Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) officials provided an update on teacher certification to teachers and school administrators during a special KDE Webcast on July 11.
Kentucky currently has nine statutory alternative routes to teacher certification that can be found in KRS 161.048. Option 9, the newest alternative route to certification created by the Kentucky General Assembly during its 2022 regular session with the passage of House Bill 277, allows a person to complete a bachelor’s degree and initial teacher certification in three years while working in a non-teaching position in a school district.
The expedited route to certification requires a college or university to partner with a district or group of districts to develop a program that includes a paraprofessional/residency component and utilizes experienced teachers to provide coaching and mentoring.
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 route. To serve as a teacher, an individual must possess a teaching certificate. The Option 9 alternative route only provides for initial certification once the candidate completes the bachelor’s degree and certification assessments.
Crystal Hord, branch manager in KDE’s Office of Educator Licensure and Effectiveness, also provided updates on other options that were changed by recent legislation.
Senate Bill 49 (2023) extended the temporary provisional certification period for the Option 6 and Option 7 programs. Option 6 is the university-based alternative route and Option 7 is the institute alternative route.
The recent legislative changes allow up to four renewals of the temporary provisional certificate for most programs, not including special education or early childhood education. Federal requirements limit alternative certification for special education teachers to three years, so these candidates are still limited to two renewals of the temporary provisional certificate.
Renewal of the temporary provisional certificate requires that a candidate maintain employment concurrent with enrollment in the Option 6 or Option 7 program.
The Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board (EPSB) will have a special virtual meeting on July 21 to resolve any certification issues prior to the upcoming school year. Waivers should be submitted to Todd Davis by July 13.
Interstate Teacher Mobility Compact
Kentucky is part of the Interstate Teacher Mobility Compact, which just became official with a 10th state agreeing to become part of the group.
The compact allows teachers to use an eligible license held in a compact member state to be granted an equivalent license in another compact member state. To be eligible, a license must be unencumbered and require a bachelor’s degree and completion of a state-approved program for teacher licensure.
Teachers holding a compact-eligible license can apply for licensure in another member state and receive the closest equivalent license without taking state-specific exams or completing additional coursework. The compact also creates special carve outs for eligible military spouses and career and technical education teachers.
The Kentucky General Assembly approved Kentucky’s participation in the compact with the passage of House Bill 319 (2023).
Byron Darnall, KDE associate commissioner in the Office of Educator Licensure and Effectiveness, said the compact will take some time to implement.
“It’s certainly not going to resolve perhaps all of the barriers that we see when individuals come from other states, but it is certainly intended to improve that process,” said Darnall.
The Interstate Teacher Mobility Compact is an initiative founded by The Council of State Governments, the Department of Defense and the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification. Now that a 10th state has adopted the compact, the organizers will form a commission with members from each state that will meet later in the year to figure out the rules and how the compact will be implemented.
The other nine states to adopt the compact are Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Kansas, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon and Utah.
None of Kentucky’s neighboring states have adopted the compact, although legislation is pending in Ohio’s state legislature. Legislation is also pending in California, Delaware, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania