Texas Teachers Commentary

New Rule Changes and Virtual Job Fair


Important TEA Changes to Certification

We know many of our district partners are curious regarding the scope and impact of TEA’s pending changes to certification regulations. Rest assured Texas Teachers is prepared to incorporate these changes into our program, and we will continue to provide the quality and number of teachers necessary for your classrooms.

Below is a partial summary of pending changes:

Special Education:

  • TEA has amended Texas Administrative Code in regards to Special Education assignments.  Moving forward, any new hires for Special Education that are coded as teacher of record, and whose students’ IEPs include TEKS, must have passed both the Special Education exam, and an additional exam that covers the content and grade levels they are teaching.
  • For Special Education assignments not coded as Teacher of Record, teacher candidates can be issued certificates in just Special Education, having passed only the 161 Special Education EC-12 exam.

Starting September 1, 2017:

If a candidate is both hired and recommended for a certificate before September 1, 2017, they will not be affected by the points below, unless they later require an additional Probationary/Intern Certificate.  We will work with you to ensure all eligible Texas Teachers candidates hired this summer are recommended for their certificate before this critical deadline.  Starting September 1, 2017:

  • First year “Probationary Certificates” will no longer be issued. They will be replaced by “Intern Certificates.”  Second and third year certificates will still be named Probationary Certificates (commonly referred to as Probationary Extensions).
  • A candidate may still only be issued a maximum of 3 certificates, regardless of the combination of certificate types.
  • To qualify for an Intern Certificate, a candidate must have passed the appropriate state content exam (see below regarding the 24/12 rule).
  • Candidates will no longer be eligible for hire based on 24/12 hours within college transcripts. All candidates must instead pass their appropriate state content exam to demonstrate Subject Matter Knowledge.
  • Candidates who are issued Intern Certificates must pass their PPR exam before their certificate expires.  Failing to do so will prevent them from receiving either a Probationary Certificate (Extension) or Standard Certificate.
  • Per above point, if a candidate has already taught under a first or second Probationary Certificate, but has not yet passed the PPR exam, they may switch to an Intern Certificate.  This means current teachers are not required to pass the PPR exam by 9/1/17 to remain in the classroom, although we encourage them to pass this exam as soon as possible!
  • All supplemental certification exams must be passed prior to being included on a certificate. This affects Bilingual and ESL teaching positions.  In the past, at district discretion a candidate could be placed on a Bilingual or ESL certificate if they had only passed the appropriate state content exam for the core subject(s), and then pass the any required supplemental exams during while teaching.  They must now have all exams passed to for Bilingual or ESL.  This change will impact the following exams:
    • 154 ESL Supplemental
    • 164 Bilingual Supplemental
    • 190 BTLPT


Testing Accountability and Preparation

TEA has increased testing accountability systems for all EPPs, and programs will be more restrictive in the number of test attempts we can allow our candidates. Effective immediately, candidates who fail a content exam twice will need to be reviewed and assessed before we approve a third attempt or any attempts thereafter. Granting these approvals will be done on a case-by-case basis.

In response, we are including a high degree of test preparation curriculum in our updated training (see Texas Teachers Curriculum update), and we will provide increasing support to ensure our candidates are successful in passing their exams.

Texas Teachers Virtual Job Fair

Texas Teachers is excited to host our first Virtual Job Fair this March 29th! The job fair will include an online, cloud-based platform that makes it convenient for teacher candidates and recruiters to participate from anywhere. Texas Teachers’ candidates will participate in 1-on-1 text-based chats with district HR representatives from around the state using their desktop, phone, or tablet. Outlined are some of the highlights below:

  • No Geographic Barrier – Since participants can log-in to the fair from anywhere, there is no travel or time-off required.  A candidate’s willingness to relocate will be notated, expanding districts’ reach to a larger candidate pool than if there is a requirement to physically attend an event.  This event will be ideal for all districts but especially effective for rural districts to reach a larger candidate pool.
  • No Financial Investment – The Virtual Job Fair is free for Texas Teachers’ candidates and all district Human Resource representatives – no registration fee, booth rental fee, or travel expenses required.
  • Consistent District Message – Each district will customize their virtual booth to provide all pertinent information on working in that district. The candidate will be able to view each booth to see which districts align with their needs and strengths.
  • Expedited Hiring Process – All chats can be saved or sent via email to keep on file. Recruiters can share candidate details and discussions amongst their peers to set-up in person or video-based interviews immediately following the initial chat.

The first virtual job fair will be held on March 29th from 9:00AM – 1:00PM CST. Registration is required for both school districts and candidates.  For more information please contact Ariel@texasteachers.org or call 877-342-1202.

 

Preparing for the Upcoming Hiring Season – New Candidate Reporting

Your important roles are challenging and multi-faceted.  So, when it comes to recruiting and hiring great teachers for your students, we want to help in every way possible.  Your survey feedback consistently expressed the need for more information regarding the status of candidates in our program.

Soon, we will be able to provide you with customized reports of our candidates that have declared employment with your district.  With these reports, we will work together to verify the Texas Teachers you hire are ready to enter the classroom in August.  You will also be able to track the progress of your current Texas Teachers interns, ensuring they are on track to receive their Standard certificates at the end of the year.

We will notify you as soon as these reports are live, and are excited to share this information more effectively than ever before.


Future Webinar Topics

This past month, we held webinars led by our Director of Curriculum Ann Kucera modeling the exciting new changes. In case you missed it, click here to watch a replay!

Based on feedback from previous webinar participants, we are planning to host two webinars in the coming months

  • Overview of the Texas Teachers certification program – Many of you have expressed interest, so as to better explain the process to potential teacher candidates.
  • Overview of the Texas Teachers certification recommendation process – We want to share the steps and paperwork required for our candidates to receive a valid certificate. Our goal is to make the summer hiring season as smooth as possible.

We are excited to share more on these future topics, and you will receive webinar invitations once they have been scheduled.

If you missed our last newsletter edition, click here!

TEA Rule Changes Explained; Important Updates to the Texas Teachers Program


Texas Teachers Curriculum – What’s NEW!!

In January, we will launch the all-new Texas Teachers curriculum designed to create a greater engagement with our prospective teachers to ensure they are ready to teach and succeed! Specific changes include:

  • New, highly interactive engaging curriculum; candidates are asked to respond to questions and scenarios on-screen throughout coursework, with “hear from the expert” assistance following the candidate’s response
  • Now with more than 350 hours of pedagogy, field based experiences, key assessments, content methodology and projects, and resources to prepare the candidate for content and certification examinations
  • More specialized coursework includes opportunities for candidates to engage in courses that are focused on their individual teaching assignment
  • New elective curriculum includes more than 35 pedagogy titles from which to choose in order to provide additional help to our teachers
  • Candidates are assigned students in two ‘mock’ classrooms, each reflective of the overall demographics of the state
  • Individual students from the ‘mock’ classroom are woven throughout the coursework to focus the candidate’s attention on the needs of all students in teaching decisions
  • Classroom management courses include a decision-making course using students from the mock classroom
  • More than 35 hours of videography from actual classrooms in Texas, including interviews with principals and students
  • Curriculum assesses knowledge through objective assessments, and the application skills through projects
  • All coursework is aligned to Texas Educator Standards

These courses reflect the “latest and best practices” in educator preparation to ensure our teachers have all the tools they need to be the absolute best. Check out our curriculum tour video!


Important TEA Changes to Certification

We know many of our district partners are curious regarding the scope and impact of TEA’s pending changes to certification regulations, which are likely to be adopted at the December SBEC meeting. Rest assured Texas Teachers is prepared to incorporate these changes into our program, and we will continue to provide the quality and number of teachers necessary for your classrooms.

For more information regarding these changes, please visit our new FAQ page, which we will continue to update in coming months. Below is a partial summary of pending changes:

Starting December 27, 2016:

  • Candidates will now be required to complete 150 hours of pre-service training in addition to 30 hours of field based experiences
  • Candidates will no longer receive credit for field based experiences completed prior to enrollment in an EPP

Starting September 1, 2017:

  • 1st year “probationary certificates” will no longer be issued. They will be replaced by “intern certificates”
  • Candidates will no longer be eligible for hire based on 24/12 hours within college transcripts. All candidates must instead pass their specific subject exam to demonstrate Subject Area Knowledge
  • All supplemental certification exams must be passed prior to being included on a certificate. This includes Bilingual and ESL

TEA has increased accountability systems for all EPPs, and programs will be more restrictive in the number of test attempts we can allow our candidates. In response, we are including a high degree of test preparation curriculum in our updated training, and we will provide increasing support to ensure our candidates are successful in passing their exams.

 

Texas Teachers – A Tradition of Excellence as We Look Forward

Over nearly 12 years, Texas Teachers has certified over 42,000 teachers for Texas schools. We had a record-setting 2015-16 year, certifying over 6000 first year teachers in 75 certification areas! And for 2016-17 we are on pace to have 7000 new teachers entering the classroom, with over 5800 hired just through October.

Texas Teachers also strives to certify teachers across a wide range of important certification areas. Here are some highlights regarding our efforts to meet your needs in recent years:

New Teachers Certified Since January 2014

  • 1297 Secondary Mathematics
  • 1203 Secondary Science
  • 2735 Special Education
  • 2291 ESL
  • 880 Bilingual
  • 484 LOTE
  • 1066 CTE
  • 130 Trade & Industry
  • Our first 5 ROTC teachers for 16-17!

 

The Research

We remain committed to providing Texas districts an effective pool of diverse candidates. See the 2 studies below, proving we’re up to task!

  1. Student Achievement: In 2012, a University of Texas team conducted an independent study of 100 teacher preparation programs in Texas to determine differences in student achievement from teachers of different certification providers. A+ Texas Teachers had the most teachers in their analysis. With almost 300,000 student math scores and 210,000 student reading scores, researchers found no statistical difference in student achievement between our teachers and teachers from other routes, including four-year university programs.
  2. Diversity: TFA compared Title II data from over 26,000 programs across the U.S. and found that they have the highest percentage of non-white teachers and Texas Teachers is number 2 – 46% of our teachers are non-white. We recruit locally to ensure our candidates match the demographics of your classrooms.

Texas Teachers and Jia Jia Partner In Recruiting International Candidates to Address Teacher Shortages

Texas Teachers has partnered with Jia Jia in an effort to recruit Chinese candidates with a strong educational background in teacher shortage areas.  Jia Jia, based out of Frisco, TX, has both cultural ties and professional experience with a solid network of top Chinese universities that are producing quality graduates in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).  Texas school districts struggle to find qualified teachers for these subjects, paying teacher stipends that place starting salaries well over $50,000, while the TEA offers student loan forgiveness programs as incentive.

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