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Overview

A professional practice standard identifies the competency requirements for members of a profession.

Professional practice standards:

  • guide university and other education programming for teachers and leaders
  • provide the basis for teacher certification, mentorship, induction and career-long learning
  • provide the foundation for teacher growth planning, and for supervision and evaluation of professional practice

New and revised standards

Government worked with education stakeholders to revise and update the Teaching Quality Standard (TQS) to describe modern competencies for teachers. It is designed to be more concise and user-friendly.

Government and education stakeholders also developed 2 additional practice standards:

  • Leadership Quality Standard (LQS) - describes the competencies expected of school leaders and school jurisdiction leaders
  • Superintendent Leadership Quality Standard (SLQS) - defines the competencies expected of Alberta school superintendents

All 3 standards align with and build on each other:

  • the TQS outlines the professional expectations for teachers who work directly with students
  • the LQS outlines the professional practices that principals and school jurisdiction leaders must demonstrate to create the conditions under which teachers can do their best work
  • the SLQS outlines the professional practices that superintendents must demonstrate to create the conditions under which school leaders and teachers can do their best work

Timelines

The standards were signed as Ministerial Orders in February 2018, making all teaching professionals accountable for their applicable standard to the Minister of Education.

The new standards come into effect on September 1, 2019.

Government will continue to work with education stakeholders to support educators in learning about the new standards and in preparing for their official implementation.

Resources

Standards

Promotional materials

Teaching Quality Standard

The professional practice of all Alberta teachers is guided by the Teaching Quality Standard (TQS) (PDF, 950 KB). This standard is the basis for certification of all Alberta teachers and holds them accountable to the profession and to the Minister of Education.

The TQS applies to all certificated teachers in Alberta and is aligned with the Leadership Quality Standard (LQS) and the Superintendent Leadership Quality Standard (SLQS).

The standard identifies 6 competencies teachers must meet in order to hold and maintain an Alberta teaching certificate:

  1. Fostering Effective Relationships
  2. Engaging in Career-Long Learning
  3. Demonstrating a Professional Body of Knowledge
  4. Establishing Inclusive Learning Environments
  5. Applying Foundational Knowledge about First Nations, Métis and Inuit
  6. Adhering to Legal Frameworks and Policies

Each competency in the standard includes several indicators showing examples of competent practice. For example, all teachers are expected to ensure that students continuously develop literacy and numeracy skills. The new TQS also identifies expectations to support all students in learning about First Nations, Métis and Inuit histories, cultures, languages, perspectives and experiences.

Learn more about the TQS and find support resources.

Teacher certification

Teachers applying for an Alberta teaching certificate after September 2019 must meet the revised TQS to be recommended for certification.

Teachers who already have an Alberta teaching certificate will not need to re-certify when the revised TQS takes effect in September 2019. However, they will be expected to meet the revised standard.

Learn more about teacher certification.

Leadership Quality Standard

The Leadership Quality Standard (LQS) (PDF, 1.05 MB) aligns with the Teaching Quality Standard (TQS) and the Superintendent Leadership Quality Standard (SLQS). As of September 1, 2019, the standard is applicable in public, separate, francophone, charter and funded accredited private school authorities to all:

  • principals
  • assistant, associate and vice principals
  • school jurisdiction leaders

The LQS identifies 9 competencies which leaders must demonstrate in their practice:

  1. Fostering Effective Relationships
  2. Modeling Commitment to Professional Learning
  3. Embodying Visionary Leadership
  4. Leading a Learning Community
  5. Supporting the Application of Foundational Knowledge about First Nations, Métis and Inuit
  6. Providing Instructional Leadership
  7. Developing Leadership Capacity
  8. Managing School Operations and Resources
  9. Understanding and Responding to the Larger Societal Context

Each competency in the standard includes several indicators showing examples of competent leadership practice.

Learn more about the LQS and find support resources.

Leadership certification

The LQS governs leadership certification and aims to help individuals entering leadership roles in education have a common level of preparation.

As of September 1, 2019, principals and superintendents are required to hold leadership certification.

Teachers working in other leadership roles (such as assistant, vice, or associate principals, and school jurisdiction leaders) are not required to hold leadership certification to work in their positions, but are expected to meet the LQS competencies directly related to their assigned role.

How to get leadership certification

We will print and mail new certification cards to you when you complete your leadership certification application.

If you have not received a card, you can learn more about leadership certification on this web page and in the leadership certification fact sheet (PDF, 107 KB).

Teachers who were in an eligible leadership role in the 2018/19 school year may acquire their leadership certification in 2 ways:

Option 1
  1. Apply for a grandparented leadership certificate through the Teacher Workforce Information System (TWINS). Applications are now available.

Option 1 is open to:

  • people working in designated principal roles during the 2018/19 school year
  • people acting in the principal role for half of the 2018/19 school year
  • principals on leave during the year
Option 2
  1. Complete a one-time approved in-service training program.
  2. Apply for leadership certification through TWINS. In-service training is available until Fall 2019.

Option 2 is open to:

  • people in assistant principal, associate principal, vice principal, or other school jurisdiction leadership roles in the 2018/19 school year
  • people acting in these roles for half of the 2018/19 school year
  • people on leave from these roles

The one-time in-service training opportunities have no cost for individuals to attend and were developed and provided through a collaborative effort by government and education stakeholders.

Leaders can also download the Pathways to Leadership Certification Guide. (PDF, 235 KB)

Alberta certificated teachers eligible for the above pathways to leadership certification must enrol in TWINS teacher self-service to update their information.

Alberta Education has been working with superintendents and school authorities to identify eligible leaders. Those who are eligible for grandparented or in-service pathways to leadership certification were notified by email from TWINS that their leadership certification application is available.

As of September 1, 2019, teachers new to leadership roles or aspiring to them can get leadership certification by completing approved leadership coursework through Alberta post-secondary institutions (PDF, 135 KB).

Employment and leadership certification

Newly hired principals who do not have leadership certification can still take on principal roles.

The employing school authority must submit a request to Alberta Education for a temporary leadership certification. Temporary certification will be valid from the date of issue until August 31 of the third year, during which time it is expected that principals will complete any outstanding requirements for permanent leadership certification.

Teachers may complete the leadership coursework at any time. They must meet all the requirements – including holding an Alberta permanent professional teaching certificate – before being granted a leadership certificate.

University programs offering leadership certification

The following Alberta post-secondary institutions offer coursework or programs that lead to leadership certification:

  • Ambrose University
  • Concordia University
  • St. Mary’s University
  • University of Alberta
  • University of Alberta Faculté St. Jean
  • University of Calgary Werklund School of Education
  • University of Calgary Continuing Education
  • University of Lethbridge

Any teacher can complete the required coursework and get certification.

Choices include:

  • non-credit programming
  • graduate coursework or graduate certificates
  • Master’s programs

Options begin at 2 courses or equivalent for leadership certification, and are provided in a variety of face to face, online or blended formats.

For more information, download the University Courses and Programs Guide (PDF, 135 KB) and contact university providers directly.

Superintendent Leadership Quality Standard

The Superintendent Leadership Quality Standard (SLQS) (PDF, 968 KB) aligns with the Teaching Quality Standard (TQS) and Leadership Quality Standard (LQS). As of September 1, 2019, the standard applies to all superintendents and deputy superintendents in public, separate, francophone and charter school authorities.

The SLQS identifies 7 competencies superintendents must demonstrate in their professional practice:

  1. Building Effective Relationships
  2. Modeling Commitment to Professional Learning
  3. Visionary Leadership
  4. Leading Learning
  5. Ensuring First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education for All Students
  6. School Authority Operations and Resources
  7. Supporting Effective Governance

Each competency in the standard includes several indicators showing examples of competent leadership practice.

Superintendent leadership certification

The SLQS governs superintendent leadership certification and aims to help individuals entering these roles in education have a common level of preparation.

As of September 1, 2019, superintendents of schools whose appointments are approved by the Minister of Education are required to hold superintendent leadership certification.

Teachers working as deputy superintendents are not required to hold superintendent leadership certification to work in their positions, but are expected to meet the SLQS competencies directly related to their assigned role.

How to get superintendent leadership certification

Teachers who were in a superintendent or school jurisdiction leader role in the 2018/19 school year may get their superintendent leadership certification in 2 ways.

Option 1
  1. Apply for a grandparented superintendent leadership certificate through the Teacher Workforce Information System (TWINS). Applications are now available.

Option 1 is open to:

  • people in designated superintendent of schools roles
  • people acting in superintendent of schools roles for half of the school year
  • superintendents on leave during the year
Option 2
  1. Complete the one-time approved Leadership Certification in-service training and the Superintendent Leadership Certification in-service training.
  2. Apply for superintendent leadership certification through TWINS. In-service training is available until Fall 2019.

Option 2 is open to:

  • people in assistant or associate superintendent roles, or other school jurisdiction leadership positions requiring teaching certificates
  • leaders acting in these roles for at least half of the 2018/19 school year
  • people on leave from these roles

The one-time in-service training opportunities have no cost for individuals to attend and were developed and provided through a collaborative effort by government and education stakeholders.

Eligible applicants will also need to have:

  • a Master’s degree
  • a leadership certificate
  • 3 years of experience in a school system

Education credentials can be updated at any time in TWINS and may require the ordering of transcripts.

Leaders can also download the Pathways to Leadership Certification Guide (PDF, 236 KB).

Alberta certificated teachers eligible for the above pathways to leadership and superintendent leadership certification must enrol in TWINS teacher self-service to update their information. Alberta Education has been working with superintendents and school authorities to identify eligible leaders. Those who are eligible for grandparented or in-service pathways to leadership and superintendent leadership certification have been notified by email from TWINS that their applications are available.

As of September 1, 2019, teachers new to superintendent roles or aspiring to them can get leadership certification by completing approved leadership and superintendent leadership coursework through Alberta post-secondary institutions (PDF, 135 KB).

Employment and superintendent leadership certification

Newly hired superintendents who do not have superintendent leadership certification can still take up superintendent roles. These individuals will be issued temporary superintendent leadership certification as part of the appointment process.

Temporary certification will be valid from the date of issue until August 31 of the third year, during which time it is expected that superintendents will complete any outstanding requirements for permanent superintendent leadership certification.

Teachers will be able to complete the superintendent leadership coursework at any time. They must meet all the requirements of a superintendent leadership certificate before being granted a superintendent leadership certificate.

This includes:

  • an Alberta permanent professional teaching certificate
  • an Alberta leadership certificate
  • a Master’s degree
  • 3 years of experience in a school system

University programs offering superintendent leadership certification

The following Alberta post-secondary institutions offer coursework or programs that lead to superintendent leadership certification:

  • Concordia University
  • University of Alberta
  • University of Alberta Faculté St. Jean
  • University of Calgary Werklund School of Education
  • University of Calgary Continuing Education

Any teacher can complete the required coursework and get the certification.

Choices include:

  • non-credit programming
  • graduate coursework or graduate certificates
  • Master’s programs

Options begin at one course or equivalent for superintendent leadership certification, and are provided in a variety of face to face, online or blended formats.

For more information, download the University Courses and Programs Guide (PDF, 135 KB) and contact university providers directly.