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.
South Dakota does not ensure that its alternate route candidates will receive streamlined preparation that meets the immediate needs of new teachers.
The Alternate Route to Teacher Certification requires six credits of coursework in pedagogy, South Dakota Indian Studies and Human Relations.
Teach For America (TFA) candidates attend a five-week summer training institute that includes the fundamentals of teaching, practice instructional techniques, classroom management and planning. Candidates must also complete six semester hours of education coursework in pedagogy and related fields of the education school curriculum. TFA candidates must also complete three hours of Indian Studies and three hours of Human Relations training.
State guidelines do not require candidates to have a practice-teaching experience, although TFA does require candidates to complete a field experience. The state does offer a mentor to all alternate route candidates.
The Alternate Route to Teacher Certification and Teach For America programs require two years of teaching before certification can be earned.
South Dakota Administrative Rule 24:15:04:02
Ensure that coursework is relevant to the immediate needs of new teachers.
While South Dakota is commended for the nature and amount of coursework in place for TFA candidates, the requirements of the Alternate Route to Teacher Certification may be too few to adequately prepare 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.
South Dakota should provide more detailed guidelines to ensure that new teachers will receive the support they need to facilitate their success in the classroom. Effective induction 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.
South Dakota recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.