Career resources for New Mexico school teachers and administrators

Online Portfolio for Alternative Licensure (OPAL)

Dear Educator,

The New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED) has requested that all submissions using the:
  • Same Level Licensure Online Renewal System
  • 3-Tiered Licensure System for Dossier Submission
  • Online Portfolio for Alternative Licensure (OPAL)

  • be halted as of midnight June 1, 2019.

    If you are seeking guidance on how to renew, advance, or access the OPAL systems for licensure please contact the NMPED Helpdesk using the following contact information:
  • Email: LicensureUnit@state.nm.us
  • Phone: 505-827-1436
  • Note: Effective December 9, 2014, the Public Education Department (PED) has increased the amount for License Application Processing Fee. View the 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)?

    Step by Step Process: Preparing and Submitting the Online Portfolio for Alternative Licensure Review
    Step1Step 2Step 3Step 4Step 5
    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.


    For questions concerning OPAL content and preparation, contact IPD Help Desk.

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

    For questions regarding licensure, contact:
    Licensure Help Desk

    NM Public Education Department
    Professional Licensure Bureau
    120 S. Federal Place, Room 105
    Santa Fe, NM 87501

    Copyright © 2019 University of New Mexico College of Education. All rights reserved.
    Supported by the Educator Quality Division at the New Mexico Public Education Department