Educator Resources

Memos to the Field


Assistant Commissioner of Office of Teaching Initiatives


June 11, 2009


District Superintendents; Superintendents of Schools; Athletic Directors; Regional Certification Officers;  Human Resources Directors

From: Robert G. Bentley
Subject: Credentialing of Athletic Coaches

I write to advise you of steps we are taking regarding credentialing of coaches to assist school districts to better insure student safety.  Coaches of school district athletic teams may be:

  1. Teachers of the district
  2. Teachers from another district
  3. Non-teacher Coaches

For certified teacher coaches, in addition to verifying the coaching, first aid and CPR training required, the employing school district must check the TEACH system each school year to ensure that the teacher’s certificate is still valid.  This is especially important to verify for teachers who are employed only as a coach since the normal teacher credentialing reviews for that district would not be done on a teacher not employed in that district.

The third category of coach is the non-teacher coach, which requires a coaching license.  We are implementing changes in the TEACH system to incorporate the issuance of coaching licenses into TEACH.  Incorporating these licenses into TEACH will have the following advantages:

  1. The issuance of certificates/licenses through the TEACH system incorporates several important safeguards.  Before a credential can be issued, the individual applicant’s identifying information is checked against data in TEACH regarding:
    1. disciplinary action against a teaching license;
    2. active OSPRA investigations; and
    3. loss of a teaching credential in another jurisdiction.

  2. Incorporation of coaching license data on the TEACH system makes it more complete for parents and the general public to confirm school district employees are properly credentialed.

  3. The coaching licensure application process can gain the efficiencies of the TEACH system:
    1. Online application (data entry by the applicant)
    2. Credit card payment
    3. Online status checks

Since 1999, the process for issuing coaching licenses has been handled through the District Superintendent’s authority by the BOCES Regional Certification Office.  Administratively, incorporating coaching licenses into the TEACH system should streamline this process for the BOCES Regional Certification Officers.  

This new process would work as follows:

The applicant will be responsible for the data entry and payment process for each application.  A conversation with the Regional Certification Officers indicated a need to stress the importance of applying well in advance of the start of the season – as the coach cannot work unless they have met all requirements and the license has been issued prior to the start of the season.

Regional Certification Officers will continue to verify that non-teacher coach applicants have met each requirement at the time they approve an application: CPR, First Aid, coaching coursework and fingerprint clearance.  As is the case now, the Regional Certification Officer will be responsible for the retention of all documentation to prove an applicant meets requirements.  Child abuse identification/reporting and SAVE workshops are required for the first temporary coaching license.  These workshops are available online.  Please see child abuse identification workshop and school violence prevention and intervention workshop for more information.

Superintendent’s Statement

TEACH will use a superintendent’s statement entered by the school superintendent’s appropriate designee to attest that the district was unable to hire a physical education teacher or a certified teacher with the appropriate coaching qualifications and therefore a non-teacher is required for the specified sport.

Once the Regional Certification Officer determines the applicant has met all requirements, Office of Teaching Initiatives staff will match the superintendent’s statement with the application, and TEACH will check that there are no OSPRA holds or other adverse actions preventing the issuance, and the certificate will be issued.  I expect the cycle time in the Office of Teaching Initiatives should not exceed two weeks. 

Effective Dates - All coaching licenses will be assigned an effective date of September 1 or February 1.  If circumstances arise where a coach met all requirements before 9/1 or 2/1, but entries to the TEACH system were after the desired effective date, the Regional Certification Officer should email a request for the earlier effective date to the Office of Teaching Initiatives BOCES Unit prior to processing.  As long as the applicant met the requirements before the desired effective date, we will backdate the certificate.

I believe the incorporation of coaching licenses into the TEACH online system will provide improved protection for students and will streamline the application process for your applicants and staff.  If you should have any questions, please feel free to call me at (518) 474-4661.

cc:      Johanna Duncan-Poitier
          Joseph P. Frey
          Deborah Marriott
          Patricia Kocialski
          Anne Schiano
          Jean Stevens
          Charles Szuberla
          School Personnel Administrators Association

Last Updated: June 4, 2018