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.
Washington does not ensure that its alternate route candidates will receive streamlined preparation that meets the immediate needs of new teachers.
Washington provides no specific guidelines about the nature or quantity of coursework for any of its alternate routes. 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.
Candidates attend an intensive summer teaching academy followed by a full year in a mentored internship. A second summer teaching academy is offered if necessary.
The program can be completed and teachers earn full certification in one year or less.
RCW 28A.660.020 Sec 503
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 mentor experience for new teachers.
While Washington 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.
Washington asserted that programs must demonstrate "how they use both a Teacher Development Plan that assesses candidate prior knowledge and experience against the standards for certification and an Early Exit Option that will recommend candidates for certification when they have met the requirements of their development plan. This places great limitations on the ability of programs to add unnecessary coursework. Most of our programs have moved to 'package pricing,' thus further removing the incentive to require more coursework. As a result, there is no financial incentive related to time in program."