Utah Approves Expansion of Teacher Certification Program

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Program targets career changers to transition into teaching

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PCE knows that great education starts with great teachers. With Utah facing a severe teacher shortage, we wanted to make sure there were more routes to certification. We were very impressed with the quality of teachers this alternative certification route brings into the classroom and set our sights on facilitating an expansion of the entire ABCTE program

The Utah State Board of Education approved the expansion of a state-approved teacher certification program. The program, offered by the non-profit group the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE), was approved in Utah in 2004 as a pilot program for secondary mathematics. Based upon the results of the pilot, all certifications offered by ABCTE will now be accepted.

“The presentation by Utah State Office of Education made it clear that ABCTE is a very rigorous program and the teachers our schools are hiring from this program are high quality. We want to make sure our school districts have access to the best talent in the state and this program will help us accomplish that,” said Mark Cluff, Vice Chairman, Utah State School Board. State School Superintendent Patti Harrington added; “A careful review of the ABCTE process convinced the Utah State Board of Education of the appropriateness of ABCTE as an acceptable alternative route to initial Utah licensure.”

ABCTE teamed up with a strong grassroots education innovation group, Parents for Choice in Education, to work to expand the program in Utah. "PCE knows that great education starts with great teachers. With Utah facing a severe teacher shortage, we wanted to make sure there were more routes to certification. We were very impressed with the quality of teachers this alternative certification route brings into the classroom and set our sights on facilitating an expansion of the entire ABCTE program," said Robyn Bagley, Board Chairman for PCE.

In addition to the current math certification, ABCTE will offer Passport to Teaching certification in elementary education, special education, English, general science, biology, physics, chemistry and history. The program is designed specifically to recruit, prepare and certify mid-career professionals who want to transition into teaching.

“After seeing the quality of the teachers and the program, Utah has taken a huge step forward in recruiting more talented teachers,” said ABCTE President Dave Saba. “This program is a great option because it attracts talented professionals who wouldn’t otherwise enter teaching through a traditional route.” Representative Greg Hughes, House Education Committee Chair concurred; “The House Education Committee has become critically aware of the severe teacher shortage facing Utah’s schools. We applaud this expansion of the ABCTE program as a great step in the right direction to ensure every student in Utah has a great teacher.”

ABCTE is planning a tour of free teacher recruitment events in Utah this fall. School districts are invited to attend to meet prospective teachers for their schools and learn more about how the Passport to Teaching program works. People interested in becoming teachers can attend to learn more. Details on the events will be available soon. For more information, visit http://www.abcte.org/events .

Nationwide, nearly 1,000 people have completed certification with Passport to Teaching and 2,250 are currently enrolled. Enrolled candidates must demonstrate mastery on subject area and teaching knowledge examinations. Individuals with bachelor’s degrees can prepare for certification on their own time and at their own pace, using preparation materials available from a variety of sources.

For more information, visit http://www.abcte.org or call 1-877-669-2228.

The American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence is a non-profit organization, dedicated to recruiting, certifying and supporting excellent teachers essential for student success. ABCTE offers the Passport to Teaching program – an innovative alternative route to teacher certification for highly knowledgeable individuals who want to change careers and become teachers. ABCTE is currently developing Distinguished Teacher, an advanced credential for teachers who advance student learning. For more information about ABCTE, please visit http://www.abcte.org .

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Amber Canidy
ABCTE
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