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Professional Practice Standards

The foundation for Alberta's excellent education system is built on the talent, the skill and the ongoing commitment to learning demonstrated by teachers, school leaders, school jurisdiction leaders and superintendents who work every day to help students succeed.

Since 1997, the professional practice of all Alberta teachers has been guided by the Teaching Quality Standard (TQS), holding teachers accountable to the profession and to the Minister.

Together with education stakeholders, Alberta Education has revised and updated the TQS to describe contemporary competencies for our teachers. As well, a Leadership Quality Standard (LQS) will describe the competencies expected of school leaders and school jurisdiction leaders, while a Superintendent Leadership Quality Standard (SLQS) will define the competencies expected of Alberta school superintendents.

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

The new standards will come into effect on September 1, 2019. Between now and September 2019, Alberta Education will work with education stakeholders to support educators in learning about the new standards and in preparing for their official implementation.

The application of the three professional practice standards is as follows:

  • Teaching Quality Standard (TQS)
    • Applicable to all certificated teachers in Alberta
  • Leadership Quality Standard (LQS)
    • Applicable to all principals, assistant, associate and vice principals, and school jurisdiction leaders
  • Superintendent Leadership Quality Standard (SLQS)
    • Applicable to all superintendents and chief deputy superintendents

Professional practice standards are important because:

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

By setting uniform expectations for all Alberta teachers, principals, school jurisdiction leaders and superintendents, standards help to support the excellent teaching and leadership in Alberta schools.

Additional information

What is a professional practice standard?

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

Is the standard for Alberta teachers new?

No. In 1997, Alberta became the first jurisdiction in Canada to implement a professional practice standard for all Alberta teachers, the Teaching Quality Standard (TQS).

The TQS is the basis for certification of all Alberta teachers, and is now being revised for the first time in 20 years.

The new Teaching Quality Standard identifies a competency focused on the need for all teachers to apply foundational knowledge about First Nations, Métis and Inuit for the benefit of all students.

Are standards new for principals, and superintendents in Alberta?

Yes. Effective September 2019, the Leadership Quality Standard (LQS) will apply to principals and school jurisdiction leaders, and the Superintendent Leadership Quality Standard (SLQS), will apply to superintendents and chief deputy superintendents.

When will the professional practice standards take effect?

Though the Minister signed the standards in February 2018, they will not take effect until September 1, 2019.

The 19-month preparation window between signing the standards and their take effect date reflects Alberta Education's commitment to supporting school authorities, teachers, principals, school jurisdiction leaders and superintendents in adjusting to the new standards.

Alberta Education will be working with school authorities and stakeholder groups to support education professionals as they prepare to meet the new standards.

How are these standard documents related?

All three standards align with and build upon one another, to ensure a common set of expectations in supporting quality teaching and optimum learning for all Alberta students.

  • the Teaching Quality Standard outlines the professional expectations for teachers who work directly with students;
  • the Leadership Quality Standard outlines the professional practices that principals and school jurisdiction leaders must demonstrate to create the conditions under which teachers can do their very best work;
  • the Superintendent Leadership Quality Standard outlines the professional practices that superintendents must demonstrate to create the conditions under which school leaders and teachers can do their very best work.

Resources

Standards

Promotional materials

Teaching Quality Standard

Overview of Revised Teaching Quality Standard

In 1997, Alberta became the first province to introduce a Teaching Quality Standard (TQS). The revised Teaching Quality Standard is aligned with the Leadership Quality Standard and the Superintendent Leadership Quality Standard. On September 1, 2019, the TQS will come into effect and will apply to all certificated teachers in Alberta.

This Teaching Quality Standard identifies six competencies teachers are required to 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, Metis and Inuit
  6. Adhering to Legal Frameworks and Policies

Each competency in the standard includes several indicators designed to provide illustrative examples of competent practice.

Certification

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

Teachers who already possess 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 new standard. Between now and September 2019, teachers will be able to increase their awareness of the revised TQS and access appropriate supports as needed.

View or Download the Ministerial Order on the Teaching Quality Standard below for more information.

Additional information

I am currently a practicing teacher. Does a revised Teaching Quality Standard mean I have to re-certify in 2019?

No. Already certificated teachers are not required to re-certify when the revised Teaching Quality Standard takes effect.

My workload is already extensive. What will the new standards mean for teacher workload?

Teachers are already held to a standard, the current Teaching Quality Standard, and already engage in professional learning to improve their practice.

The period of time between now and September 2019 will enable teachers to increase their awareness of the professional standard, and to engage in planning and professional development related to the revised Teaching Quality Standard, as needed.

How is the revised Teaching Quality Standard (TQS) different from the current TQS?

The revised Teaching Quality Standard is characterized by a more concise, more user-friendly format. As well, there are specific competencies built in to address current needs and contexts related to our education system.

These include competencies on First Nations, Métis and Inuit education; a new expectation for all teachers to continuously enhance pedagogy in literacy and numeracy; and a competency on creating inclusive learning environments.

Where can I go to get resources to help me meet the revised Teaching Quality Standard?

Alberta's professional learning providers, including the Alberta Teachers' Association, are collaborating to offer learning supports.

The Ministry of Education has contributed $5.4M to the Joint Commitment to Action on Indigenous Education. The professional learning providers that are signatories to this commitment are already engaged in developing professional learning for educators, which will be accessible from now to September 2019 and beyond.

The Ministry of Education has already released lesson plans to support learning for all students about First Nations, Métis and Inuit.

Alberta Education has developed a variety of related tools and resources to support teachers in building inclusive learning environments. These are available on our website. Many of these tools and resources are designed to support classroom teachers, such as:

I don't teach in a public, separate or francophone school authority. Does the revised Teaching Quality Standard apply to me?

Yes. The Teaching Quality Standard applies to all teachers who hold an Alberta teaching certificate, including those teaching in private, charter, or First Nations operated schools.

Teaching Quality Standard document

Teaching Quality Standard (PDF, 949 KB)
All Alberta teachers are expected to meet the Teaching Quality Standard throughout their careers.

Leadership Quality Standard

Overview

The Leadership Quality Standard (LQS) is newly developed and aligns with the Teaching Quality Standard and the Superintendent Leadership Quality Standard. On September 1, 2019, the standard will come into effect and will apply to all principals, assistant, associate and vice principals, and school jurisdiction leaders (a school jurisdiction leader is defined as a central office staff member, other than the superintendent or chief deputy superintendent, required by their leadership position to hold an Alberta teaching certificate).

This Leadership Quality Standard identifies nine competencies which leaders are required to 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, Metis 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 designed to provide illustrative examples of competent leadership practice.

Quality educational leadership is recognized as second only to quality classroom instruction in contributing to student learning. A new leadership certification will ensure that, individuals entering leadership roles in education will have a common level of preparation across the province.

Leadership certification

Just as the Teaching Quality Standard governs teacher certification, so the Leadership Quality Standard will govern leadership certification. After September 1, 2019, principals will be required to hold leadership certification.

Only those working in principal positions will be required to hold a leadership certificate. Teachers working in other leadership roles (such as assistant, vice, or associate principals, as well as school jurisdiction leaders) will not be required to hold leadership certification to work in their positions, but will be expected to meet the Leadership Quality Standard.

Pathways to leadership certification

Prior to September 1, 2019, teachers who are in a leadership role in the 2018/19 school year may acquire their leadership certification in two ways:

  1. Those working in designated principal roles during the 2018/19 school year, those acting in the principal role for half of the 2018/19 school year, as well as principals on leave during the year: apply for a grandparented leadership certification through TWINS. Applications are expected to be available after March, 2019.
  2. Those in assistant principal, associate principal, vice-principal, or other school jurisdiction leadership roles in the 2018/19 school year: complete a one-time approved in-service training program then apply for leadership certification through TWINS. In-service training expected to be available beginning in Spring 2019.

The one-time in-service training opportunities are being developed and provided through a collaborative effort by the Alberta Teachers' Association (ATA), College of Alberta School Superintendents (CASS), and Association of Independent Schools & College in Alberta (AISCA). Alberta Education will be supporting this learning opportunity, and there will be no registration costs for individuals to attend.

Leaders who are eligible for the in-service training can learn more about the programs, and register for sessions online at: https://abedleadershipcert.ca/.

School authorities are responsible for identifying those eligible for both of the above pathways to certification. Leaders are responsible for registering through TWINS self-service prior to applying for leadership certification.

Any Alberta certificated teacher that is interested in acquiring leadership certification should ensure they update their information in TWINS. Those who are eligible for grandparented or in-service pathways to leadership certification will be contacted through TWINS directly alerting them that they can apply for their leadership certificate.

After September 1, 2019, teachers new to leadership roles or aspiring to them, will be able to acquire leadership certification through the completion of an approved leadership training program offered by one of Alberta's post-secondary institutions. Alberta Education is supporting Alberta's post-secondaries in developing this leadership development programming, which will support the growth of our next generation of school leaders. More details about these programs will be announced as information becomes available.

Employment and leadership certification

Newly hired principals who have not yet attained leadership certification will still be able to take up principal roles. However, they will be expected to complete the required programming leading to certification within a reasonable period of time.

Teachers will be able to complete the leadership program at any time, including prior to taking a leadership position. They must meet all the requirements – including holding a permanent teaching certificate – before they will be granted a leadership certificate.

More information about leadership certification will be made available over the next several months.

Additional information

Is the standard for Alberta principals and school jurisdiction leaders new?

Yes. Effective September 1, 2019, the Leadership Quality Standard will apply to principals and school jurisdiction leaders.

In 2009, the Principal Quality Practice Guideline was published by Alberta Education, having been developed in consultation with education stakeholders. The guideline has been used extensively across the province and helped inform the development of the Ministry-authorized Leadership Quality Standard.

To whom does the Leadership Quality Standard (LQS) apply?

The LQS applies to all principals and school jurisdiction leaders.

"Principal" means, for the purposes of this standard, principal as defined in the School Act, assistant principal, associate principal or vice principal.

"School jurisdiction leader" means a central office staff member, other than the superintendent or chief deputy superintendent, required by their leadership position to hold an Alberta teaching certificate.

Where can I go to get resources to help me meet the Leadership Quality Standard?

Alberta's professional learning providers, including the Alberta Teachers' Association, are collaborating to offer learning supports.

The Ministry of Education has contributed $5.4M to the Joint Commitment to Action on Indigenous Education. The professional learning providers that are signatories to this commitment are currently developing professional learning supports for educators and these will be accessible through September 2019 and beyond.

What does leadership certification entail? What if I am already a principal?

Education stakeholders are working collaboratively with Alberta Education to develop the leadership development program that will support our next generation of leaders and lead to leadership certification. For individuals who complete the program, the Ministry will receive a recommendation from the program provider, through the office of the Registrar, and certification will be issued.

Individuals already in principal roles during the 2018-2019 school year will be recognized for their currency of experience and granted certification without having to complete the new program requirements.

Can a school authority hire a principal or school jurisdiction leader without leadership certification?

Newly hired principals or school jurisdiction leaders (including those from out of province) would be required to complete their leadership certification within a reasonable period of time.

How is the new Leadership Quality Standard related to certification?

Just as the Teaching Quality Standard is the basis for certification of all teachers in Alberta, so the new Leadership Quality Standard will form the basis of a new leadership certification program for principals and school jurisdiction leaders.

Will all new leaders be required to have the new leadership certification?

Only principals will be required to hold a leadership certificate.

Teachers in other leadership positions identified under the Leadership Quality Standard (assistant, associate or vice principals, and school jurisdiction leaders), or teachers aspiring to leadership roles, will be able to complete the certification requirements leading to the leadership certificate.

Leadership Quality Standard document

Leadership Quality Standards (PDF, 1.1 MB)

Pathways to Leadership Certification (PDF, 239 KB)
A guide to teachers looking for ways to acquire leadership certification prior to September 1, 2019.

Superintendent Leadership Quality Standard

Overview

The Superintendent Leadership Quality Standard (SLQS) is newly developed and aligns with the Teaching Quality Standard and Leadership Quality Standard. On September 1, 2019, the standard will come into effect and will apply to all superintendents and chief deputy superintendents.

This Superintendent Leadership Quality Standard identifies seven competencies superintendents are required to 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, Metis and Inuit Education for All Students
  6. School Authority Operations and Resources
  7. Supporting Effective Governance

Each competency in the standard includes several indicators designed to provide illustrative examples of competent superintendent leadership practice.

Superintendent leadership certification

Just as the Teaching Quality Standard governs teacher certification, and the Leadership Quality Standard will govern principal certification, so the Superintendent Leadership Quality Standard will govern superintendent certification. After September 1, 2019, superintendents will be required to hold superintendent leadership certification.

Only those superintendents of schools appointed by the Minister will be required to hold a superintendent leadership certificate. Teachers working as deputy superintendents will not be required to hold superintendent leadership certification to work in their positions, but will be expected to meet the Superintendent Leadership Quality Standard.

Pathways to leadership certification

Prior to September 1, 2019, teachers in a superintendent or school jurisdiction leader role in the 2018 to 2019 school year may acquire their superintendent leadership certification in one of two ways:

  1. Those working in designated superintendent of school roles, those acting in superintendent roles for half of the school year, as well as those on leave during the year: apply for a grandparented superintendent leadership certification through TWINS. Applications are expected to be available after March, 2019.
  2. Those in assistant or associate superintendent roles, or other school jurisdiction leadership positions requiring teaching certificates, as well as those acting in those roles for at least half of the 2018 to 2019 school year: complete both the one-time approved Leadership Certification in-service training, as well as the Superintendent Leadership Certification in-service training, then apply for superintendent leadership certification through TWINS. In-service training is expected to be available beginning in Spring 2019.

Note that to receive the superintendent leadership certificate, applicants will also need to meet the additional requirements of superintendents in the Superintendent of Schools Regulation, including holding a Masters degree. Education credentials can be updated at any time in TWINS and may require the ordering of transcripts.

The one-time in-service training opportunities are being developed and provided through a collaborative effort by the Alberta Teachers' Association (ATA), College of Alberta School Superintendents (CASS), and Association of Independent Schools & College in Alberta (AISCA). Alberta Education will be supporting this learning opportunity, and there will be no registration costs for individuals to attend. Those interested in superintendent leadership certification will need to complete both the standard leadership in-service training designed for school leaders, as well as a dedicated superintendent leadership training.

Leaders who are eligible for the in-service training can learn more about the programs, and register for sessions online at: https://abedleadershipcert.ca/

School authorities are responsible for identifying those eligible for both pathways to certification. Leaders are responsible for registration with TWINS self-service prior to applying for certification.

Any Alberta certificated teacher who is interested in acquiring superintendent leadership certification should ensure they update their information in TWINS. Those who are eligible for grandparented certificates will be contacted through TWINS directly alerting them that they can apply for their superintendent leadership certificate.

After September 1, 2019, teachers new to the superintendent role or those aspiring to the superintendent role will be able to acquire both the leadership and superintendent leadership certification through the completion of approved leadership training programs offered by one of Alberta's post-secondary institutions. Alberta Education is supporting Alberta's post-secondaries in developing this superintendent leadership development programming, which will support the growth of our next generation of school authority leaders. More details about these programs will be announced in spring and summer of 2019.

Employment and leadership certification

Newly hired superintendents who have not yet obtained superintendent leadership certification will still be able to take up superintendent roles. However, they will be expected to complete the required programming leading to certification within a reasonable period of time.

Teachers will be able to complete the superintendent leadership program at any time, including prior to taking a superintendent position. They must meet all the requirements of a leadership certificate – including holding both a permanent teaching certificate, a leadership certificate, and a Masters degree – before they will be granted a superintendent leadership certificate.

More information about superintendent leadership certification will be made available over the next several months.

Additional information

Is the professional practice standard for Alberta superintendents new?

Yes. Effective September 2019, the Superintendent Leadership Quality Standard will apply to superintendents and chief deputy superintendents.

"Superintendent" means a superintendent appointed by a board pursuant to the School Act.

"Chief deputy superintendent" means the teacher, if any, who is appointed by a board to be the superintendent's chief deputy.

Where can I go to get resources to help me meet the Superintendent Leadership Quality Standard?

Alberta's professional learning providers, including the College of Alberta School Superintendents, are collaborating to offer learning supports.

The Ministry of Education has contributed $5.4M to the Joint Commitment to Action on Indigenous Education. The professional learning providers that are signatories to this commitment are currently developing professional learning supports for educators and these will be accessible through September 2019 and beyond.

How is the new Superintendent Leadership Quality Standard related to certification?

Just as the Teaching Quality Standard is the basis for certification of all teachers in Alberta, so the new Superintendent Leadership Quality Standard will form the basis of a new leadership certification program for superintendents.

Education stakeholders are working collaboratively with Alberta Education to develop the leadership development program that will support our next generation of superintendents and lead to superintendent leadership certification.

Will all new superintendents be required to have the new leadership certification?

Yes. All superintendents will be required to hold a superintendent's leadership certificate.

Chief deputy superintendents and other teachers aspiring to superintendent roles will be able to complete the certification requirements leading to the superintendent's leadership certificate.

I am currently a superintendent. Will I need to participate in the new leadership development program to receive superintendent certification?

Superintendents who held the role during the 2018 to 2019 school year will be recognized for their currency of experience and granted certification without having to complete the new program requirements.

Will I need to be certificated as a superintendent before I get a superintendent position?

No. Newly hired superintendents (including those from out of province) would be required to complete their leadership certification within a reasonable period of time.

However, only those who meet the requirements of the Superintendent of Schools Regulation can be appointed as school superintendents in Alberta.

Superintendent Leadership Quality document

Superintendent Leadership Quality Standard (PDF, 965 KB)