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A year ago, Wisconsin’s State Superintendent created a working group consisting of school administrators, principals and teachers to develop strategic solutions for Wisconsin’s teacher shortage. Two strategies developed were to “empower districts with more options and flexibility in hiring, particularly when a shortage exists” and “reduce the time, cost, and effort it takes to obtain and renew a license.”

Solutions such as these have long been proposed, mulled over, and then gone nowhere while the teacher shortage gets worse.

Now, a nonprofit called American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence is taking action and implementing those strategies. American Board provides an affordable, online, and self-paced path to earning a Wisconsin teacher certification and ultimately state licensure.

Enrollment in the nonprofit’s online program opens to future Wisconsin teachers on November 6. Since the average American Board candidate earns their certification within seven to 10 months of enrolling, this means the state could have an influx of certified teachers by the upcoming spring hiring season

“Creating a larger pool of certified, qualified teachers in communities throughout the state is critical as Wisconsin school districts are struggling to fill at least 46 percent of teaching positions throughout the state,” said Lisa Howell, American Board’s executive director.

American Board’s program is specially designed for career-changers who already have a bachelor’s degree and years of real-world work experience.

“I was working as an insurance agent and was unhappy with my job. I knew I wanted to become a teacher, but education programs are designed for 20-year-olds that live at home or on campus,” said Birdie Pruessner, an American Board alum. “I would substitute teach on my vacation days and that’s when I learned about American Board. It really changed the trajectory of my life. I would not have gone back and done another undergrad degree. I could not wrap my mind around going back after getting my business degree.”

Principals report American Board certified teachers perform better than or equivalent to traditionally trained teachers across 95 percent of 20 teacher qualities measured, according to a recent Drexel University study.

Drexel University concluded American Board teachers are “largely comparable to or stronger than traditionally prepared teachers. It is clear that American Board prepared teachers are well-prepared to meet the needs of 21st-century learners.”

Meanwhile, enrollment in traditional educator licensing programs for Wisconsin experienced a 30 percent drop from 2010 to 2015.

American Board looks forward to working with Wisconsin’s DPI on how to best serve and prepare future teachers throughout the state. To learn more about how American Board works and what subject areas are available for certification, click here.

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  1. […] Wisconsin Teacher Certification. A year ago, Wisconsin’s State Superintendent created a working group consisting of school administrators, principals and teachers to develop strategic solutions for Wisconsin’s teacher shortage. Two strategies developed were to “empower districts with more options and flexibility in hiring, particularly when a shortage exists” and “reduce the time, cost, and effort it takes to obtain and renew a license.” Solutions such as these have long been proposed, mulled over, and then gone nowhere while the teacher shortage gets worse. Now, a nonprofit called American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence is taking action and implementing those strategies. […]

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