The State of Idaho has authorized districts and charters to hire/assign qualified candidates that do not hold a valid Idaho Credential to serve in an assignment that requires certification/endorsement while the candidate is enrolled and working towards the proper certification and endorsement through the Alternative Authorization - Content Specialist route. As stated in Idaho Administrative Code, 042.02, “The purpose of this alternative authorization is to offer an expedited route to certification for individuals who are highly and uniquely qualified in a subject area to teach in a district with an identified need for teachers in that area” (p. 27, IDAPA 08.02.02). The Idaho State University Master of Arts in Teaching has been set up to support districts and candidates that currently hold a baccalaureate degree, go through the process of moving toward full certification in the three years' time allowed.
“At the time of authorization a consortium comprised of a designee from the college/university to be attended...and a representative from the school district, and the candidate shall determine the preparation needed to meet the Idaho Standards for Initial Certification of Professional School Personnel” (042.b.i).
The following are steps described to provide clarity on the responsibilities of each party of the consortium and to emphasize the steps that should be followed to provide a quality experience for the teacher, as well as abide by the Idaho Administrative Code.
- The hiring district shall name a representative (typically Human Resource personnel or building principal) and request a Consortium Agreement with ISU’s representative, the Assistant Dean for Educator Preparation.
- The hiring district representative will provide the Content Specialist a letter stating their justification for hiring. This letter will be part of the Content Specialist’s Teacher Certification Portfolio. [For initial qualification, “the candidate must hold a baccalaureate degree or have completed all of the requirements of a baccalaureate degree except the student teaching or practicum portion”, (042.02.a.i) and “the hiring district shall ensure the candidate is qualified to teach in the area of identified need through demonstrated content knowledge. This may be accomplished through a combination of employment experience and education.”]
- The Content Specialist will provide a copy of their scores from the appropriate Praxis II in their endorsement area. These test scores will be part of the Content Specialist’s Teacher Certification Portfolio. [“Prior to entering the classroom, the candidate shall meet or exceed the state qualifying score on appropriate state-approved content, pedagogy, or performance assessment” (042.b.v.)]
- The hiring district will assign a mentor to the Content Specialist. The mentor will provide at least one (1) classroom observation per month, which will include feedback and reflection, while the Content Specialist is teaching under the alternative authorization as required by section (042.b.i). The teacher candidate will include these as part of the Teacher Certification Portfolio. The mentor teacher(s) should have grade-level experience or subject matter knowledge, and be highly skilled in classroom management. The mentor teacher(s) should have a minimum of three (3) years of teaching experience.
- Idaho State University will create a plan including annual progress goals (042.b.i) to complete certification within the 3-year time frame. This plan will be created through an evaluation of the candidate’s transcripted courses, state requirements and “credit equivalent knowledge, dispositions and relevant life/work experiences” (042.b.iv). The ISU advisor will review the plan each year the candidate is on an Alternative Route Content Specialist interim certificate to show whether the teacher is making satisfactory progress toward certification. “The candidate must complete a minimum of nine (9) semester credit hours or its equivalent of accelerated study in education pedagogy prior to the end of the first year of authorization. The number of required credits will be specified in the consortium developed plan” (042.b.i). This plan will be sent to both the teacher and the district representative.
The hiring district will apply for the Alternate Route - Content Specialist with the State Department of Education and provide a copy of the State Acknowledgement Letter to the Field Experiences Coordinator in the College of Education at Idaho State University (https://www.sde.idaho.gov/cert-psc/cert/apply/alt-auth.html#files)
The College of Education prepares students (known as “candidates”) who seek to enter education-related professions. Candidates pursuing teaching, professional school personnel, or administrative careers in schools and other professional roles will find an assortment of integrated programs organized to meet their professional aspirations. All programs of the College are experiential, collaborative, standards-based, assessment-informed, research-guided, and technology-supported. Idaho State University has an institutional commitment to educator preparation. Educator preparation programs are offered through the faculties of the College of Education, the College of Arts and Letters, the College of Science and Engineering, and the Division of Health Sciences.
In partnership with CAEP, the Idaho State Department of Education and Idaho State Board of Education review each program according to the Idaho Standards for Initial Certification of Professional School Personnel.
Evidence is collected in partnership with colleagues across disciplines and colleges at Idaho State University.