To assist in overcoming an anticipated shortage of 10,000 teachers over the next five years, this project will prepare 1,675 career changers to teach in high demand disciplines in hard-to-staff schools. The effort to improve recruitment, hiring, and retention of alternative certification candidates unites a new First Class Alternative Certification Program with a revamped program for traditionally certified teachers known as GOLDEN Teachers Induction and Mentoring Program. Project activities include streamlining the Human Resources intake process through targeted marketing, an online application, a web-based tracking system, and greater consistency in a three-tier interview protocol. Selected candidates enroll in a certification sequence with one of 15 partnering universities and nonprofit organizations. Induction meets the needs of career changers by emphasizing community and culture, research-based practices, and effective classroom management and by building school-based support through mentors, coaches, and principals all of whom undergo specialized training.
In conjunction with Northern Illinois University and Chicago Public Schools, this alternative teacher certification project recruits, trains, and certifies 225-275 elementary and secondary teaching candidates who meet state standards for highly qualified English as a Second Language (ESL) and bilingual teachers. Four other high-need school districts were identified and added in fiscal year 2006 for recruitment and placement of Bilingual Transition to Teaching candidates. The project addresses the need to employ and maintain teachers who can serve a rapidly growing student population with limited English proficiency in a large industrial school district and in neighboring high-need school districts. Recruits include college graduates with non-education degrees, paraprofessionals who may be working in schools, and professionals or degreed individuals working outside of the education field. The program assists Illinois universities in developing alternative pathways and enhancements to encourage those who wish to change careers to become highly qualified ESL or bilingual teachers.