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U.Va. Responds to teaching shortage with range of programs

U.Va. maps alternative routes to teaching licensure for adults

By Ida Lee Wootten

The University has created new options for adults to help meet the critical need for public school teachers and administrators.

Officials in the School of Continuing and Professional Studies, in cooperation with the Curry School of Education and the Virginia School-University Partnership, have developed a series of courses that can lead to teacher licensure.

Designed for adults with undergraduate degrees who are interested in becoming teachers, the series provides the 15 credits of course work individuals need to obtain alternative licensure from the state. Courses are scheduled in the evenings and weekends to accommodate schedules of those who work.

Location, location

The Curry School surveyed its 2000 graduates. Some of the more interesting results:

Whošs teaching where

82 percent of surveyed planned to teach this year

Of those teaching, 54 percent planned to teach in Virginia

€ In-state, Northern Virginia and the Charlottesville-Albemarle areas were the most popular preferences for employment location

€ Out of state, the most popular destinations were the Northeast and overseas

Top factors in accepting a job offer

1. Location
2. Type of school
3. Specific position description
4. Type of community
5. Salary
6. Proximity to family
7. ŒSingles life in the areaš

Most desirable factors in a teaching position

1. Positive school environment, including mentoring, supportive colleagues and professional opportunities
2. Administrative support, including professional development, resources and some autonomy in curriculum development
3. Specific understanding of the position matching what they believe would be the most effective situation for their skills and philosophy
4. A community interested in, and supportive of, education

The course series meets the state's professional studies requirements for alternative licensure in secondary grades six to 12, adult education and some specific fields, including art, music and foreign languages. Applicants must also have completed an undergraduate major that meets content requirements for the proposed licensure area.

An unusual component of the program, called "Alternate Route to Teacher Licensure," is that superintendents in the Virginia School-University Partnership have agreed to give each person who completes the series at least one employment-screening interview. The partnership is a consortium of 20 Central Virginia school divisions and U.Va.

As they complete the sequence, course registrants will submit a resume and cover letter to J. Andrew Stamp, executive director of the partnership, indicating which grades and subjects they hope to teach. Stamp will forward letters to all consortium superintendents.

"The 'Alternative Route to Licensure' addresses the urgent need of finding and certifying good teacher candidates for vacancies in our school divisions," Stamp said.

"This marks the first time a course sequence leading to teacher licensure has been offered at the School of Continuing and Professional Studies regional centers throughout the state," said Nancy Iverson, director of the SCPS Center for State and National Programs for Educators in Lynchburg.

Adults can enroll in courses through SCPS centers in Charlottesville, Abingdon, Lynchburg, Roanoke, Richmond, Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia. Courses are also offered through the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center, a joint enterprise of U.Va., U.Va.'s College at Wise, Radford University, Virginia Tech, Old Dominion University and Emory and Henry College.

To facilitate the process of gaining alternative licensure, adults do not have to apply formally to U.Va. Instead, they simply enroll in the U.Va. courses. After completing the required credit hours and passing the Virginia licensure exams, they can apply for alternative licensure from the state.

Option Target Population Parameters Outcome
Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies (BIS) Nontraditional undergraduates completing individualized BA degree with a concentration in an academic area of study related to the desired endorsement Core courses across disciplines
5-6 courses in education based on the state's alternative licensure guidelines
BA degree
• Licensure & endorsement
University-School Partnership Career switchers seeking licensure/endorsement in secondary education 15 credits of course work
• School division employment in lieu of student teaching
• Curry School mentoring during first year of employment
Licensure & endorsement in a secondary field
Special Education Non-Degree Licensure Career switchers seeking licensure/endorsement in special education Focus on learning disabilities with emphasis in reading
• 24-30 credit hours
Licensure & endorsement in LD

"We are finding that the alternative-licensure course sequence appeals to those in private schools as well as preschool teachers, school volunteers and substitute teachers," said Roseann Parks, director of the SCPS center in Charlottesville.

U.Va. also offers a non-degree licensure course sequence in Northern Virginia and Roanoke that leads to endorsement in special education. Designed for working adults who want a career change, the courses focus on how to teach individuals with learning disabilities. Students need to complete between 24 and 30 hours of course credit to gain state licensure and endorsement in learning disabilities.

Undergraduate Degree Program for Adults

Adults who have not yet completed college degrees but who want to become teachers can pursue an option through U.Va.'s Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies program. While taking courses to complete a bacheloršs degree, they can choose a concentration in an area related to a desired teaching endorsement.

For information:

Alternative Course Licensure
Call 800-871-8265 or visit the Web site,

Undergraduate degree program
Contact the BIS office at 982-5274, e-mailing or visiting the Web site,

Advanced degree program
Call the Admissions office at 924-3334 or accessing
the Web site,

Designed for those who are at least six years past high school graduation and have earned at least 60 college credits that are transferable to U.Va., the BIS program allows students the option of developing individualized plans of study. Working with their adviser, students develop a plan of study that includes core courses across the disciplines and five or six education courses that satisfy the state Department of Education alternative-licensure guidelines.

"The program is ideal for teacher's aides who want to become teachers," said BIS director Donna Plasket.

Graduates will earn a BIS degree and can gain licensure and endorsement.

Advanced Degree Program for Adults

Since Virginia school districts are also experiencing a shortage of qualified candidates for top leadership positions, such as superintendents and principals, the Curry School and SCPS have started off-Grounds programs for working adults to earn doctorates in education. Programs are offered through the SCPS regional centers to groups of adults wishing to secure advanced degrees. To date approximately 50 adults are pursuing doctorates in Lynchburg and Hanover County.

To produce more teachers, Curry School ups enrollment and adds options for undergraduates

By Ida Lee Wootten

Starting this academic year, the Curry School of Education will increase the number of undergraduate students accepted into its teacher-preparation program. It also will make it easier for students in fields where there is critical need for teachers to enter the program later in their undergraduate careers. Full story.

$1.9 million gift will help teachers use technology

By Ida Lee Wootten

The Curry School's Center for Technology and Teacher Education has received $1.9 million to continue its efforts to infuse technology nationwide in programs that prepare teachers. Full story.



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