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.
Montana does not provide streamlined preparation that meets the immediate needs of new teachers.
Under the Class 5 Alternative license, applicants sign a plan of professional intent that commits the individual to an approved program leading to licensure. Montana provides no specific guidelines about the nature or quantity of coursework for its alternate route programs. There is no limit on the amount of coursework that can be required overall, nor on the amount of coursework a candidate can be required to take while also teaching.
Montana does not require providers to offer opportunities for practice teaching. Although some districts offer mentor support for new teachers, it is not a state requirement.
The Class 5 Alternative license can be renewed for up to three years. At program completion, candidates may apply for a standard license.
Establish coursework guidelines for alternate route preparation programs.
Montana should articulate guidelines regarding the nature and amount of coursework required of candidates. Current guidelines appear to require candidates to complete a program similar to that of traditional candidates, not a streamlined one designed to meet the immediate needs of new teachers. Requirements should be manageable and contribute to the immediate needs of new teachers. Appropriate coursework should include grade-level or subject-level seminars, methodology in the content area, classroom management, assessment and scientifically based early reading instruction.
Ensure that new teachers are supported in the first year of teaching.
Montana should provide more induction guidelines to ensure that new teachers will receive the support they need to facilitate their success in the classroom. 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.
Montana declined to respond to NCTQ's analyses.