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.
Wyoming could do more to provide an alternate route with streamlined preparation that meets the immediate needs of new teachers.
Candidates in the Northern Plains alternate route program must complete a total of 24 credit hours. Courses are offered one at a time, and each course is eight to twelve weeks in length. Courses are also offered during the summer following the first year so as not to overload new teachers during their first year. Coursework includes human development, psychology of learning, diversity, special needs, classroom discipline, curriculum design, pedagogy and assessment.
Candidates do not have the opportunity to practice teach, but they do participate in a year-long internship that includes mentoring from an on-site master teacher and a university supervisor who makes periodic visits. The program runs for two years, and candidates are eligible for full licensure upon completion.
Ensure that new teachers are not burdened by excessive requirements.
While Wyoming is commended for ensuring that new teachers are not required to take multiple courses simultaneously during the school year, the total amount of coursework required is rather high, and not all of it is geared to the immediate needs of new teachers. Coursework that provides the greatest benefit with the least burden to new teachers includes 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.
Wyoming should provide more detailed induction 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 release time to allow new teachers to observe experienced teachers during each school day.
Wyoming recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.