Transition to Teaching Program – College of Education
UNK Department of the Month
The UNK Staff Senate is pleased to recognize the Transition to Teaching program as the December 2007 UNK Department of the Month. In the Fall of 2002 a Federal grant was awarded to the Nebraska Department of Education to establish and provide services for a statewide Assessment Center for all Alternative Certificate candidates in the state of Nebraska. UNK was identified as a partner in the project.
The primary objective for UNK’s participation was to develop the Nebraska Transition to Teaching (TTT) project. The TTT project is a systematic avenue for individuals to enter the classroom, through an alternative route to certification. The TTT program has created a means for mid-career professionals and recent college graduates who have earned a non-teaching BA/BS degree in a discipline/subject taught in 7-12 schools to qualify to become the teachers of record in secondary schools in Nebraska. Nebraska schools unable to hire a qualified, regularly certified teacher are now benefiting from the TTT program which has created a valuable and sustainable alternative path to regular certification. It is becoming increasingly more difficult to recruit qualified, regularly certified teachers in all subject areas in the majority of Nebraska schools because of geographic isolation and the scarcity of certificated individuals in some subject areas. The number of Nebraska schools looking to the TTT program for assistance in retaining quality teachers continues to grow as the program serves both large and small secondary schools throughout the state of Nebraska.
The program has placed a total of 134 transitional teachers in high need subject areas since 2002. The current Participant Retention Rate for the TTT Program is 78%; which includes all participants from their first semester in the program to the successful completion of their Student Teaching and the attainment of a regular Nebraska Teaching Credential. 39 of the 40 TTT participants that have finished the program and received a regular teaching credential are still teaching in Nebraska Schools. This is an amazing statistic given that about 50% of all teachers nationally drop out of the profession within five years.
The TTT program is lead by Demaris Grant who has been with UNK and the TTT program since its inception in 2002. Demaris is the “heart and soul” of the program. She has a very hands-on job that requires that she know the needs of the schools and the strengths of the transitional candidates intimately. She takes her role and responsibilities very seriously. In addition, Dr. Lucille Freeman, a professor in the Teacher Education department has worked tirelessly to develop and teach the core on-line courses that provide the transitional students with the pedagogical knowledge that they apply daily in their lives as new teachers in the schools. Analysis of assessment data, which includes evaluations completed by principals who employ our transitional students indicate that the program is preparing these students well for their work as teachers. UNK, the College of Education and the state of Nebraska are very fortunate to have the Transition to Teaching program.
For all their hard work for their college, the University, and the State, the UNK Staff Senate is indeed honored to recognize the Transition to Teaching program as the December 2007 UNK Department of the Month.
Thank you to the sponsors of the Department of the Month: UNK Athletics and Staff Senate.