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Legislative Update: Staff Training Requirements

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Editor's Note: The requirements of HB 496 regarding traumatic injury response protocol were added to the original article.

Several bills passed in the 86th Regular Session of the Texas Legislature included provisions requiring additional training for staff. Summaries of these bills are provided below.

Autism Training (House Bill (HB) 3 Section 2.010)

A school district may provide a salary incentive or similar compensation to a teacher who completes education service center (ESC)-provided autism training. The decision to provide such an incentive should be reflected in policy. Districts choosing to provide an incentive or compensation should be aware no state funding is attached to this provision. (Effective 6/12/2019)

Mental Health and Substance Abuse (HB 18)

The goal of this broad-based bill is to raise awareness of issues relating to mental health of students and to provide students and educators with resources and training on mental health and substance abuse. The bill revises the instructional components of continuing education requirements for school personnel to include training on educating students with mental health conditions.

The bill also changes the components for staff development training provided to educators. The list of staff development topics districts may provide to educators is expanded to include positive behavior intervention and support. Beginning with the 2020–2021 school year, required training for educators who work primarily outside the area of special education must include training on suicide prevention; recognizing signs of mental health conditions and substance abuse; strategies for establishing and maintaining positive relationships among students including:

  • conflict resolution
  • how grief and trauma affect student learning and behavior
  • how evidence-based, grief-informed, and trauma-informed strategies support the academic success of students affected by grief and trauma
  • preventing, identifying, responding to, and reporting incidents of bullying.

(Effective 12/1/2019)

Awareness and Prevention of Sexual Abuse and Maltreatment (HB 111)

Amends the required training of school personnel on awareness and prevention of sexual abuse and maltreatment of children to specifically include training on recognition and prevention of sex trafficking, sexual abuse, and maltreatment of children with significant cognitive disabilities. (Effective 5/21/2019)

Identifying and Reporting Sexual Abuse, Human Trafficking, and Maltreatment (HB 403)

Requires school board members to complete, every two years, one hour of training on identifying and reporting potential victims of sexual abuse, human trafficking, and other maltreatment of children. Superintendents with renewable certificates are required to complete two-and-a-half hours of continuing education on these topics every five years. (Effective 9/1/2019)

Traumatic Injury Response Protocol (HB 496)

This bill requires school districts and open-enrollment charter schools to develop a protocol for school employees and volunteers to follow in the event of a traumatic injury. Districts must provide access to bleeding control stations for use in the event of a traumatic injury involving blood loss on campuses and training to school district peace officers, each school resource officer who provides law enforcement at the campus, and all other district or school personnel who may be reasonably expected to use a bleeding control station. TEA must approve a course of instruction on the use of a bleeding control station no later than October 1, 2019. Districts must develop and implement the traumatic injury response protocol by January 1, 2020. (Effective 6/15/2019)

Seizure Awareness and First Aid (HB 684)

Requires school nurses to complete Texas Education Agency (TEA)-approved online training regarding managing students with seizure disorders and related first aid. Other school district employees who have regular contact with students are required to complete training regarding awareness of students with seizures, seizure recognition, and related first aid. (Effective 6/14/2019)

Concussion Training for Nurses (HB 961)

School districts and charter schools are required to include school nurses on school concussion oversight teams. The bill requires nurses to receive training on concussions already required of coaches and others on the oversight team. (Effective 6/2/2019)

Health Care Professionals and Human Trafficking (HB 2059)

This bill requires certain health care professionals (e.g., physicians and nurses) to complete training on human trafficking to obtain or renew their license. (Effective 9/1/2019)

Educator Micro-Credentials (HB 2424)

This bill requires the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) to propose rules establishing a program for continuing education providers to issue micro-credentials in fields of study related to an educator ’s certification class. Programs must be approved by TEA and micro-credentials will be recorded on the agency’s Educator Online Certification System (ECOS) and included on public certification records. This bill would also allow TEA to approve providers offer micro-credentialing.

Micro-credentials are a competency-based digital form of certification. They are issued for formal and informal professional learning experiences that support educator skill development and knowledge acquisition to improve professional practice that supports student success. Generally, educators identify a competency they want to develop, submit evidence they have mastered the competency, and receive a digital badge once the evidence is approved. (Effective 6/14/2019)

Cybersecurity Training (HB 3834)

All employees and board members who have access to a local government computer system or database are required to complete state approved cybersecurity training at least once each year. (Effective 6/14/2019)

School Safety and Mental Health (Senate Bill (SB) 11)

This comprehensive bill is designed to improve school safety and promote mental health in schools and public community colleges. In addition to existing statutory requirements, multi-hazard emergency operation plans would be required to include:

  • Training in responding to an emergency for district employees, including substitute teachers
  • Measures ensuring employees have classroom access to a telephone or other electronic communication device allowing for immediate contact with certain emergency services, law enforcement agencies, health departments, and fire departments
  • Measures ensuring communications technology and infrastructure adequately allow for communication during an emergency
  • Mandatory school drills and exercises designed to prepare students and employees for responding to an emergency
  • Strategies for ensuring professional development training for suicide prevention and grief-informed and trauma-informed care is provided to school personnel
  • Training on integrating psychological safety strategies into the district’s plan from an approved list of recommended training established by the education commissioner and Texas School Safety Center for members of the school safety and security committee, school counselors and mental health professionals, and educators and other district personnel as determined by the district
  • Mandatory training for commissioned peace officers

(Effective 6/6/2019)

Extracurricular Safety Training (SB 1376)

This bill transfers the duty to develop and adopt an extracurricular activity safety training program from the commissioner of education to the university Interscholastic League (UIL). Training for extracurricular participants and the safety training program for certain staff members must now be conducted by UIL, the Red Cross, the American Heart Association, or a similar organization, as determined by UIL. (Effective 6/14/2019; applies beginning with the 2019–2020 school year)

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April Mabry
April Mabry
Best Practices: Salary Notification Letters

April Mabry oversees HR Services training services, member library products, and the HRX newsletter. She has provided HR training and guidance to Texas public schools  since 1991. Mabry was a classroom teacher for 11 years in Texas and Michigan.

Mabry has a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Michigan and certification as a professional in human resources (PHR) and is a SHRM-CP.

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