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.
Tennessee does not ensure that its alternate route candidates will receive streamlined preparation that meets the immediate needs of new teachers.
Transitional licensure programs must provide new teachers preparation in two phases, an orientation component and a professional development component.
Tennessee provides no specific guidelines about the nature or quantity of coursework for its alternate route during the professional development phase. 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.
During the induction and mentoring phase, new teachers are assigned one or more mentors. The mentor is required to provide field-based professional development of at least 100 hours in the first year and at least 50 hours during each subsequent year.
Candidates are eligible for standard licensure at one year on a transitional license. The license may be renewed up to three years.
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 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.
While Tennessee is commended for requiring all new teachers to work with a mentor, there are insufficient guidelines indicating 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.
Tennessee contended that institutions of higher education's transitional licensure programs do have credit limits. The state explains that candidates complete no more than 18 hours of coursework to meet the professional education core competencies and that six additional credits may be used as needed for mentoring and additional support. Candidates pursuing licensure in early childhood, elementary, middle and special education may be required to take an additional six hours.
NCTQ was unable to locate policy that outlines the information included in the state response. The citation identified by the state does not address credit limits but reads as follows: "Programs offered by Tennessee IHEs in partnership with Tennessee LEAs as approved through the previously SBE adopted Alternative Preparation for Licensure Policy (November 3, 2006) and the DOE Teach Tennessee program may continue program implementation as previously approved. The previously approved programs will recommend program candidates for the Transitional License beginning with the effective date this policy."