State Board of Education Approves New Route to Teacher Certification
Jackson, MS (July 12, 2006) — Mississippi education leaders today called on talented professionals with subject-area expertise to change careers and become teachers, helping the state meet a serious need for 3,000 new teachers every year. To encourage professionals with bachelor’s degrees to pursue teaching, the Mississippi State Board of Education unanimously authorized an innovative new route to teacher certification designed specifically for career changers.
Beginning today, career changers can qualify for a Mississippi teacher’s license by earning the Passport to Teaching certification from the non-profit American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE).
“The ABCTE program is designed to meet the needs of working professionals while upholding high standards for what new teachers must know to increase student achievement,” Dr. Hank Bounds, Mississippi State School Superintendent said. “We are proud to welcome the program as a new route to state certification.”
Passport to Teaching requires individuals to demonstrate mastery on two rigorous exams with national-level passing scores. Candidates prepare for certification on their own pace and at their own time, with the help of a teacher-Advisor. The certification program fee is only $560.
In Mississippi, ABCTE certification is available in high school biology, chemistry, English, math and physics. Individuals who earn state certification through the ABCTE route are considered “highly qualified” according to the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.
Forty-seven school districts are designated by the state as critical teacher shortage areas and schools across the state suffer from a critical need for math and science teachers. In addition to providing a route to certification, ABCTE will provide high-need districts with targeted teacher recruitment support.
In August, ABCTE will launch a comprehensive “Back to School”-themed marketing campaign designed to recruit teachers in Mississippi. ABCTE will also work to develop partnerships with school districts to hold “Become a Teacher” information sessions for prospective teachers and develop partnerships with multicultural organizations to ensure a diverse teacher workforce in the state. For more details, visit abcte.org/teach/mississippi/.