HB 4545 Information
House Bill 4545 Overview
House Bill 4545 recently passed in the 87th Regular Legislative Session. The new statute is effective, as of June, 2021, with acceleration instruction practices required during the 2021-2022 school year for all students, based on results from Spring 2021. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) will be providing support and guidance for local education agencies (LEAs) during the summer in a few venues.
Retention and Retesting
HB 4545 establishes new requirements for accelerated instruction for students who do not pass the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR®). At a high level, the legislation includes:
- Elimination of grade retention and retesting requirements in grades 5 and 8
- For any student who does not pass the STAAR test in grade 3, 5, or 8 in math or reading, a new LEA requirement to establish an accelerated learning committee to develop an individual educational plan for the student and monitor progress
For any student who does not pass the STAAR test in grades 3–8 or STAAR (EOC) end-of-course assessments, clarification of prior accelerated instruction requirements, specifying that it must include either:
- Being assigned a classroom teacher who is a certified master, exemplary, or recognized teacher or
- Receiving supplemental instruction (tutoring) before or after school, or embedded in the school day
What is the implementation timeline for HB 4545?
HB 4545 is effective immediately starting June 16, 2021, and it applies to accelerated instruction required for or delivered during the 2021-2022 school year. LEAs should evaluate spring 2021 STAAR scores to identify students requiring accelerated instruction in the 2021-2022 school year. LEAs must, as soon as practicable (i.e., over the summer), adopt policies for contesting the content or implementation of educational plans developed by accelerated learning committees.
For school year 2021-2022:
Accelerated instruction: For any student who did not pass STAAR grades 3-8 or EOC assessments, accelerated instruction must be delivered in the 2021-2022 school year (starting in fall 2021) or subsequent summer 2022. Accelerated instruction entails either 1) assigning a classroom teacher who is a certified master, exemplary, or recognized teacher, or
- delivering supplemental instruction (i.e., tutoring) before or after school, or embedded in the school day and meeting HB 4545
Accelerated instruction delivered in summer 2021 will only satisfy the HB 4545 requirements if the criteria for accelerated instruction were met (see answer to Question 2 below).
Accelerated Learning Committees: LEAs are required to establish accelerated learning committees (ALCs) for students who did not pass the STAAR test in grades 3, 5, or 8 math or reading beginning at the start of the 2021-2022 school year, in August. However, LEAs may find it beneficial to start establishing these committees and developing individual student plans in summer 2021 for two reasons:
- Completing this work in the summer will position LEAs to start implementing plans at the start of the school year.
- Under HB 4545, parents have the right to request a different teacher. Establishing the ALC in the summer would provide a window of opportunity to address in advance parent requests for different teachers and manage staffing and scheduling
For school year 2022-2023 and beyond:
The above guidance for accelerated instruction continues to apply in subsequent school years.
Accelerated Learning Committees: Starting summer 2022, LEAs must establish ALCs and develop individual student plans during the summer and prior to the start of the school year, based on the latest STAAR results.
How should we categorize students who did not take the STAAR test in the spring? Should they automatically be categorized as a student requiring accelerated instruction?
Prior law required LEAs to provide accelerated instruction to any student who does not perform satisfactorily (i.e., achieves “Approaches Grade Level”) on a STAAR assessment. These requirements are included in the following sections of the TEC: 28.0211, 28.0213, 28.0217, 29.081, and 39.025. This part of the law was not changed. 19 TAC §101.2005(c) indicates that students who are absent or otherwise do not have valid assessments did not perform satisfactorily and, as a result, are required to receive accelerated instruction.
However, Commissioner and Gubernatorial waivers offered during the 2020-21 school year altered the assessment requirement framework for that year. As a result, if a school system administers an assessment designed to show grade level proficiency on the TEKS (e.g., Beginning-of-Year Optional STAAR), and that assessment shows the student achieved satisfactory performance, school systems may decide locally as to whether these students must be given accelerated instruction during the 2021-22 school year.
We believe our LEA delivered / will deliver sufficient accelerated instruction in summer 2021. How do we determine whether that accelerated instruction meets HB 4545 requirements for SY21-22?
Accelerated instruction delivered in summer 2021 will only satisfy the HB 4545 requirement if the instruction:
- Delivers targeted Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS)-aligned instruction for the applicable grade level and subject areas
- Is provided for no less than 30 hours total
- If a student does not pass the mathematics and reading STAAR, 30 hours of accelerated instruction must be provided for each subject area.
- Is designed to assist the student in achieving satisfactory performance in the applicable grade level and subject area
- Utilizes effective instructional materials designed for supplemental
- Is delivered in a 1-on-1 or small group environment, with no more than 3 students in a small group (or in a larger ratio with permission from all parents or guardians connected to students in the group)
- Is provided by an individual with training in aligned instructional materials and under the LEA’s oversight
- To the extent possible, is provided by one person for the entirety of the student’s supplemental instruction period
When is the parent right to request a teacher effective?
HB 4545 establishes that a parent/guardian has the right to request a particular teacher for their student. To better manage staffing and scheduling in advance of the start of the school year, TEA recommends that LEAs offer parents/guardians the opportunity to request a different teacher over the summer.
Do the accelerated learning committees apply in addition to Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) committees or do the ARD committees create the plan?
The ARD committee acts as the accelerated learning committee for students in grades 3, 5, and 8 receiving special education services. The ARD committee must meet to address the student’s need for accelerated learning, and for students in special education the Individual Education Plan (IEP) effectively replaces the accelerated learning plan required in HB 4545. An accelerated learning committee would need to be established for other students in grades 3, 5, and 8 who do not pass STAAR mathematics or reading assessments.
Does the TEA have guidance and examples to guide our implementation of Accelerated Learning Committees and new board policy regarding parent grievances?
The TEA will release these resources by August 2021.
Supplemental Instruction/Tutoring Questions:
At what frequency does tutoring have to be conducted to meet HB 4545 requirements?
If delivered in the summer, tutoring simply has to meet the 30 hours total threshold set in HB 4545. If delivered during the normal school operational days during the 2021-2022 school year, tutoring must be delivered at least weekly and also meet the minimum 30 hours total threshold. Note, this requirement applies per subject. Students who Did Not Meet grade level in both reading and math would be required to have 60 hours of support (and potentially more in grades 5 and 8 for science and social studies).
Does an LEA need permission from parents if tutoring will be delivered in a tutor-to-student ratio greater than 1:3?
Yes, LEAs must seek written permission from parents in advance of tutoring delivery if tutoring will be delivered in a ratio greater than 1:3. For tutoring delivered in fall 2021, this permission must be on file in early August 2021. This written permission would need to be obtained for all students in that particular group of supplemental instruction, as all would be in a group larger than 3.
Permission to go beyond 3:1 must only be obtained from the student parent or guardian. Waivers for this provision from TEA are not available.
Will the TEA’s pre-approved tutor provider list provide options for rural areas?
Yes, TEA is currently planning to provide pre-approved tutor provider coverage across Texas regions, including rural areas. Please note that LEAs are also able to select tutor providers that are not on the TEA’s pre-approved tutor provider list; the list is simply one source of vetted tutor providers who will deliver tutoring in alignment with HB 4545 requirements. The list will include a mix of in-person and virtual tutoring options.
Does tutoring have to be provided this fall as part of HB 4545?
The accelerated instruction changes from HB 4545 apply to accelerated instruction provided for the 2021-2022 school year. LEAs should use the spring 2021 STAAR results to determine and plan for accelerated instruction for all students who need it. This accelerated instruction must include tutoring, unless LEAs provide students with a master, exemplary, or recognized teacher.
Can you choose an online program in place of a tutor?
Tutoring can be delivered using an online program either in person or virtually. However, the online program must be facilitated by a tutor that meets the requirements defined in the statute, including that the tutor has received training in alignment with the instructional materials, that the same tutor is assigned to the student for the duration of the supplemental instruction when possible, and that the tutoring is delivered in a 1-on-1 or small group with no more than three students in the group. The statute does not require that the tutor be a teacher, and research shows that many different tutor types can be successful, such as college students, community volunteers, paraprofessionals, or active or retired teachers, as long as the other elements of high-impact tutoring are met.
How can I learn more about how to leverage programs like ST Math for tutoring?
ST Math (and similar programs) provide students with a self-directed learning experience and could be a strong option for tutoring delivery (learn more by clicking the “Grades K-5:Supplemental tab” HERE). The TEA will provide a webinar later this summer to share guidance on how to effectively leverage ST Math and similar programs in their tutoring structures. Note that, to meet HB 4545 requirements, there must still be a tutor supporting the student who meets the requirements noted in Question 5.
How can I learn more about how to stand up an effective tutoring program?
The TEA has released a webinar series, an implementation toolkit, and a workshops series opportunity to support LEAs in standing up an effective tutoring program. You can find these resources on TEA’s Strong Start page.
Because tutoring requirements are now in state law, will we be able to use Title I, Part A funds to fund tutoring in the future?
Yes. While Title I, Part A funding must be supplemental to the campus, it does not require the activity to be supplemental as long as the LEA’s required federal Supplement, Not Supplant Methodology has been approved by the LEA leadership and is being implemented consistently by the LEA. The methodology defines how state and local funds are allocated among campuses within the LEA and demonstrates the Title I, Part A funding is supplemental to the campus after it has received its equitable allocation of state and local funds. For more information, see the federal Supplement, Not Supplant Handbook.
How do we find time to provide the required tutoring to students if we can’t take them out of regular instruction, recess, or enrichment time? Where can I get support in this area?
The TEA recommends following these best practices in master scheduling:
- Identify scheduling priorities first and make those non-negotiable.
- Consider innovative solutions like adjusting blocking, rotations, time before or after school, and innovative models (e.g., blended learning) to achieve
- To the extent possible, consider extending the school day or school year to create more opportunities for tutoring over the course of the
- Leverage additional resources (e.g., ESSER funding) to purchase access to time-saving scheduling software to complement and expedite the district scheduling
- Plan a second schedule that varies the time allotted for Tier 2 instruction at key intervals (e.g., beginning of year) or plan for schedule revisions over
Multiple potential schedule arrangements could meet the HB 4545 requirements. One example is provided below from an LEA participating in Math Innovation Zones that prioritizes an intervention block and leverages blended learning to achieve this priority:
An additional example is provided below from a Spring ISD middle school:
The TEA will be providing a webinar series to support LEAs in master scheduling this summer in alignment with HB 4545 requirements. Additionally, TEA offers technical assistance, resources, and tools to support districts in master schedule redesign through initiatives like Math Innovation Zones, Additional Days School Year, THL-aligned supports, the Resilient Schools Support Program, and the School Action Fund.
Teacher Assignment Questions:
If we don’t have an approved Teacher Incentive Allotment designation system in our district, is there another way to meet the requirement for assigning students to master, exemplary, or recognized teachers?
In addition to having an approved local optional teacher designation system, districts can also support their teachers in earning designations by helping teachers pursue or complete their National Board certification.
Teachers with an active National Board certification will also earn a recognized designation if they meet the following requirements:
- They are coded by their employing district as an 087 role ID in TSDS Class Roster-Winter collection
- They have updated their information to indicate their current district in the National Board Certified teacher directory.
It is also possible that a district without an approved TIA designation system could employ a teacher who received a designation while working in a different district. TIA designations and their expiration date remain on the State Board for Educator Certification virtual certification, even if a teacher transfers between districts.
How can districts look up which teachers are currently designated?
Districts can confirm that a teacher is currently designated by searching their State Board for Educator Certification virtual certification. Teachers that are currently designated will have their designation and expiration date reflected in the top right corner. Please note that teachers whose expiration dates have passed, will no longer have a designation on their certification. In the future, a list of teachers with designations will also be possible to generate in the ECOS for entities certification report.
Questions regarding the implementation of HB 4545 should be submitted in writing to Accelerated.Instruction@tea.texas.gov. Answers will also be added on a rolling basis to the FAQ document.