Texas teacher shortage tackled by Rice certification plan

Texas’ ongoing shortage of teachers has led Rice University’s Susanne M. Glasscock School of Continuing Studies to launch a program that will allow students to work as paid interns teaching classes while they earn their state certification.

The Rice Alternative Teacher Certification program was developed as an intensive, field-based residency program to ensure graduates have the tools, knowledge and support needed to succeed. The model motivated The Powell Foundation to provide a $250,000 grant to underwrite its development and launch.

The program is designed to help address teacher turnover in Texas, which has become a serious problem for the state’s educators. Data from the past 10 years shows for-profit alternative certification programs lose half of their teachers within three years.

“Annual teacher turnover continues to affect our state and, particularly, our city’s urban schools,” said Jennifer Gigliotti, senior associate dean of the Glasscock School. “Texas produces a high number of teachers, but many simply are not equipped for the challenges of classroom teaching. As such, we have to meet the immediate need of qualified teachers, but also that of quality teachers who will make a careerlong impact in our public schools. Our accelerated Alternative Teacher Certification provides the rigor and extensive field support new teachers need to be successful and effective on day one.”

The new certification program gives students an opportunity to meet Texas Education Agency requirements while completing a paid teaching internship supervised by Rice faculty and field supervisors. This residency support sets the Rice program apart. Successful candidates will be certified to teach in one year and will continue receiving support through their second year as well.

“In a time of chronic teacher storage in Houston and historically low rates of teacher retention statewide, supporting the launch of the Rice Alternative Teacher Certification program offers a compelling option for high-quality candidates to be equipped with a strong, accelerated pathway into the teaching profession for urban schools,” said Nicole Moore-Kriel, program officer at The Powell Foundation. “We hope the program will serve as an exemplar in alternative teacher certification for Houston and the state.”

Rice has more than 50 years of experience providing teacher certification, education graduate degree and teacher professional development programs in both early childhood and secondary education. The Glasscock School also offers a standard teacher certification program, a principal certification program and a Master of Arts in Teaching degree.

The Alternative Teacher Certification program is now accepting applications, with deadlines in January, March and October corresponding with various starting dates. Interested candidates are encouraged to attend an online information session.

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