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The RETELL initiative (Rethinking Equity in the Teaching of English Language Learners) was launched in Massachusetts by the Department of Secondary and Elementary Education (DESE) to address the persistent gap in academic proficiency experienced by ELL students. As part of the initiative, all core academic teachers of ELLs as well as principals, assistant principals, and directors who supervise or evaluate these teachers must obtain their Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) Endorsement. Any teacher or administrator who is required to but does not earn the SEI Endorsement within the allotted time period will not be able to renew, advance, or extend their license. * 
Core Academic Teachers are defined as early childhood teachers, elementary teachers, teachers of students with moderate disabilities, teachers of students with severe disabilities, and teachers of the following academic subjects: English, reading or language arts, mathematics, science, civics and government, economics, history, and geography. 
In Lawrence, we believe that all educators are teachers of language. More than 70% of our students speak a language other than English as their first language. New educators to our district who are not SEI-endorsed must be on track to earn the SEI Endorsement within one year of being hired. 
MA Educators
All approved Massachusetts Educator Preparation Programs are now required to include SEI Endorsement in their program. However, MA educators who graduated from a MA Educator Preparation Program before July 1, 2014 and/or who do not have their SEI endorsement will need to follow one of the “Paths to SEI Endorsement” below. 
Out-of-State Educators
Out-of-state educators applying for their MA Initial License must be SEI-endorsed in order to obtain their license.  Out-of-state educators who apply for their MA Preliminary or Temporary License have one year to complete their SEI requirement.  Please click here for an overview of licensure requirements for out-of-state educators. 
Paths to SEI Endorsement
  • Complete and pass a for-cost course offered by select providers, listed here. Please contact the for-cost course providers directly for information. 
  • Pass the Massachusetts SEI MTEL Subject Test. Study materials and information can be found here
  • Possess a valid MA ESL/ELL license.
  • Possess a bachelor’s degree in a Department- approved major, or other Department-approved graduate level training. To determine approval, apply for the SEI endorsement through ELAR  and select Path 2 (transcript review based on a related degree or graduate level training).  
  • An overview of RETELL initiatives can be found on the MA Department of Education’s website
  • Instructions for applying for the SEI Endorsement in ELAR can be found here
  • The Massachusetts Teachers Association has compiled a list of FAQs on their website.
  • For questions about applying for a transcript review, contact the Office of Educator Licensure at 781-338-6600.
  • General questions? Email the RETELL team at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call them at 888-789-1109.
* The Office of English Language Acquisition and Academic Achievement. “RE: RETELL- Requirement to Earn the SEI Endorsement.” Letter to Massachusetts Educators. 8 Dec 2015. Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Malden, MA.

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