The Education Innovator #12
Volume II
Archived Information

The Education Innovator
 March 29, 2004 • Number 12
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What's inside...
Chittenden Central Supervisory Union Teacher Apprenticeship Program
What's New
The Washington Scholarship Fund has been selected to administer the D.C. Choice Incentive Program; the Institute of Education Sciences will be responsible for the evaluation of the D.C. Choice Incentive Program; $37.3 million is awarded under OII's Credit Enhancement for Charter School Facilities Grant Program; a new salary system in Denver will pay teachers more for improving student achievement; and New Leaders for New Schools is accepting applications for its Principal Residency Programs.
Innovations in the News
Twenty groups responded to Buffalo's call for charter schools; plus information on arts education, parental involvement; and economics education.

"The Apprentice" in Vermont: TAP Program Seeks Teaching Apprentices
Vermont poet Robert Frost wrote of "the road less taken" in life. One less-taken road in education is the alternative route to teacher certification. Set against a backdrop of swinging birches, green mountains, and gray stone walls, Essex Junction and Westford School Districts offer an alternative certification program for those who wish to bring expertise from private sector or community work to the public school classroom.

Faced with the dilemmas common to many rural schools--low numbers of applicants for teaching positions, particularly for high-need subjects, such as math, science, foreign languages, and special education; wanting to meet the highly qualified teacher requirements of No Child Left Behind ; and fast-approaching faculty retirements--the school districts are looking to recruit people who have a variety of strong life experiences in content areas.

To stimulate this search, the Chittenden Central Supervisory Union, which serves Essex Junction and Westford School Districts, Essex High School, Essex Center for Technology, and the Essex Junction Recreation and Parks Department, created the Teacher Apprenticeship Program (TAP). This program aligns with Vermont's alternative licensing initiative, License by Evaluation, called "Peer Review."

The program is really the intersection of two needs: the school district's need to have good teachers and the residents' need for new employment. The community was hit with three large lay-offs from IBM. The lay-offs left several highly qualified engineers seeking employment, and the TAP program provided them with a quick, but intense, transition to the classroom.

The program lasts only one semester (six months), but in that time, participants are expected to complete an apprenticeship--the traditional educational approach to learning a trade by observing masters in the field. However, TAP goes beyond the traditional to incorporate business aspects of management, problem solving, and decision making. Other elements of this "embedded professional development system" are

  • A supervised, intensive student teaching internship;
  • Individualized, ongoing portfolio development with consultation;
  • Seminars and training on various aspects of school management, such as legal issues, assessment, and child psychology;
  • Training in teaching methodologies; and
  • Ongoing preparation and support for Peer Review licensing.
TAP candidates consider the opportunity an investment in their personal development and in the community's future. TAP participants pay $4,000, plus costs associated with licensure, to become apprentices. Part of this fee goes to pay the mentor teacher who works with the apprentice. To enter the program, candidates must have a bachelor's degree with a concentration in the area they want to teach; strong content expertise and professional experience; professional and/or life experience related to young people; and a commitment to completing the program. In addition, TAP candidates are expected to take the Praxis exam(s) within 90 days of acceptance into the program.

The area served by the Chittenden Central Supervisory Union has a strong track record in education. There has been a steady rise in test scores at Westford Elementary School, for example. In 1998, only 54 percent of fourth graders met or exceeded state standards on the math assessment, but in 2002 the percentage had risen to 88. Seventy-six percent of the students who attend Essex High School go on to college. Seven major colleges and universities are within 80 miles of the community, including Dartmouth, Middlebury, and the University of Vermont.

The program has received praise from the local teacher's union.

Although OII does not fund the TAP program, the office supports alternative routes to certification through its Transition to Teaching and Troops-to-Teachers programs.


Note: The feature describes one alternative certification program, which may or may not apply to local conditions in other school districts. The description is not an endorsement.


What's New
D.C. Choice Award
The U.S. Department of Education, in conjunction with the government of the District of Columbia, has selected the Washington Scholarship Fund to administer the D.C. Choice Incentive Program, a five-year demonstration initiative (funded at $14 million this year) to provide opportunity scholarships to low-income students in D.C. to attend private schools. (March 24)

Department of Education Business Opportunities
The U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences will be responsible for the evaluation of the effectiveness of the D.C. Choice Incentive Program. A request for proposals has been announced. (March 16)

Credit Enhancement for Charter School Facilities Grant Program Award
The U. S. Department of Education has awarded $37.3 million under OII's Credit Enhancement for Charter School Facilities Grant Program. (March 23)

Joint Task Force on Teacher Compensation
Members of the Denver Classroom Teachers Association ratified a new salary system that will pay teachers more for improving student achievement, earning successful professional evaluations, working in the most academically challenged schools, and advancing their skills and knowledge. (March 19)

New Leaders for New Schools
New Leaders for New Schools is accepting applications for its Principal Residency Programs in Washington, DC, Chicago, New York City, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Memphis. The deadline is April 1. (March 25)


Innovations in the News

Charter Schools
Last month, Buffalo school officials invited proposals for charter schools. Twenty groups responded. [More-Buffalo News](March 23)

Arts Education
The movement to mesh music, dance, drama, and drawing with reading, writing, and arithmetic is gaining momentum in elementary schools in Utah and across the nation. [More-Miami Herald] (March 22)

Parental Involvement
Landis Intermediate School (NJ) organized a Super Parent Saturday with free workshops to show parents how their involvement can have an impact on their children's academic performance. Workshop topics included Internet safety, college planning, and at-home reading. [More-The Daily Journal] (March 2)

Forest Park Middle School (GA)--the school with the highest percentage of Title I students in its county--has sponsored computer instruction for students and their parents. The class, held two nights a week for 10 weeks, has the added bonus of being an effective way for parents and the school to communicate with each other [More-Atlanta Journal-Constitution] (March 17)

Parents in the Novi Community School District (MI) help teach hands-on science. This helps them connect with their children and understand the curriculum. [More-Detroit News] (March 22)

Economics Education
A program sponsored by the National Endowment for Financial Education is helping students learn personal financial management in Livonia, Michigan, as well as in schools across the country. [More-Detroit News] (March 21)

A retired South Florida entrepreneur is working to reform how financial literacy is taught in schools. He has established the nonprofit Financial Literacy for Youth Foundation and launched [More-LA Times] (March 17)

Australia's Assistant Treasurer has launched a new task force to develop that country's first national strategy for financial literacy, aimed at teaching students about financial planning and credit. [More-ABC Online] (Feb. 23)


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Last Modified: 06/28/2011