You’ for to the EPPs    
We want to say a big Thank You to all the EPPs across the state for the effort you have 
shown to contact past and current candidates to get every qualified candidate you could 
across the finish line with an appropriate certificate before the updated STR requirements take effect. This has been huge lift for every EPP, and we appreciate your efforts as we partner with you on behalf of your candidates to leave no qualified candidate behind.  

Educator Standards and Testing

Updates related to Educator Standards and Certification Testing

EdTPA Pilot Year 3 Application Launch 
At the October 2020 SBEC meeting, the SBEC approved the extension of the Texas 
edTPA pilot for a third year, the 2021-2022 academic year. We are excited to announce 
that the Year 3 edTPA pilot is open to any additional educator preparation program 
who is interested in beginning implementation of the edTPA and becoming a part of the collaborative edTPA community. To participate in the edTPA pilot, preparation programs must complete the edTPA Pilot Year 3 Application. The application window is now open,
and you can view and download the application linked hereThe application closes 
February 15, 2021 with 
an announcement of programs accepted into the pilot on February 26, 2021. Programs should send their completed applications to DeMarco Pitre ( Iyou have any questions or would like to schedule 
one-on-one conversation to discuss the edTPA pilot and application process, please
contact DeMarco 

Please note the application process timeline below: 

edTPA Pilot Year 3 Application Process Timeline 

December 15, 2020 

Year 3 application goes live 

February 15, 2021 

Year 3 application closes 

February 26, 2021 

Year 3 programs announced 


Save the Date: edTPA Year 3 Application Informational Webinar  
This January, please join the Texas edTPA Pilot community for the edTPA Year 3 Application Informational Webinar. During this time, we will dive deeply into the edTPA 
ear 3 Pilot application, walking through program requirements and expectations while also answering any questions brought to the virtual space. See dates, times, and the links to join below: 

  • edTPA Year 3 Application Webinar (Returning applicants): January 11, 2021: 3-4 pm, click here 
  • edTPA Year 3 Application Webinar (New applicants): January 15, 2021: 2:00-3:30 pm, click here 

School Librarian and Reading Specialist Educator Standards Advisory Committee Nominations 
At the December 2020 SBEC meeting, the SBEC approved TEA staff to establish 
Educator Standards Advisory Committees for School Librarian and Reading Specialist certificate areasThese Educator Standards Advisory Committees will: 

  • advise on relevant updates to the educator standards, and 
  • advise on issues related to the certificate area more broadly. 

TEA staff is seeking committee member nominations from the SBEC, professional organizations, educator preparation programs, teacher organizations, and other key stakeholders to ensure a pool of well-qualified candidates for selection. The nomination period begins on December 15, 2020 and closes on February 15, 2021.  

The nomination forms for School Librarian and Reading Specialist committee members 
can be accessed here. All nominations should be submitted via email to on or before the February 15, 2021 deadline.  

TEA staff plan to bring between 8-15 committee members each for School Librarian and Reading Specialist committees to the SBEC for approval in April 2021.  

Test Administration and Score Reporting Windows 
Did you know the Pearson website includes upcoming administration dates and score reporting dates for every exam in the Texas Educator Certification Examination Program? Go to this page, and expand the selection for AAFCS, PACT, TASC/TASC-ASL, TExES, or edTPA pilot. Selecting any given exam will display the score report dates for each range of administration dates at least through the 2020-2021 academic year. The score reporting date is the earliest date that a candidate could receive a score report for an exam taken during the administration date range shown.  

Take note of the initial administration dates and score reporting dates for the following new exams all launching in January 2021.  


Administration Dates 

Score Reporting Date 

Core Subjects: EC-6 (391) 



Science of Teaching Reading 

1/1/2021 – 1/24/2021 


Early Childhood: PK-3 



Educational Diagnostician 




Pilot Test Administration: School Counselor (252) and Trade and Industrial (370) 
Examination questions (items) are pilot tested to gather information about their quality and technical characteristics, before appearing as scored items on operational exam forms. In addition to gathering data to inform exam item quality, the pilot test provides teacher candidates and other individuals at Texas educator preparation programs a free opportunity to prepare for future exams. The pilot tests are computer-administered at testing centers in Texas.  

Pilot tests for School Counselor (252) and Trade and Industrial (370) will begin on 1/29/2021, and TEA and Pearson are seeking participants for these important activities. Candidates currently enrolled in educator preparation programs for these fields will be able to sign up to take the pilot test soon. Candidate benefits of engaging in the pilot test include:  

  • providing input into an exam that will be taken by future educators 
  • gauging professional knowledge by taking actual test questions 
  • gaining practical testing experience 

Candidates can find out more information and register for a pilot test through the pilot test landing page: This webpage will be updated in January with additional information regarding candidate registration. 

Please note that participation in a pilot test does not satisfy certification requirements, and participants do not receive a score or a Pass/Fail status 

Save the Date: STR Webinar Series Trainings in 2021  
Thank you to all who engaged in our two STR Webinar Series training sessions in November. We will pick up our training cadence again in the new year. Please mark your calendars for the following dates and times: 

  • Oral and Written Communication Deep Dive: January 22, 2021: 10:00 am- 12:00 pm  
  • Text Comprehension and Analysis Deep Dive: March 5, 2021: 10:00 am- 12:00 pm  

To register for the Oral and Written Communication Deep Dive, click hereWe look forward to engaging in these practice-based, collaborative trainings with you!  

STR Exam Transition Communication Resources for EPPs  
TEA staff has developed a suite of STR exam related communication tools to support programs in communicating critical information that candidates pursuing certification in an HB3-impacted field need to know about the STR exam requirement. These tools can be accessed via the STR Exam webpage ( They include: 

  • A dedicated page for Texas LEAs with a FAQ document that addresses commonly asked questions from LEAs, including questions regarding the differences between the STR exam and Reading Academies HB3 mandates 
  • A recorded webinar outlining timelines and requirements associated with the STR exam transition 
  • Informational one-pagers targeting groups of teacher candidates impacted by the STR exam transition 
  • A STR Exam FAQ document with information for EPPs, candidates, and LEAs  

In the Pearson system, registering for an exam is separate from scheduling a test appointment.  

  • Before registering for an exam, educators can use the seat availability tool (use this link for language exams) to confirm that there are available appointments at locations and on dates and times convenient to them.   
  • They may schedule their testing appointment when they register, or at a later time.  
  • They may reschedule or cancel a testing appointment, without any fees, up to 48 hours before their scheduled appointment date.  
  • They must schedule an appointment and test within 170 days of registering for an exam.  
  • If they withdraw their registration, they will be refunded their exam registration payment, minus $25. The funds are not refundable. 

Educator Certification

Information and updates related to Educator Certification 

Candidate applications for certificates (including those in the categories being updated to require the STR exam) are processed immediately once the applications are complete.  

Applications for certificates in the HB3 impacted fields that are not complete by 11:59 pm on 12/31/2020 will be deactivated. Following the deactivation process, TEA will do an assessment of candidates and application statuses. We will follow up with EPPs and provide additional guidance for you and your candidates in early January 2021 related to these applications. 

Although the agency is officially closed on December 31, 2020, Help Desk Tickets will continue to be monitored and supported. If you or your candidates have an issue, please submit a help desk ticket and/or call Marilyn Cook at 512-936-8274.  

Updates About SBEC, Rules, and Legislation

Updates related to actions by the State Board for Educator Certification, the State Board of Education, and the Legislature. 

At the SBEC meeting in October, the Board directed TEA staff to pursue updating the structure and membership for the Educator Preparation Advisory Committee, or EPAC. More information about that work is available in the agenda item here. The updated nomination form is available for download here. The deadline for nominations is January 8, 2021. 


Every newsletter we take this space to highlight questions that we have heard from EPPs.  

Q: If I recommend a Core Subjects EC-6 certificate on December 31, 2020, will it issue? 
A:  Yes, but only if the application is complete - including the payment of fees and the completion of the fingerprinting requirementAll application requirements must be complete by 12/31. Additionally, all testing requirements must be complete, and the scores reported to TEA by 12/31 for the certificate to issue. EPPs will be able to recommend certificates on 12/31 if necessary, but TEA highly recommends that all applications be complete and recommended BEFORE December 31st. EPPs will not be able to recommend these certificates following 12/31/2020. 

Q: Can a principal practicum be completed virtually in the spring of 2021? 
A: Yes, if the campus is normally face-to-face and is operating in a virtual setting based on 19 TAC §228.1(e).  

EPP Points of Contact

Your best source for information and support at the TEA  

As an Educator Preparation Program, your main point of contact is your Program Specialist.   

To view a list of EPPs and their associated Program Specialist, please click here.    

For easiest assistance, file a HelpDesk Ticket 

For More Information

Information regarding educator certification testing can be accessed at the Texas Educator Certification Exam website 

Information regarding the Science of Teaching Reading Exam can be accessed at 

Information regarding edTPA 2020-2021 information opportunities can be accessed here 

Information and updates regarding the Performance Assessment for School Leaders (PASL) can be accessed at the Important Updates link.  

Updated information related to the COVID-19 response can be accessed here 

From Our Programs

When possible, we present updates and shared practices from EPPs around Texas. If you have information you would like to share in this space, please reach out to your program specialist.

Help Desk Link