CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The first group of Transition to Teaching students to become teachers have successfully completed the alternative certification program.
The first cohort of graduates include 13 teachers – three special education teachers, five science teachers, three math teachers, one Spanish teacher and one English teacher.
“Educators and policymakers are continually searching for new ways to recruit and retain excellent public school teachers,” said state Superintendent of Schools Jorea Marple. “West Virginia has many highly experienced teachers, who will be difficult to replace as more and more of them retire. Alternative teacher certification is one way to address the issue.”
The West Virginia Department of Education launched the Transition to Teaching program in 2008 to attract new teachers to the classroom through alternative certification. The program, funded with a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, is a collaborative effort between the West Virginia Department of Education and Marshall and West Virginia universities.
The goal was to prepare 30 teachers a year for five years in critical shortage areas, such as math or science. Participants must already have a bachelor’s degree, must pass the Praxis I exam and commit three years to the project.
With about a quarter of West Virginia’s 24,000 educators now eligible for retirement, programs that offer alternative routes to certification are important to attracting new teachers.
Alternative certification is attractive to those who have a college degree and have been successful in their careers but want to change jobs or their lifestyle. A significant number of participants in the Transition to Teaching program once worked as engineers, chemists, physicists, meteorologists and paramedics.
During the first year, participants complete 18 hours of online graduate work in pedagogy while performing the day-to-day duties of a classroom teacher. The second year, participants complete content specific and instructional strategy enhancing courses through WVDE's e-Learning classes. Year three, participants complete two more e-Learning classes -- one to introduce them to the process of National Board Certification; the other to give them real-world, classroom application of completing a portfolio entry for National Board Certification. Each participant also is assigned to an academic coach.
For more information, contact Teresa Epperley in the Office of Professional Preparation at 304-558-7010, or the Office of Communications at 304-558-2699.
--The West Virginia Board of Education and the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) are committed to ensuring all students in the state are college and career ready when they graduate from a public school. What West Virginia students are learning in school exceeds national and international standards. Through the WVDE’s 21st century learning plan called “Global21: Students deserve it. The world demands it.,” West Virginia is seeing better student performance on the West Virginia Educational Standards Test 2 (WESTEST2); the SAT and the ACT college entrance exams; the job skills assessment called Work Keys given to career and technical education students; and in a high school graduation rate that exceeds the national average.
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