LEWISTON, Idaho – The Lewis-Clark State College Teacher Education Division is starting a new program this fall, the first of its kind among Idaho post-secondary institutions, to help individuals already hired by school districts earn an elementary or secondary teaching certificate.
The program, called the Mastery-Based PACE Pathway to Alternative Certification, will help professionals who have work or other experience be able to obtain a teaching certificate. The program will help school districts that are in need of qualified teachers in certain subject areas, and will help provide a pathway to certification that will save the qualified professional and school districts both time and money.
“One of the unique things about the program is that it is a pathway to all endorsements the state of Idaho offers,” said Mark Haynal, chair of the LCSC Teacher Education Division. “Because it is a non-traditional certification program, we are not constrained to the endorsements LCSC is approved to offer through the traditional certification programs.”
The alternative licensure program at LCSC was approved by the Idaho State Board of Education earlier this summer after a state program approval team found insufficient evidence that some programs offered by a national online organization adequately prepared professionals to teach in Idaho.
LCSC’s program will provide more hands-on work as well as more flexibility. The certification also can be obtained quicker than through other non-traditional routes.
LCSC’s new program will combine a strong mentoring program within the school district as well as an online class component for qualified individuals. To qualify, an individual must either be employed or will be employed by a school district before they can apply to be in the program. This will help rural school districts who often have trouble finding qualified teachers for certain subjects. The individual also must already have a bachelor’s degree in any subject and take the Praxis Exam, either for elementary teachers or in one of the 37 content areas in which the endorsement is being sought for secondary teachers.
Once these requirements are met, the school district, LCSC, and the individual will develop an individual learning plan that will include a strong mentoring component by the school district.
LCSC will offer 10-week class modules that individuals can take at their leisure. Individuals must pass the five modules in order to be certified. They will have up to one calendar year to complete each module and they can be enrolled in up to five modules at one time. The five class modules include learner development and differences, creating an environment that fosters college and career ready skills, creating an environment for all learners, differentiation and application of content, and designing instruction and assessment literacy. The classes meet Idaho standards for Initial Certification of Professional School Personnel.
The pathway can be completed as quickly as one semester and must be completed within three years. Once an individual finishes the program, the individual will qualify for a five-year renewable certificate through the Idaho State Department of Education.
“This program provides a great opportunity for school districts to find someone who is interested and qualified become certified to teach,” said Royal Toy, LCSC’s PACE program director and an assistant professor in the Teacher Education Division. “We act as the bridge to help both.”
The costs of each module is $1,075, the same as a three-credit class at the college. Toy said the overall cost of around $5,500 is about the same as 15-credit internship but the module program removes other barriers because the individual will be working in their own classroom while participating in the program.
Toy said it’s critical for the school district to have at least one good mentor in place for the individual to talk with, learn from and receive support from. The mentors also will be in regular contact with LCSC about the individual’s progress
“It’s a unique situation for us to be able to certify a teacher in any area that the state allows,” Toy said. “We’re excited to roll this out and help the individual obtain their teaching certificate and help the school districts they work for.”
LCSC will offer two modules starting on Sept. 1. Different modules will be offered on the first day of each month.
For more information on the program, contact Toy at either [email protected] or 208-792-2730.