• Staff Development Bills Passed by the 2015 Legislature

    HB 18
    Career Counseling Academies for School Counselors

    Establishes the Center for Teaching and Learning at The University of Texas at Austin (the center) to develop and make available postsecondary education and career counseling academies for school counselors and other postsecondary advisors employed by a school district at a middle, junior high, or high school.

    Mandates that the center solicit input from TEA, school counselors, the Texas Workforce Commission, institutions of higher education, and business, community, and school leaders.

    Requires an academy to provide counselors and other postsecondary advisors with knowledge and skills to provide counseling to students regarding postsecondary success and productive career planning including information relating to:

    1. course requirements for endorsements
    2. available methods for course credit for courses not offered at the school the student attends, e.g., via the Virtual School Network
    3. admission requirements for institutions of higher education, including automatic admission requirements
    4. regional workforce needs, e.g., education needed for regional jobs, and the salaries or wages earned through regional jobs
    5. effective strategies for engaging students and parents in planning for careers, including mentorships and business partnerships

    Mandates that the center develop an online instructional program that districts may use in providing instruction in high school, college, and career preparation and requires that the program be structured for use as part of an existing course.

    Allows the center access to the P-20/Workforce Data Repository in developing training, instructional programs, and technological tools, and in conducting related evaluations.

    Permits a teacher (who provides the instruction as part of an existing CTE course or new elective course) to attend an academy. Entitles a counselor who attends an academy to a stipend from appropriated funds. Permits the center to pay a stipend to a teacher who attends an academy if there are remaining funds available after eligible counselors have received stipends. Prevents the stipend from being considered in determining whether the district is paying the minimum monthly salary.

    Allows the center, with appropriated funds, to provide counselors and other educators curricula, instructional materials, and technological tools relating to postsecondary education and career counseling. Requires the center to comply with applicable FERPA provisions.

    Earliest effective date: Immediately

    Other provisions are listed under Accountability, Assessment, Curriculum, and Texas High Performance Schools Consortium.

    SB 133
    Mental Health First Aid Training

    Changes the types of employees eligible to receive mental health first aid training and related grants to include “school district employees” and “school resource officers,” rather than “educators.”

    Earliest effective date: Immediately

    HB 2186
    Youth Suicide Prevention Training

    Requires staff development provided by a school district to include suicide prevention training to new school district and open-enrollment charter school educators and to existing school district employees on a schedule adopted by TEA. Provides that the training must use a best practice-based program recommended by the Department of State Health Services in coordination with TEA. The training may be satisfied through independent review of training material that complies with TEA guidelines and is offered online.

    Earliest effective date: Immediately