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Online Portfolio for Alternative Licensure (OPAL)

Note: Effective June 30, 2010, the Public Education Department (PED) will increase the amount for License Application Processing Fee. View the memorandum and new licensure fee structure.

What is the Online Portfolio for Alternative Licensure?

computer screen showing OPAL websiteThe Online Portfolio for Alternative Licensure (OPAL) is the online system you will use to complete an individual profile and to upload your portfolio templates and supporting materials for review by officials in your district/charter school, by independent reviewers and the Public Education Department.

To find out more about OPAL and the OPAL review process, read the Requirements and Guidelines for Preparation of the Online Portfolio for Alternative Licensure. Most importantly, the Requirements and Guidelines contain all directions on how to complete your online portfolio.

When may your online portfolio be submitted for review?

You may establish your online account after receiving your intern license. However, you must complete 160 days in your position as a teacher of record before you can fully begin this process.

What is the process of preparing and submitting the Online Portfolio for Alternative Licensure (OPAL)?

Note: In an effort to provide a more convenient and efficient payment process, the NMPED is now accepting online payments for services provided by the NM Online Licensure system (i.e., PDD, OPAL and Same Level Licensure Renewal submissions). At this time, our manual payment option has been discontinued and all future payments should be submitted using the provided link. If you have any difficulty using the online payment portal, please contact us.

Step by Step Process: Preparing and Submitting the Online Portfolio for Alternative Licensure Review
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Register and create an account with the NM Public Education Department's OPAL system. Carefully read the Requirements & Guidelines for Preparing the Online Portfolio for Alternative Licensure, including appendices that include important forms.

Use the OPAL Resources (see sidebar) to support your work as you collect evidence and complete your writing.

OPAL Templates can only be obtained by registering and creating an account with the NM Public Education Department online OPAL system. Completing this step requires the remittance of $320.00 for your pending submittal. This fee covers the cost of final OPAL review.

Use the OPAL Strand A–D Templates to complete your portfolio and submit each OPAL strand.

Submit Strands A, B, and C online.

You are responsible for submitting the Strand D: Administrator Letter Notification for Verification to your administrator.

The Strand D OPAL template can only be obtained by registering and creating an account with the NM Public Education Department's OPAL system.

Your administrator will complete Strand D online.

The OPAL system is used to make licensure decisions, therefore the Requirements & Guidelines for its preparation are standardized, and you should follow them carefully. However, you should also remember that the intent of the Requirements & Guidelines is to allow you to tell a set of stories from your practice, stories that are illustrated and validated by concrete evidence from your work with your students and others in your classroom. The OPAL system is not a test with the right answer. Instead, OPAL allows you to construct a picture of your teaching.

To meet this goal, you are asked to provide explanations of what you did on several occasions in your teaching and to substantiate that explanation with data. Two outside reviewers will make decisions based on both the explanation and the data. As they review your portfolio, they will seek to understand what you do and how you think about instruction, student learning, and professional growth. Both outside reviewers will be experienced educators, but only one of the reviewers will have similar subject area expertise. Keep in mind this purpose and audience as you construct your OPAL.

Support

For questions concerning OPAL content and preparation, contact ipd@unm.edu.

For questions concerning technical requirements or difficulty with the VisionLink system, including password or login issues contact opalhelp@visionlink.org

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Supported by the Educator Quality Division at the New Mexico Public Education Department