B. Teacher Preparation How is the state planning to build a pipeline of prospective teachers for high-poverty, low-performing schools?
B.1 Future Teacher Scholarships are given to preservice teachers at all state universities who are majoring in a teaching shortage area. Critical Teacher Shortage Areas for 2005-06 include: science, foreign language, mathematics, English and Special Education.
B.2 Teacher Shortage Employment Incentive Program (TSEIP) was legislated to encourage preservice teachers to major in math or science education and to teach at least five years in Oklahoma public schools. For those who complete the five years of mathematics or science teaching, student loans are repaid or, if no outstanding loans, a stipend equal to the average of three years of tuition and fees at state universities is awarded.
B.3 Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program
To qualify for up to $5,000 loan forgiveness under this program you must not have had an outstanding balance on a FFEL or Direct Loan program loan as of October 1, 1998. It is possible to qualify for the increased amount of loan forgiveness up to $17,500 for mathematics, reading, writing, science, or special education.
B.4 National Governor’s Association Grant
Oklahoma has received funds from the National Governors Association to recruit teachers to become Nationally Board Certified. This pilot program provides financial support to teachers pursuing NBC and is in one of Oklahoma’s urban, high poverty, high minority school districts.
Teacher-to-Teacher.com is an online recruitment service for all Oklahoma K-12 schools and is a useful tool particularly in hard to staff schools.
C. Out-of-Field Teaching How is the state planning to reduce the incidence of out-of-field teaching (particularly in mathematics, science, special education, and bilingual education/English as a Second Language) in high-poverty, high-minority, and low-performing schools? In Oklahoma the number of out-of-field teachers (exceptions granted by the State Board of Education) during the 2005-2006 school year was 63 teachers out of 56,536. In the State of Oklahoma we have policy and licensure requirements in place that is a system of accountability. It is clear that with only 63 of 56,536 teachers, out-of-field teachers is not an issue for Oklahoma. Data has continued to show us year after year that our system is working.
The programs listed in the Specialized Knowledge and Skills section would also apply to reducing the incidence of out-of-field teaching in high-poverty, high-minority, and low-performing schools. These are additional programs with the same focus.
Alternative Certification provides an opportunity for individuals with degrees and who take a subject area test to teach in Oklahoma accredited schools.
Scholarship Program to encourage teachers of hard-to-fill subjects and others in “critical need” occupations to work in specified high-need geographic areas of the state.
Teacher-to-Teacher.com is an online recruitment service for Oklahoma K-12 schools.
Troops to Teachers recruits military personnel from all the bases in Oklahoma and takes all applicants through the alternative certification process.
D. Recruitment and Retention of Experienced Teachers How is the state planning to build a critical mass of qualified, experienced teachers willing to work in hard-to-staff schools? Currently, Oklahoma has a critical mass of qualified, experienced teachers. We have examined the data and are focused on sharing strategies with school districts that do not have a critical mass of qualified, experienced teachers in hard-to-staff schools. This includes many of our schools in the two largest school districts, Tulsa Public School and Oklahoma City Public Schools. Each of these urban districts has implemented programs to improve recruitment and retention. For example, Tulsa Public Schools has been adding days to its school year which increases teacher pay. Oklahoma City Public Schools has added instructional facilitators in academic content areas that work specifically with those sites in need of improvement to support and assist teachers which increases retention in these hard-to-staff schools.
The statewide activities proposed in this plan build on activities already in place to recruit and retain highly qualified teachers and administrators for Oklahoma public schools. They include policies to facilitate the licensing of individuals and programs to recognize and reward teachers.
D.1 Alternative Certification Program
The Oklahoma Alternative Placement Program provides an opportunity for individuals with degrees to teach in Oklahoma accredited schools. Degrees must come from an accredited institution of higher education with a major in a field that corresponds to an area of specialization for an elementary-secondary certificate (PK-12), a secondary certificate, or a vocational technical certificate. To obtain licensure, several criteria must be met.
Oklahoma allows additional subject areas to be added to an existing license/certificate upon passing the subject test. Early Childhood and Elementary Education certification may be added to a license/certificate upon passing a subject area competency exam.
Support Documentation for Oklahoma’s Alternative Licensure/Certification
Oklahoma law states that no teacher candidates shall be eligible for licensing until successfully completing a competency examination in the subject area. A teacher may be certified in as many areas as the teacher has successfully completed the subject area examination.
Oklahoma Subject Area Test by Teaching Areas
Oklahoma General Education Test
Oklahoma Professional Education Test Background for Teacher Testing, Mentoring, and Professional Development
The Teacher Reform Act of 1980 (House Bill 1706) established a procedure for teachers to meet an enhanced teacher education program, pass a subject area test (first test administered in January 1982), be issued a license, complete a mentor program, and participate in professional development activities throughout their professional teaching career.
Upon employment Alternative Licenses may be renewed for three years. An alternatively licensed teacher must successfully complete Oklahoma’s Resident Teacher Program. At any time during the three years, the teacher must also pass the Professional Education Examination and complete a professional education component of 6-18 semester hours or 90 to 270 clock hours as outlined in a plan approved by the Oklahoma State Department of Education and on file with the institution of higher education.
Oklahoma Alternative Licenses Issued for 2005-2006 School Year
D.2 Troops to Teachers Program - $10,000 Bonus to Teach in High-Need Area
Oklahoma supports the Troops to Teachers program, which is funded by the U. S. State Department of Education and is on contract to the Department of Defense (DOD) to administer the program through Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES). The DOD and the Oklahoma State Department of Education has a Memorandum of Agreement to administer their program. Oklahoma recruits military personnel from all the bases in Oklahoma and takes all applicants through the alternative certification process. The applicants must meet all the qualifications for certification. Troop participants receive a stipend up to $5,000.00 and a stipend and/or a bonus up to $10,000.00 to teach in a high-needs area. There is a $10,000.00 cap (stipend plus bonus) per individual troop participant.
D.3 Teacher Minority Recruitment Program
Oklahoma Law 70 O. S. § 6-130 created the Minority Teacher Recruitment Center under the auspices of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education in the interests of recruiting, retaining and placing minority teachers in the public schools of the state of Oklahoma.
The Minority Teacher Recruitment Center supports the following recruitment programs:
• special events which highlight the teaching profession
• professional development for teacher to develop "grow your own" programs
• Future Educators Association chapters,
• Academic Commitment to Education (ACE) high school curriculum
• Leadership, Education and Achievement Program (LEAP) middle school curricula
• collegiate programs designed to recruit those who are making transitions from other careers or areas of study.
All of the above are designed to recruit, retain and place minority teachers in the public schools of the State of Oklahoma.
The appropriations to the Minority Teacher Recruitment Center for the last four years are as follows:
Based on the social security numbers that are available from 1998-1999 to 2004-2005, the following information has been provided by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education:
118 majored in teacher education in the Oklahoma public university system.
26 have teacher education degrees.
78% are majoring in education are still matriculating.
83% are White.
12% are Native American.
2% are Black.
1% are Asian.
2% are of unknown ethnicity.
These numbers do not reflect the collegiate programs sponsored by the Minority Teacher Recruitment Center. Such stats are not available at this time.
This is an online recruitment service for Oklahoma K-12 schools which assists districts in rural areas and assists all districts in recruiting hard-to-staff assignments and schools.
D.5 Resident Teacher Program
The Resident Teacher Program was initially implemented as a result of the Teacher Reform Act of 1980 (House Bill 1706). In 1995, House Bill 1549 changed the name from Entry-Year Assistance Program to Resident Teacher Program. Resident Teacher Program, during the initial year of teaching in an accredited school, provides guidance and assistance of a Resident Teacher Committee.
The intent of legislation is to establish qualifications of teachers in the accredited schools of Oklahoma through licensing and certification requirements to ensure that the education of children of Oklahoma will be provided by teachers of demonstrated ability.
The licensed teacher is required to participate in the Resident Teacher Program during the initial year of teaching in an accredited school under the guidance and assistance of a Resident Teacher Committee in order to qualify for an Oklahoma teaching certificate. The Resident Teacher Committee consists of a mentor teacher, the principal, or an assistant principal of the employing school or an administrator designated by the local board, and a teacher educator in a college or school of education of an institution of higher learning or an educator in a department or school outside the institutions’ teacher education unit.
The Resident Teacher Committee is responsible for: 1) working with the resident teacher to assist in all matters concerning classroom management and professional development, 2) making a recommendation regarding certification, and 3) making a recommendation for a professional development program for the resident teacher, designed to strengthen the resident teacher’s teaching skills in any area identified by the committee.
D.6 State Improvement Grant for Recruitment, Retention and Retraining
Oklahoma was awarded a five-year State Improvement Grant (SIG) that focused on the recruitment, retention, and retraining of special education and related service personnel. Retention activities involved providing first- and second-year teachers with mentors/coaches to ease their transition from higher education into their own classrooms and sustaining those supports for two years. These programs were called FACETS and ASSETS. There were regular meetings, resources provided, trainings, and evaluations. Every first-year teacher was provided with a bag of resources to assist them in beginning their careers.
Recruitment activities included making presentations at high schools and university classes. SIG staff also hosted booths at various professional conferences, job fairs, and other events. Numerous professional development activities were provided throughout the grant in an effort to provide personnel with tools to enable them to be more successful in serving students with disabilities. The SIG also provides a free membership to all 540 LEAs for use of .
D.7 State Personnel Development Grant The SIG is in a no-cost extension that will end December 31, 2006. Recently, SIG staff submitted a proposal to the USDE, Office of Special Education Programs, for the State Personnel Development Grant (SPDG). As of Friday, September 29, 2006, Oklahoma was awarded the SPDG for implementation over a five year period. A major focus of the SPDG will be assisting secondary special education teachers in becoming highly qualified in a core content subject area. The SPDG will also attempt to recruit highly qualified candidates interested in becoming certified in special education. The pool of candidates will be drawn from existing highly qualified regular education teachers and, specifically, those that are alternatively certified. Tuition reimbursement for college classes, review sessions for certification exams, and reimbursement for passing certification exams will be provided to these successful candidates. A stipend will be provided to those candidates who teach a special education class one additional year after receiving special education or core area certification.
For Another focus of the SPDG will be to continue to help provide support to first-year teachers. The Special Education Services section will be initiating a First-Year Teacher Academy where first-year teachers are paired with mentors and provided training and support through their first year. The SPDG will implement activities to continue providing support during the second and third years of teaching, since attrition is greatest within the first three years of teaching. These activities will be an extension, or continuation, of the FACETS and ASSETS programs.
D.8 National Board Certification Scholarships
Past proposed state legislation stated the following:
To fulfill the objectives of the Education Leadership Oklahoma Act, the Oklahoma Commission for Teacher Preparation shall:
1. Inform teachers of the Education Leadership Oklahoma program and the scholarships and services it provides to teachers seeking National Board certification, emphasizing recruiting efforts toward teachers at schools on the school improvement list as determined by the State Department of Education pursuant to the No Child Left Behind Act, at schools where more than fifty percent of students qualify for the free and reduced price lunch program, and in districts with the lowest percentage of teachers who have achieved National Board certification. The Committee shall give preference to teachers at schools on the school improvement list as determined by the State Department of Education pursuant to the No Child Left Behind Act, at schools where more than fifty percent of students qualify for the free and reduced price lunch program, and in districts with the lowest percentage of teachers who have achieved National Board certification.
E. Professional Development
How is the state planning to strengthen the skills, knowledge, and qualifications of teachers already working in high-poverty, low-performing schools?
Curriculum, assessment and federal program staff within the Oklahoma Department of Education have developed training materials and routinely conduct professional development activities for school district personnel. These activities are conducted at the state, regional, and local levels. They focus on curriculum, research-based instructional strategies and the use of data to inform instruction, strategies for special populations including students with Individualized Education Programs, English Language Learners, and racial and ethnic education.
E.1 Master Teacher Project (Title II Part A funding)
The Master Teacher program is a state-wide teacher coaching program to assist teachers in the lowest-performing schools. Master teachers in core content areas receive a $1,000 stipend for providing coaching within school and/or schools within the geographic area. Master teachers represent some of the low performing schools and provide professional development upon request to other low performing schools. The 2005-2006 Master Teacher Program focused on high-quality professional development for special education teachers and English Language Learning Teachers.
Oklahoma Master Teacher participants receive extensive training throughout the academic year in standards-based instruction, curriculum alignment and mapping, data-driven decision making, standards and testing alignment, and accommodations for closing the achievement gap.
Increase the number of highly-qualified teachers in each region of the state by developing their knowledge of specific content and instructional strategies related to the content.
Increase the number of students who reach satisfactory or advanced levels in the Oklahoma School Testing Program.
Use community and higher education resources including the involvement of business and industry to provide a network of support for teachers in each region.
Develop strategies to close the achievement gap among sub-groups of students.
In today’s climate of high standards and accountability, it is important that instructional leaders are able to spend considerable time in the classrooms collecting data, coaching, and supporting quality classroom instruction. Many of our superintendents and principals have never received solid, research-based training to help achieve that goal. As a result, it is not unusual for a teacher to receive a classroom visit only when written evaluations are required.
Curriculum Walk-Through (CWT) for Improved Teaching and Learning provides:
• A brief classroom visit structure and process that focuses on teaching and learning
• Skills to analyze teaching and learning through frequent, brief classroom visits
• A powerful strategy for increasing student achievement
• Use of reflective prompts for providing feedback
• Methodology for analyzing the classroom for feedback purposes
CWT provides “look fors” that become a source for real-time data used by site decision-makers to design professional development to support school improvement planning. Follow-up reflection, practiced during the day-long training session, enhances communication between an instructional leader and teacher. Participants receive a resource notebook, three books for their professional libraries (recommended), and accompanying supplies to start their Curriculum Walk Throughs.
School Improvement Sites trained in the Curriculum Walk Through process: 52
School administrators trained in the Curriculum Walk Through process: 710 E.3 Mathematics and Science Partnerships (Title II, Part B)
Targeted statewide professional development is provided to strengthen teacher content knowledge. In the Mathematics and Science partnerships teachers in target schools receive customized training and in-depth professional development in mathematics and science.
E.4PASSport II(Title II, Part D funding) SPECIAL EDUCATION VIDEO VIGNETTES
PASSPort II is an online database and lesson planner aligned to the state academic content standards to assist teachers in providing content-rich lessons. The Oklahoma State Department of Education has also provided MarcoPolo/PASSport II training to students in teacher preparation programs to increase the levels of expertise among potential teacher candidates in the instructional uses of technology. These training sessions have been conducted at Oklahoma Baptist University and Oklahoma City University.
E.5 Videoconferences (Title II, Part A funding) Specific topics for special education teachers and middle school language arts and mathematics. The videoconference system makes it possible for administrators and teachers in many locations across the state of Oklahoma to participate in professional development and to receive technical assistance concerning many subject areas. Two-way audio and video communication among 10 sites is useful for delivering information while reducing costly travel expenses, and it permits more efficient use of time for participants and presenters.
Curriculum specialists provide information on scientifically based research, updates on state and federal guidelines and legislation, grant opportunities, and innovative practices during regularly scheduled videoconferences. Specialists also provide individualized technical and professional assistance through “point-to-point” conferences with one school, or even one teacher.