The Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board (EPSB) approved two Option 9 programs at its Oct. 10 meeting.
Pursuant to 16 KAR 9:110E, Option 9 is a new alternative route to certification created during the 2022 regular session of the Kentucky General Assembly that allows a person to complete a bachelor’s degree and initial teacher certification in a three-year period while working in a non-teaching position in a school district. The route requires a district or group of districts to partner with a college or university to develop a program and receive EPSB approval.
Both Whitley County and Lincoln County Schools have separately partnered with the University of the Cumberlands to develop an Option 9 program. Under the program, the districts must:
- Include a paid residency or paraprofessional component that employs the person within the participating district to gain work experience;
- Use experienced teachers employed by the district to provide coaching and mentorship;
- Outline parameters of acceptance; 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 number of underrepresented populations among the district’s workforce, or focusing on increasing the number of teachers with certification areas that are in high demand.
Additionally, the partnering district will assist the candidate 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.
Both Lincoln County and Whitley County’s program proposals are similar in nature other than their parameters for acceptance. In Lincoln County, only instructional assistants who show promise as classroom teachers and are selected by the district may apply. In Whitley County, only those who complete the Teaching and Learning pathway at Whitley County High School with a recommendation from the instructor and the principal may apply.
Though this route requires a candidate to be employed in a classified position while completing coursework, it does not allow the candidate to serve as a teacher while enrolled in the certification route. The Option 9 alternative route only provides for initial certification once the candidate completes their bachelor’s degree and certification assessments.
In accordance with statute, initial program approval by EPSB only lasts for three years. After that time, the program providers may apply for continuing approval and provide evidence of program quality.
All alternative routes to certification programs must have prior approval from EPSB before they can offer that route. There are currently nine alternative routes to certification approved by EPSB.
In other business, the board:
- Learned about the Praxis Performance Assessment for Teachers (PPAT) from Jason E. Dietrich, client relations director for Educational Testing Services. The PPAT assessment consists of four tasks that take place during the teacher candidate’s clinical experience and focus on assessing a student teacher’s instruction and the decision-making process;
- Approved suggested substitute language for 16 KAR 9:100, regarding the Option 7 alternative route to certification, and 16 KAR 9:110, regarding Option 9 expedited route to certification;
- Approved four option 1 alternative route to certification requests. Under option 1, EPSB may approve candidates with exceptional, non-teaching work experience in an academic content area they currently do not have a certification in;
- Approved waiver requests for eligibility requirements;
- Moved into closed sessions to conduct character and fitness reviews; and
- Approved consent agenda items:
- Kentucky Christian University’s initial undergraduate program for health education and physical education programs;
- Georgetown College’s Proficiency Plan; and
- Emergency Noncertified Personnel Program.