Prior to teaching a course through the Texas Virtual School Network (TXVSN), online teachers must be
- Texas-certified in the course subject area and grade level taught or meet the credentialing requirements of the institution of higher education with which they are affiliated and that is serving as a TXVSN course provider; and
- have successfully completed approved professional development.
The district or open-enrollment charter school, education service center, or higher education institution providing courses (course provider) through the TXVSN is responsible for verifying the eligibility of its teachers.
Professional Development Requirements
- Successfully complete a professional development course or program approved by TXVSN; or
- Have a graduate degree in online or distance learning;
- Have two or more years of documented experience teaching online courses for students in Grades 3-12; and
- Successfully complete continuing professional development specific to online learning every three years.
It is the responsibility of each online teacher to obtain documentation for any of the professional development options and maintain copies for their own records. Teachers should be aware that individual TXVSN Provider Districts may have additional policies and requirements when hiring online teachers. Quality professional development for online teachers is important to ensure quality teaching and learning. Research demonstrates that a teacher’s skill in face-to-face teaching does not necessarily transfer to an online environment because in online instruction the teacher must combine both instructional and subject-area knowledge with a working knowledge of rapidly evolving online tools for communication and collaboration, content management, and assessment. For this reason TXVSN-approved professional development for online teachers emphasizes the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) National Standards for Quality Online Teaching. Participants in this standards-based professional development learn research-based strategies for online course content development and adaptation, instructional design, technology tools, assessment strategies, and course management.
Providers of TXVSN Approved Professional Development
Prospective online teachers should be aware that a TXVSN course provider may have additional policies and requirements for its online teachers. *Organization delivers professional development with the experience and capacity to serve teachers at a local, regional or statewide level.
- "Statewide" denotes that the organization delivers the approved professional development course to teachers throughout Texas.
- "Local" denotes that the organization only delivers the approved professional development course to its own online school or statewide catalog teachers.
Documentation of Successful Completion
Teachers successfully completing a TXVSN-approved professional development course receive a document of completion from the professional development provider. The document of completion notes the course name, completion date, that the professional development course was approved to meet the TXVSN professional development requirement, and other information. Teachers retain the document of completion and give a copy to the TXVSN online school or statewide catalog provider for which they work. The TXVSN central operations periodically requests that TXVSN online schools or statewide catalog providers supply evidence that teachers have met the professional development requirement.
Continuing Professional Development
After completion the initial professional development requirement, every 3 years TXVSN online schools or statewide catalog teachers need documentation of continuing professional development. The TXVSN online school or statewide catalog provider the teacher works with may require that the teacher take one of the TXVSN-approved courses for experienced teachers listed above or supply locally-developed professional development for the teacher. Whichever option is selected for continuing education, the TXVSN online schools or statewide catalog ensures that the content allows the teacher to remain current with the iNACOL National Standards for Quality Online Teaching. The TXVSN central operations periodically requests that TXVSN online schools or statewide catalog providers supply evidence that teachers have completed continuing professional development.