Alternate Routes Policy
The state should ensure that its alternate routes provide efficient preparation that is relevant to the immediate needs of new teachers, as well as intensive induction support. The bar for this goal was raised in 2017.
New Hampshire offers four alternate pathways to certification: Alternative 3A, Alternative 3B, Alternative 4, and Alternative 5.
Coursework Requirements: New Hampshire does not set specific coursework requirements for the preparation provided through any of its alternative route programs. Alternative 3A candidates must provide evidence of competence for each required standard through a written portfolio and participation in a half-day oral examination. Candidates in Alternative 4 and 5 programs are expected to develop an individualized professional development plan or a site-based certification plan, respectively. Both plans must be developed in collaboration with a mentor and the employing district's superintendent. The plan must outline the candidate's competencies with regard to the general and professional education requirements needed for the candidate's intended teaching area, as well as how a candidate plans to develop all competencies needed in order to earn certification.
Induction Support: New Hampshire requires that Alternative 4 and Alternative 5 candidates are paired with a mentor. The state does not outline any other induction support requirements for any of its alternate routes.
Supervised Practice Teaching Requirements: New Hampshire does not require that its alternate route programs provide candidates with a supervised practice teaching opportunity.
New Hampshire Administrative Rules for Education 505.03-.07: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rules/state_agencies/ed.html New Hampshire Department of Education, Educator Certification Procedures: http://www.education.nh.gov/certification/index.htm
Establish coursework guidelines for alternate route preparation programs.
The state should articulate guidelines regarding the nature and amount of coursework required of candidates. Requirements should be manageable given the time constraints of a novice teacher 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.
Strengthen the induction experience for new teachers.
Although New Hampshire requires mentoring support for candidates in Alternative 4 and Alternative 5, Alternative 3A and Alternative 3B candidates should also receive this support. Furthermore, the state should extend its induction supports to ensure that new teachers will receive the support they need to facilitate their success in the classroom. Such supports should include: 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.
Require opportunities for candidates to practice tech.
In addition to intensive induction support, New Hampshire should provide its candidates with a practice teaching opportunity prior to their placement in the classroom.
New Hampshire recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.
5B: Preparation for the Classroom
Alternate route programs must provide practical, meaningful preparation that is sensitive to a new teacher's workload and stress level. Too many states have policies requiring alternate route programs to "backload" large amounts of traditional education coursework, thereby preventing the emergence of real alternatives to traditional preparation. This issue is especially important given the large proportion of alternate route teachers who complete this coursework while teaching. Alternate route teachers often have to deal with the stresses of beginning to teach while also completing required coursework in the evenings and on weekends. States need to be careful to require participants only to meet standards or complete coursework that is practical and immediately helpful to a new teacher. That is, while advanced pedagogy coursework may be meaningful for veteran teachers, alternate route coursework should build on more fundamental teaching competencies such as classroom management techniques, reading instruction, or curriculum delivery.
Most new teachers—regardless of their preparation—find themselves overwhelmed by taking on their own classrooms. This is especially true for alternate route teachers, who may have had considerably less classroom exposure or pedagogy training than traditionally prepared teachers. States must ensure that alternate route programs do not leave new teachers to "sink or swim" on their own when they begin teaching. It is critical that all alternate route programs provide at least a brief student teaching or other supervised practice experience for candidates before they enter the classroom, as well as ongoing induction support during those first critical months as a new teacher.