Change of status granted to 1,855 teachers
By John McPhaul
Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia and acting Education (DE) Secretary Eliezer Ramos Parés announced Wednesday the granting of a change of status to 1,855 teachers as a measure to ensure the stability of the island educational system and that there are enough educators in all schools.
Of the total number of teachers, 821 will switch from temporary to probation status and 1,034 will move from probation to permanent status.
“The work and dedication of our educators deserves our full support. Today we grant tenures to more than 1,800 teachers who are committed to public education and helping our students overcome lags, which will allow them to move forward in their studies and in their professional lives,” the governor said at a press conference. “Now we will have a larger bank of resources. This contributes to a sense of stability and belonging in each of the teachers and, at the same time, is replicated in the school community for the benefit of the student body. We congratulate all the teachers who join us today; we are counting on you to educate the leaders of our future with excellence.”
The group of educators receiving a change of status includes teachers of Spanish, English, mathematics, science, history, fine arts, computer, health, physical education, business administration, agricultural education, family and consumer sciences, health sciences, industrial education, technical education, technology and engineering education, education 4-6, special education, early education and montessori.
The status change also applies to professional counselors, social workers and librarians.
Ramos Parés stressed the importance of achieving permanence for the uninterrupted continuity of educational services in the 856 public schools on the island.
“With these stays we continue our work and commitment to provide all the necessary resources for the education of our students and that each school site has the teachers it requires,” he said. “This ensures a successful start to classes, with the minimum of personnel hiring procedures. We believe that, in turn, this provides additional security to parents or guardians, and to all members of the school community. We want both our teachers and our students to continue with us.”
Prior to the contract signing process, the newly appointed permanent teachers participated in training focused on providing useful tools to address students’ academic lag, strategies for managing emotions due to the pandemic, and training on digital platforms and tools for intervention, as well as a review of the teacher’s responsibilities when moving to permanent status.
Meanwhile, in the search to facilitate the procedures for teacher appointments, the DE also announced a new certification regulation designed to show a new vision of the requirements to achieve certification. In addition, new certificates were created that offer greater opportunities to K-12 English teachers.
Another of the new changes in the area of certifications is that only the universities will be required to certify the teacher’s degree, in order to eliminate the requirements related to average.
Likewise, the agency intends to appoint school superintendents and teacher facilitators for the educational region offices, which will allow the implementation of the Academic Recovery Plan and the Strategic Plan that the acting secretary has launched with the endorsement of the U.S. Department of Education.