PI-34 and School Counselor Licensure
The law related to licensure of all school staff in Wisconsin is the Quality Educator Initiative, or PI 34. Within each of the three major professional groups currently licensed (teachers, administrators and pupil services), there are three levels of licensure: Initial, Professional, and Master Educator. The major focus of this law is the performance and competency of licensure candidates related to a set of standards for their area of preparation. To be certified for licensure (and re-licensure), pupil services candidates must demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions in the seven pupil services standards. For a copy of the standards, go here. All licenses described below for school counselors and issued after August 31, 2004, are issued at the early childhood through adolescent level, PK-12. Educators holding licenses issued prior to August 31, 2004, will continue to have those licenses renewed as issued.
In order to receive an Initial Educator license in a pupil services category (i.e., school counselor) under s. PI 34.31, an applicant must successfully complete an approved graduate program at an accredited college or university and receive institutional endorsement. This is based on demonstration of proficient performance of knowledge, skills, and dispositions related to the seven pupil services standards. Authentic assessment of the proficiency of the candidate takes place through a portfolio review prior to graduation and the Praxis II exam. A school district is required to provide Initial Educators with all of the following: ongoing orientation, support seminars, and a qualified mentor. Mentors who are looking for guidance in performing the mentor role may want to access the publication, "Mentoring the Pupil Services Initial Educator".
The Initial Educator license is issued for a period of five years, and is non-renewable. Prior to the expiration of this license (and no sooner than three years after the issue date), a school counselor must prepare a professional development plan (PDP) which demonstrates successful completion of the Initial Educator requirement, as well as ongoing, increased proficiency in all standards. This is done in collaboration with a PDP Team. The team is comprised of an administrator designated by the school district and approved by the school board; a representative from a graduate program that prepares professional school personnel; and a school counselor who is not the mentor. This team approves the PDP and monitors the initial educator's progress toward its completion. Initial Educators are also mentored by a peer who is not a member of the PDP Team. Final approval of the completed PDP allows an Initial Educator to move to the next level of licensure, the Professional Educator. Decisions of the PDP team can be appealed.
The Professional Educator license is issued for a period of five years, and is renewable, contingent upon the school counselor's successful completion of a PDP. For school counselors who were initially licensed as Initial Educators, a PDP team comprised of three licensed educators selected by peers reviews and verifies successful completion of the PDP. Once licensed at the Professional Educator level, a school counselor may choose to stay at this level of licensure for the remainder of his/her career, by renewing the PDP every five years.
School counselors who were licensed educators under PI 3, prior to August 31, 2004, received a Professional Educator license when they renewed, and have the option to renew the license in the future by completing either a PDP or six semester credits of professional development.
The Master Educator license is voluntary, and available to school counselors via two methods: the DPI's master educator requirements or the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) certification process for school counselors. The methods are comparable.
The DPI's Master Educator license process for Pupil Services is intended to demonstrate mastery of the pupil services standards. It requires: a related master's degree; verification of five years successful experience as a school counselor at the professional educator level or while holding a five-year license or a life license issued prior to July 1, 2004; evidence of contributions to the profession; evidence of improved student learning; and formal approval of the application by an assessment team which must complete a formal assessment, including observation of a demonstration of classroom performance. The assessment team consists of three DPI-trained educators of similar job responsibilities, nominated by their professional organization, and approved for appointment by the State Superintendent. In addition, a school board member may be a member of the team.
The Master Educator license may be renewed after ten years through the same process as outlined above for first-time master educator applicants.
This article is intended as an overview of the PI 34 licensure process for school counselors. In the interest of space, certain details have not been included. The complete law, can be found here.
For questions regarding school counseling licensing, please contact the general licensing information line at (800) 266-1027.