Expanding the Pool of Teachers Policy
The state should ensure that its alternate routes provide streamlined preparation that is relevant to the immediate needs of new teachers.
Arkansas offers an alternate route with streamlined preparation that meets the immediate needs of new teachers.
Arkansas's Non-Traditional Licensure Program (NTLP) requires candidates to take 15 one-day instructional modules during the summer and one Saturday each month during the school year. The coursework consists of modules that include classroom management, developing and meeting goals and objectives for P-12 student learning, lesson planning/curriculum and mapping/developing thematic units of learning and curriculum alignment. These instructional modules occur during year one and two of the alternate route program.
Arkansas is commended for both the length of its alternate route program and its coursework requirements, which offer the flexibility and content that new teachers need to succeed in the classroom, without being overly burdensome.
All candidates are assigned a site-based certified mentor who meets with them on a weekly basis to provide support and guidance for the two years of the program. NTLP teachers receive "front end mentoring" in the beginning of their first year to orient them to school practices and culture. Mentors are identified by the employing school district as master-level teachers who have chosen to serve in an advisory capacity.
Offer opportunities to practice teach.
While Arkansas is commended for offering high-quality mentoring support to new alternate route teachers, the state may want to consider providing its candidates with a practice-teaching opportunity prior to their placement in the classroom.
Arkansas recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.