The Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board (EPSB) approved an emergency administrative regulation for a new expedited alternative teaching certification pathway, referred to as Option 9, at its July 11 special meeting.
House Bill (HB) 277, sponsored by Rep. Walker Thomas, amended KRS 161.048 to create Option 9, an expedited certification of a person to teach at any grade level through a cooperative program. This new route differs from the other eight options because it is available to candidates who have not obtained a bachelor’s degree and will not allow for temporary or provisional certification while completing the route.
Under Option 9, an EPSB-approved college or university may partner with a school district or educational cooperative to develop an expedited certification program that results in a bachelor’s degree and initial teaching certification within three school years. The program must:
- Include a residency or paraprofessional component which employs the person within the participating district to gain work experience;
- Use experienced teachers employed by the district to provide coaching and mentorship; and
- Be designed to meet the needs of the participating district and may include an emphasis on developing a teacher pipeline for the district’s students, improving the numbers of underrepresented populations among the district’s workforce or focusing on increasing the number of teachers with certification areas that are in high demand.
All candidates still will be required to meet the admission requirements for an undergraduate initial certification educator preparation program and be enrolled in the program throughout. The partnering district will assist the Option 9 individual in meeting the field experience hours during the first two years of employment. In the third year of employment, the candidate is required to be placed in a setting that is consistent with the certification sought.
Option 9 was developed in partnership between Kentucky legislators, Christian County Public Schools, Murray State University and the West Kentucky Educational Cooperative in order to address teacher shortages and improve Grow-Your-Own programs.
Beverly Fort, Christian County’s teacher recruiter, said Option 9 will help districts who have paraprofessionals that are ready to start working toward a teaching degree.
“We are aware of the teacher shortage that many districts have been and are facing, and we know that this is not just happening in Kentucky, but across the nation,” said Fort. “Creating a Grow-Your-Own teacher residency program will allow a teacher pipeline in our own communities with paraprofessionals who work in our schools and want and desire to become teachers.”
Fort believes that even though Option 9 will take diligent planning to execute, it still will provide a “rich and vigorous experience that will produce quality teachers.”
Because of the tight timeline between the legislation becoming effective on July 14 and the EPSB administrative regulation process, the EPSB approved an emergency regulation to enact administrative oversight of Option 9. This was accompanied by an identical ordinary administrative regulation that will replace the emergency regulation once completed.
The EPSB also approved an administrative regulation establishing standards and procedures for the Option 7 alternative route to certification.
This route allows a person in a field other than education to receive a one-year temporary provisional teaching certificate in elementary, middle or secondary school, grades 5-12 or grades P-12. Eligible candidates shall possess:
- A bachelor’s degree with a declared academic major in the area in which certification is sought or a graduate degree in a related field;
- A minimum grade point average of 2.75 or 3.0 for the last 30 hours of credit completed;
- A passing score on the Graduate Record Exam or the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators; and
- A passing score on the academic content assessment in the area in which certification is sought.
Through Option 7, candidates complete training through an approved institute that addresses multiple research-based teaching strategies and practices. There currently are two approved Option 7 programs: the Central Kentucky Educational Cooperative Teacher Certification Institute and the Nelson County Schools New Teacher Institute.
The temporary provisional certificate may be renewed up to two times.