The state should ensure that its alternate routes provide streamlined preparation that is relevant to the immediate needs of new teachers.
Louisiana does not ensure that its alternate route candidates will receive streamlined preparation that meets the immediate needs of new teachers.
Most Practitioner Teacher Program candidates participate in nine credit hours, or the equivalent 135 contact hours, in Summer Preparation Sessions. Grades 1-5, 4-8, 6-12, All-Level K-12 and Mild/Moderate Special Education candidates must complete a range from 21 to 30 credit hours or equivalent 315-450 contact hours of coursework. Grades PK-3 candidates must complete 24-33 credit hours or an equivalent 360-495 contact hours. Coursework topics include instruction in child or adolescent development or psychology, the diverse learner, classroom management/organization, assessment and instructional design/strategies.
Practitioner Teachers participate in two seminars (12 credit hours) during the school year and receive one-on-one mentoring support through an internship.
Program providers, principals, mentors and practitioner teachers form teams to review and evaluate first-year teaching performance. If a practitioner teacher demonstrates weaknesses, a prescriptive plan of up to nine credit hours or 135 contact hours will be implemented. Candidates are eligible to earn full certification after one year.
Master's Degree Alternative Certificate Program certificates must complete a total of 33-39 credit hours. Fifteen credit hours must be coursework on "The Learner and the Learning Environment," 12-15 credit hours are in methods and six-nine credits are required for student teaching or an internship.
Non-Masters/Certification-Only Program candidates must complete 27-33 credit hours within three years. The Certification only program includes 80 hours of classroom readiness training focused on instructional design and delivery and classroom management. The Certification Only route also requires candidates to complete 12 credit hours of coursework on "The Learner and the Learning Environment" as well as six credit hours of student teaching, and six credit hours of methodology coursework.
The Practitioner Teacher Program and the Certification Only program provide new teachers with mentoring support during the first year of teaching, with support for additional years if necessary.
Louisiana Education Code 28.231
Ensure that new teachers are not burdened by excessive requirements
Alternate route programs should not be permitted to overburden the new teacher by requiring multiple courses to be taken simultaneously during the school year. Louisiana should also ensure that the program can be completed within two years.
Extend induction to all alternate route teachers.
While Louisiana is commended for requiring Practitioner Program and Certification Only teachers to work with a mentor, all new teachers should receive this support. In addition, the state should consider providing sufficient guidelines to ensure that the induction program is structured for new teacher success. Effective strategies include practice teaching prior to teaching in the classroom, intensive mentoring with full classroom support in the first few weeks or months of school, a reduced teaching load and release time to allow new teachers to observe experienced teachers during each school day.
Louisiana recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.