Licensure and Highly Qualified (HQ) Compliance 

Information and Forms on How to Become a Highly Qualified Teacher and Paraprofessional in DCPS

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The Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE)  is the licensing agency for all DC educators, including DCPS employees. Questions regarding specific licensure requirements and individualized application concerns should be directed to their office at 202.741.5881 or to their website General licensure questions and employment eligibility concerns can be directed to DCPS at (202) 442-4090 or

The DCPS Licensure and Highly Qualified  Compliance Unit is responsible for monitoring licensure status and messaging employees of their current licensure status. In compliance with the  federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) highly qualified regulations, we also assist parents with requests to know the professional qualifications of classroom staff.

Licensure Distribution/Renewal Process

Current employees who would like to apply for a new or renewed license should work directly with OSSE, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education. Licensure application information  can  be found on their website at

The OSSE application requires the submission of several components, including  a clearance letter distributed by the DCPS Security Team. DCPS will provide a clearance letter to current employees who are currently  serving in a role that requiring a license. Employees must be fingerprinted within a 24-month period in order to request a clearance letter. If it has beyond this period, they must come into the central office to be re-fingerprinted by DC Public Schools. You may complete the clearance letter request form under our HR Forms  page on this website.

Non-employees may also submit a licensure application to OSSE, but they must complete a background search independently

Highly Qualified Requirements

In order for teachers to be considered Highly Qualified as determined by The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), they must be teaching in the core subject area of their certification.  To meet these standards, a teacher of core academic content must possess:

  • A Bachelor’s degree
  • A teaching or intern credential, and
  • Demonstrated core academic subject matter competence

The core academic content areas include:

  • Multiple/General subjects
  • English
  • Reading/Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Foreign Languages
  • Civics/Government
  • Economics
  • History
  • Geography
  • Arts

NCLB does not require current teachers to return to school or get a degree in every subject they teach to demonstrate that they are highly qualified.  NCLB allows these employees to provide an alternate method of evaluation called High, Objective, Uniform State Standard of Evaluation (HOUSSE). This evaluation allows experienced teachers to demonstrate subject-matter competency that recognizes, among other things, the experience, expertise, and professional training garnered over time in the profession.
To request a HOUSSE evaluations, please contact the Data Integrity and Analytics Team at

Parents’ Right to Know

Under the No Child Left Behind Act a parent has the right to know the following information:

  • The qualifications of the school staff providing instruction to their child.
  • Whether their child has been assigned to or has been taught for four or more consecutive weeks by a teacher of a core academic subject who is not highly qualified. 
  • Upon the parents request we will provide the following information:
  • Whether the teacher has met state qualifications and licensing criteria for the grade level and subject areas in which the teacher provides instruction.
  • The baccalaureate degree major of the teacher and any graduate certification or degree held by the teacher and the field of discipline of the certification or degree.
  • Whether the child is provided services by paraprofessionals and if so their qualifications.
  • NCLB Parent Right to Know Request


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