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.
New legislation recently passed in Nevada changes the requirements for the state's alternate route. The Nevada Commission on Professional Standards is charged with setting specific guidelines for alternate route programs by December 31, 2011.
New regulations will require providers to "significantly limit the amount of coursework required." The state also indicates that a waiver should be granted for coursework to candidates who achieve a certain score on a test.
The Commission on Professional Standards will also have to require providers to offer supervised, school-based experiences and ongoing support for candidates, such as mentoring or coaching.
The state asserts that programs should be completed in two or fewer years and that candidates will be eligible for standard certification upon completion.
Nevada Assembly Bill 230
Establish coursework guidelines for alternate route preparation programs.
Nevada is commended for its intention to limit the amount of coursework alternate route candidates will be required to take. As it moves forward, Nevada should articulate guidelines regarding the nature and amount of coursework required of candidates. 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.
While Nevada is commended for requiring programs to provide coaching and mentoring support, the state should offer detailed mentoring 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 relief time to allow new teachers to observe experienced teachers during each school day.
Nevada recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.