SF district to provide pathway to teaching credentials
Jill Tucker | December 19, 2016 | SFGate
Hoping to make it easier, faster and cheaper to become a teacher, the San Francisco school district is going into the teacher-credentialing business, offering courses and training typically administered on a college campus.
Only a handful of districts across the state have internal credentialing programs, in which staff do the teaching instead of college professors. Los Angeles and Mount Diablo, in Contra Costa County, are among the few. Such programs require state authorization from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.
In San Francisco, the goal is to recruit, train, credential and hire teachers, district officials said, in a bid to alleviate an ongoing teacher shortage and ensure that those hired are specifically prepared to teach in city schools.
“We’re going to tailor that preparation so that these folks are as prepared as possible for these (job) opportunities,” said Chris Canelake, the district’s executive director of professional learning and leadership.
“Since we have connections with these folks, we’re able to recruit them directly and offer them an alternative that might for many people get them past some of the barriers they might find when they’re trying to get their teaching credential,” he said. “We’re also recruiting people who really reflect the community.”
District officials hope about 50 to 75 new teachers will go through the Pathway to Teaching program in the next year.
“We need the SFUSD Pathway as another option for aspiring teachers to get their credential,” said Brent Stephens, the district’s chief academic officer. “We’ve heard a lot of interest from individuals who are already working in our school communities as a paraprofessional, substitute teacher or after-school service provider.”
This first year, the district will train elementary multiple-subject teachers, elementary Spanish bilingual teachers and K-12 special education teachers. Other subject areas and grade levels may be added in the future.
Participants will pay $5,000 in tuition to the district but will earn a full salary as an intern teacher during training. Previously, all intern teachers were required to be enrolled in a university credentialing program.
A six-week summer training, however, will be unpaid.
For those who go through the program, the payoff is at the end of the school year, officials said, when “those who demonstrate success in the classroom will be recommended for their preliminary teaching credential, offered a job in (the district) and two years of formal induction coaching and support.”