Framework and Resources

What are Micro-credentials?

A micro-credential system provides educators the opportunity to gain recognition for professional skills they develop throughout their careers. It focuses on competencies and empowering educators to engage with their content and guide their own learning opportunities by choosing the time, place, path, pace, and application of the micro-credentials. Micro-credentials contribute to an educational system that values the continuous development of professional skills and ongoing commitment to increase student achievement throughout an educator’s career.

Earning FCPS Micro-credentials

Educators in the Vanguard Program must earn four micro-credentials each year to continue in the program. They may choose the order, pacing, and in many cases, path in which they earn the micro-credentials. Educators in the Vanguard Program must demonstrate each of their competencies by fulfilling the Vanguard Responsibilities as well as demonstrating capacities in other self-selected ways. To demonstrate competencies and earn each micro-credential, Vanguards must submit 2-4 digital artifacts (required number and suggested tasks for each competency are listed in the Framework Overview) and reflect on them in terms of the growth in and mastery of each competency.

Micro-credentials can be submitted at any time, but will be reviewed at the end of each term. Two micro-credentials are due by February 1st. All four micro-credentials are due by May 1st.

A committee reviews the micro-credential submissions starting on the last day of the term. All submissions received during that term will be reviewed during the following two weeks. You will receive notification either way within a few days after the review period ends.

FCPS Vanguard Digital Badges

For the FCPS Vanguard Program, badges will be issued on an ongoing basis. At the end of each year, a badge showing graduation of the Vanguard level will be issued to Vanguards who show mastery in all four competencies. These badges may be shared on social media, included in Vanguard email signatures, etc.

Micro-credential Submission Form

When educators believe they have mastered a competency and have the evidence and artifacts to demonstrate it, they should complete the Submission Form.

Submission Docs

Use the appropriate submission doc for each of your micro-credential submissions.

Vanguard Teacher

Vanguard Leader

Vanguard Coach

The submission docs require Vanguards to:

    • describe the learning and evidence that demonstrates their growth in each particular competency,
    • provide links to digital artifacts that demonstrate their growth, and
    • reflect on their growth in the particular competency.

Please review the micro-credentials rubric and the overview with examples chart to ensure that you have met the criteria for a successful submission.

FCPS Vanguard Micro-credentialing Framework

Focus on Competencies

A competency is “an underlying characteristic of an individual that is causally related to effective or superior performance (Boyatzis, 1982, p97).” These characteristics include enduring motives, traits, self-concepts, values, knowledge, and skills that can be assessed and differentiated. Effort has been made to articulate the competencies in the FCPS Framework in observable, evidence-based ways. The expectation is that educators will be able to use these competencies to demonstrate and advance mastery and get timely, meaningful, differentiated support.

Organization of the FCPS Framework

The FCPS Framework identifies 12 micro-competencies, which are organized into 4 larger competencies—mindset, instructional technology skills, teaching practices, and professional learning/networking skills. These competencies are distinguished not only in content, but also in how they are developed in individuals. A brief description of each competency follows.

    • Mindset: Mindset competencies include the core values or beliefs that guide an individual’s thinking, behaviors, and actions, and that align with goals of educational change and mission. In blended learning, educators need to understand, adopt, and commit to mindsets that help them shift towards new forms of teaching and learning.
          • NBPTS 1: Teachers are committed to students and their learning.
          • IO 6: Reflective Practice - Hood College prepares educators who reflect on their practice and are committed to continued professional growth.
          • IO 7: Ethics and Integrity - Hood College prepares educators who demonstrate ethics and integrity to promote respect for the profession.
    • Instructional Technology Skills: Instructional technology skills are the domain-specific expertise that educators use to design, develop, and infuse in their lessons student experiences that utilize technology. The goal is to transform learning experiences so they result in higher levels of achievement for students. Instructional technology skills are acquired and mastered through instruction, training, and practice.
          • NBPTS 2: Teachers know the subjects they teach and how to teach those subjects to students.
          • IO 2: Diversity - Hood College prepares educators who use their knowledge of diversity to create learning environments in which all students learn.
          • IO 4: Technology - Hood College prepares educators who use technology to enhance learning.
        • MTTS V: Integrating Technology into the Curriculum and Instruction – Design, implement and assess learning experiences that incorporate use of technology in a curriculum-related instructional activity to support understanding, inquiry, problem-solving, communication and/or collaboration.
    • Teaching Practices: Teaching practice competencies are those personal characteristics and patterns of behavior that help educators make the transition to new ways of teaching and learning. These qualities, include integrating digital content, small group instruction, opportunities for student reflection, and data-driven decision making. These qualities need to be coached, reinforced, and developed over time.
          • NBPTS 3: Teachers are responsible for managing and monitoring student learning.
          • NBPTS 4: Teachers think systemically about their practice and learn from their experience.
          • IO 1: Content Knowledge and Skills - Hood College prepares educators who demonstrate standards based content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, and pedagogical content knowledge to ensure that all students can learn.
          • IO 2: Diversity - Hood College prepares educators who use their knowledge of diversity to create learning environments in which all students learn.
          • IO 3: Assessment - Hood College prepares educators who use a variety of assessment data to guide planning and instruction to improve learning for all students.
          • IO 4: Technology - Hood College prepares educators who use technology to enhance learning.
          • MTTS V: Integrating Technology into the Curriculum and Instruction – Design, implement and assess learning experiences that incorporate use of technology in a curriculum-related instructional activity to support understanding, inquiry, problem-solving, communication and/or collaboration.
    • Professional Learning & Networking (PLN) Skills: PLN skills are generalizable skills that apply across roles and subject areas. These skills—which include things like collaboration and problem-solving—are complex; they help practitioners tackle new tasks or develop solutions in situations that require organizational learning and innovation. They are mastered through modeling, coaching, and reflective practice.
          • NBPTS 5: Teachers are members of learning communities.
          • IO 5: Communication - Hood College prepares educators who communicate effectively with students, families, and colleagues in order to facilitate learning.
          • IO 6: Reflective Practice - Hood College prepares educators who reflect on their practice and are committed to continued professional growth.
          • MTTS VII: Professional Growth – Develop professional practices that continual learning and professional growth in technology.
Vanguard Micro-credential Rubric