22 CFR § 62.24 - Teachers.

§ 62.24 Teachers.

(a) Purpose. The regulations in this section govern exchange visitors who teach full-time in accredited public and private U.S. primary and secondary schools (K–12), including pre-kindergarten language immersion programs offered as regular courses of study by accredited primary schools. Programs in this category promote the interchange of U.S. and foreign teachers and enhance mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries. Exchange teachers sharpen their professional skills and participate in cross-cultural activities in schools and communities, and they return home after the exchange to share their experiences and increased knowledge of the United States and the U.S. educational system. Such exchanges enable foreign teachers to understand better U.S. culture, society and teaching practices at the primary and secondary levels, and enhance U.S. students' knowledge of foreign cultures, customs and teaching approaches.

(b) Designation. The Department may, in its discretion, designate bona fide programs satisfying the objectives in paragraph (a) of this section as exchange visitor programs in the Teacher category.

(c) Definitions. In addition to those definitions set forth in § 62.2, the following definitions apply to the Teacher category of the Exchange Visitor Program:

(1) Accredited primary or accredited secondary school: Any publicly or privately operated primary or secondary institution for educating children in the United States that offers mainly academic programs and is duly accredited by the appropriate academic accrediting authority of the jurisdiction in which such institution is located.

(2) Full-time teaching: A minimum of 32 hours per week of teaching or teaching-related administrative activities.

(3) Home country school: An exchange teacher's school in his or her country of nationality or last legal country of residence.

(4) Host school: The U.S.-accredited primary or secondary school in which a sponsor places an exchange teacher pursuant to the exchange teacher's written acceptance of the placement.

(5) International school: A school that is so designated by its school district, state, or other applicable governing authority, or one whose curriculum focuses predominantly on international aspects of the subject matter taught and/or language immersion, or one that predominantly follows a national curriculum of a foreign country.

(6) Language immersion program: A program that is a regular course of study offered by an accredited school having sustained and enriched instruction, in a language not native to the majority of the student population, that occurs for at least fifty percent of the school day.

(7) Virtual exchange: A technology-enabled, sustained, people-to-people cross-cultural educational program that may supplement the goals of an in-person exchange and integrates global knowledge, cultural awareness, and/or foreign language into the classroom or other setting.

(d) Teacher eligibility. Foreign nationals are eligible to participate in exchange visitor programs as full-time teachers if, at the time of initial application to the sponsor, an individual making such application demonstrates to the satisfaction of the sponsor that he or she:

(1) Either:

(i) Meets the qualifications for teaching at the primary, including pre-kindergarten, or secondary levels in schools in his or her home country; is working as a teacher in his or her home country at the time of application; and has at least two years of full-time teaching experience; or

(ii) Is not working as a teacher in his or her home country at the time of application, but otherwise meets the qualifications for teaching at the primary (including pre-kindergarten) or secondary levels in schools in the home country; has had at least two years of full-time teaching experience within the past eight years; and, within 12 months of his or her application submission date for the program, has or will have completed an advanced degree (beyond a degree equivalent to a U.S. bachelor's degree) in education or in an academic subject matter that he or she intends to teach or that is directly related to his or her teaching subject field;

(2) Possesses, at a minimum, a degree equivalent to a U.S. bachelor's degree in either education or the academic subject field in which he or she intends to teach;

(3) Satisfies the teaching eligibility standards of the U.S. state in which he or she will teach (e.g., meets minimum educational requirements, has passed teacher training coursework at a sufficiently proficient level, has provided an evaluation of foreign teaching preparation coursework, has demonstrated the requisite prior teaching experience), to include any required criminal background or other checks;

(4) Is of good reputation and character; and

(5) Agrees to come to the United States temporarily as a full-time teacher of record in an accredited primary or secondary school. Exchange teachers may teach a variety of subjects and levels at their host school or schools, if qualified, but at the pre-kindergarten level, may teach only in language immersion programs.

(e) Teacher selection. Sponsors must screen foreign teachers carefully before accepting them for the program. In addition to the requirements set forth in § 62.10 and all security checks required by U.S. state departments of education and host schools, sponsors also must:

(1) Verify the qualifications of each foreign teacher to determine whether he or she satisfies the criteria set forth in paragraph (d) of this section;

(2) Secure references from one colleague and one current or former supervisor of each foreign teacher, attesting to that teacher's good reputation, character and teaching skills;

(3) Verify that each selected foreign teacher applicant possesses sufficient proficiency in the English language to function in U.S. classrooms and to function on a day-to-day basis, in accordance with the provision for selection of exchange visitors set forth at § 62.10(a)(2); and

(4) Verify that each foreign teacher who is eligible for the program under paragraph (d)(1)(ii) of this section has a letter from the head of a school in another country, preferably that teacher's home country, which states that school's willingness to work with the exchange teacher on the cross-cultural activity component set forth in paragraph (h)(1)(ii). The foreign school with which the exchange teacher plans to work must be at the same academic level as the foreign teacher's proposed host school. The letter submitted as part of the foreign teacher's application package must be signed by the head of the school or another individual in an appropriate position of authority to speak for the school within the foreign country's school system; the official signing the letter must list both email and telephone contact information. The letter may be submitted in English or in the original language of the home country with an English translation; the name, title/organization and contact information of the translator must be noted on the translation.

(f) Teaching position. Sponsors must ensure that:

(1) Forms DS–2019 are not issued until foreign teacher applicants have received and accepted written offers of full-time teaching positions from the accredited primary (including pre-kindergarten level) or secondary schools in which they will teach;

(2) Program dates coincide with the U.S. academic year cycle to ensure a smooth transition as exchange teachers arrive and depart, unless the sponsor notifies, and receives approval from, the Department for other exchange dates before the sponsor issues any Form DS–2019; sponsors should ensure that these dates are included in the exchange teacher's contract;

(3) Exchange teachers comply with any applicable collective bargaining agreement;

(4) Exchange teacher appointments to positions within accredited primary or secondary schools are temporary, even if the teaching positions are permanent, and do not lead to tenure; exchange teachers must be employees of either the host or home school during their exchange.

(5) Teaching positions, including duties, responsibilities, hours of employment, and compensation, are commensurate with those of similarly-situated U.S. teachers in the school district or host school where that exchange teacher is assigned to teach; an exchange teacher, unless he or she is on a program where the Department is the sponsor, must be employed by and under the direct supervision and guidance of his or her host school and, where applicable, host school district; and

(6) A pre-kindergarten level exchange teacher is assigned to teach full-time in an accredited host school (or in several schools within the same host school district, including at several academic levels, with prior permission from the Department). If an exchange teacher is placed in a private school where there is no host school district, then he or she must teach a full-time schedule of at least 32 hours in a school or schools located no more than 25 miles from the main host school; in such a situation, sponsors must ensure that reasonable and effective modes of transportation exist to such additional sites of activity. An exchange teacher may teach at the pre-kindergarten level only in a language immersion program offered as regular course of study by an accredited primary school.

(g) Program disclosure.

(1) As part of recruitment, in addition to the information required by § 62.10(b)–(c), sponsors must provide on their main Web sites and in their recruiting materials a general summary of fees and other costs for the program. This summary should include, but not be limited to, the sponsor fee; foreign or domestic third party or partner fees; visa fee; the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fee; insurance costs; estimates for food, housing and local transportation costs; expected work-related deductions; and estimates or ranges for all other fees charged for and significant general costs related to participation in the teacher exchange program.

(2) At the time a foreign teacher is selected for the program, and before the exchange visitor signs any contracts with the host school, sponsors and/or the host school must provide each individual exchange teacher the following information, either within the teacher's contract or in a separate document: The name, location, and brief description of the host school; the terms and conditions of compensation (with deductions from gross salary); any provisions affecting the ability of the exchange teacher to be accompanied abroad by a spouse or dependents (including any related assistance and allowances); a summary of the significant components of the program (including a statement of the teaching requirements and related professional obligations, as well as the required cross-cultural activity component as set forth in paragraph (h) of this section); specific information on the fees and costs for which the exchange teacher will be responsible while on exchange in that school district in accordance with paragraph (g)(1); anticipated housing options and cost implications; specific local transportation options between the exchange teacher's residence and the host school and transportation cost estimates; insurance costs for accident or illness coverage, repatriation of remains and medical evacuation as required by § 62.14; estimated personal expense money for initial costs the exchange teacher may incur upon arrival in the United States prior to receiving his or her first paycheck; certification or licensure procedures and costs at the host school; administrative fees; and any placement fees. Exchange teacher compensation, unless provided directly to the exchange teacher through government funding, through continued support from the exchange teacher's home school, or from both the teacher's home and host school in a shared cost arrangement, must be paid directly by the host school or host school district in which the exchange teacher is placed.

(h) Cross-cultural activity component. In addition to the requirements of § 62.10:

(1) Sponsors must require each exchange teacher to complete, within the United States, and during each academic year of program participation, at least one cross-cultural activity from each of the following two categories:

(i) An activity for the teacher's classroom, larger host school or host school district population, or the community at large designed to give an overview of the history, traditions, heritage, culture, economy, educational system and/or other attributes of his or her home country. Sponsors of exchange teachers placed at international schools must require their exchange teachers to conduct at least one cross-cultural activity per academic year outside the host school in nearby schools or communities where international opportunities may be more limited than those found in their host school; and

(ii) An activity that involves U.S. student dialogue with schools or students in another country, preferably in the exchange teacher's home school, through virtual exchange or other means, in order to supplement the goals of the in-person exchange.

(2) Sponsors must collect annual reports from their exchange teachers detailing the cross-cultural activity component of their exchange program. The annual report does not have to be in a specific format, but must include the exchange teacher's full name and the program sponsor's name. The report section about the cross-cultural activity component must contain the following information:

(i) The date(s) of each activity;

(ii) The location of each activity;

(iii) The audience for and participants in each activity;

(iv) A general overview of each activity, including the topic; and

(v) The estimated impact of each activity.

(i) Location of the exchange. Exchange teachers must participate in exchange visitor programs at the accredited primary or secondary schools listed on their Forms DS–2019 or at location(s) where the institutions are involved in official school activities (e.g., school field trips, teacher development programs);

(j) Duration of participation. Exchange teachers may be authorized to participate in the Exchange Visitor Program for the length of time necessary to complete the program, which may not exceed three years unless a specific extension of one or two years is authorized by the Department as set forth in paragraph (k) of this section.

(k) Program extensions.

(1) Sponsors may request from the Department an extension of an exchange teacher's exchange by either one or two years, but not by a semester or by other fractions of academic years.

(2) The sponsor's request for extension must include:

(i) A letter of reference on official letterhead written by the host school or host school district administrator responsible for overseeing the exchange teacher that describes the exchange teacher's performance during the previous three years of the exchange and how the host school has benefited from the exchange teacher's presence; and

(ii) a document describing how the exchange teacher over the previous three years has engaged his or her classroom, the wider host school or host school district, or community through the cross-cultural activity component, if these activities are not already detailed in the exchange teacher's annual reports.

(3) Sponsors must submit their extension request and supporting documentation for the extension to the Department no later than three months prior to the beginning of the desired extension period for the exchange teacher.

(4) Sponsor requests for extension must include proof of payment of the required non-refundable extension fee as set forth in § 62.17.

(5) The Department, at its discretion, may authorize a sponsor to extend an exchange teacher's participation for either one or two additional years beyond the initial three-year exchange period. Sponsors must comply with all Department guidance on creating an extension record for the teacher within SEVIS.

(6) Sponsors that applied for a two-year extension on behalf of a host school and its exchange teacher and received permission from the Department only for a one-year extension may apply again to extend the program of that host school's exchange teacher for one additional year by following the procedures set forth in paragraphs (k)(2)–(4) of this section. The sponsor should include with such additional extension request a copy of the prior extension request submitted to enable the initial one-year extension.

(l) Repeat participation. Foreign nationals who have successfully completed teacher exchange programs are eligible to participate in additional teacher exchange programs, provided that they have resided outside the United States for at least two years following the successful completion of their most recent teacher exchange program and continue to meet the eligibility requirements set forth in paragraph (d) of this section.

[81 FR 4955, Jan. 29, 2016]