115C-296.12. Lateral entry teacher education preparation programs.

(a) It is the policy of the State of North Carolina to encourage lateral entry into the profession of teaching by skilled individuals from the private sector. Skilled individuals who choose to enter the profession of teaching laterally may be granted an initial teaching license for no more than three years and shall be required to obtain licensure required for those who have taught more than three years before contracting for a fourth year of service with any local school administrative unit in this State. The criteria and procedures for lateral entry shall include preservice training in all of the following areas:

(1) The identification and education of children with disabilities.

(2) Positive management of student behavior.

(3) Effective communication for defusing and deescalating disruptive or dangerous behavior.

(4) Safe and appropriate use of seclusion and restraint.

(b) The State Board of Education, in consultation with the State Board of Community Colleges and North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities, Inc., may provide a competency-based program of study for lateral entry teachers to complete the coursework necessary to earn a teaching license. To this end, the State Board of Education, in consultation with the State Board of Community Colleges and North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities, Inc., shall establish a competency-based program of study for lateral entry teachers to be implemented within the Community College System and at approved educator preparation programs at private, nonprofit two-year colleges. These programs shall meet standards set by the State Board of Education. To ensure that programs of study for lateral entry remain current and reflect a rigorous course of study that is aligned to State and national standards, the State Board of Education shall do all of the following to ensure that lateral entry personnel are prepared to teach:

(1) Provide adequate coursework in the teaching of reading and mathematics for lateral entry teachers seeking certification in elementary education.

(2) Assess lateral entry teachers prior to licensure to determine that they possess the requisite knowledge in scientifically based reading and mathematics instruction that is aligned with the State Board's expectations.

(3) Prepare all lateral entry teachers to apply formative and summative assessments within the school and classroom setting through technology-based assessment systems available in North Carolina schools that measure and predict expected student improvement.

(4) Require that lateral entry teachers demonstrate competencies in using digital and other instructional technologies to provide high-quality, integrated digital teaching and learning to all students.

(c) The State Board of Community Colleges and the State Board of Education shall jointly identify the community college courses and the educator preparation program courses that are necessary and appropriate for inclusion in the community college program of study for lateral entry teachers. To the extent possible, any courses that must be completed through an approved educator preparation program shall be taught on a community college campus or shall be available through distance learning. The State Board of Education shall identify the appropriate courses for a private, nonprofit two-year college to include in the program of study for lateral entry teachers.

(d) In order to participate in the community college or private, nonprofit two-year college program of study for lateral entry teachers, an individual must hold at least a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher education.

(e) An individual who successfully completes the lateral entry program of study and meets all other requirements of licensure set by the State Board of Education shall be recommended for a North Carolina teaching license.

(f) It is further the policy of the State of North Carolina to ensure that local boards of education can provide the strongest possible leadership for schools based upon the identified and changing needs of individual schools. The State Board of Education shall carefully consider a lateral entry program for school administrators to ensure that local boards of education will have sufficient flexibility to attract able candidates. (2015-241, s. 8.41(a).)