The Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board (EPSB) approved two Option 9 programs at its Oct. 10 meeting.
In accordance with 16 KAR 9:110E, Option 9 is a new alternative path to certification created in the 2022 Regular Session of the Kentucky General Assembly that allows an individual to obtain a bachelor’s degree and initial certification from teacher over a three-year period while working in a non-teaching position in a school district. The route requires a district or group of districts to partner with a college or university to develop a program and receive EPSB approval.
Whitley County and Lincoln County Schools have partnered separately with the University of the Cumberlands to develop an Option 9 program. Under the program, districts must:
- Include a paid residency or paraprofessional component that employs the individual in the participating district to gain work experience;
- Use experienced teachers employed by the district to provide coaching and mentoring;
- Describe acceptance parameters; and
- Be designed to meet the needs of the participating district and may focus on developing a pool of teachers for students in the district, improving the number of underrepresented populations in the district workforce or focusing on increasing the number of teachers with areas of certification that are in high demand.
In addition, the partner district will help the candidate meet the hours of field experience during the first two years of employment. During the third year of employment, the candidate is required to be placed in an environment that corresponds to the certification sought.
The Lincoln County and Whitley County program proposals are similar in nature except for their acceptance parameters. In Lincoln County, only teaching assistants who show promise as teachers and are selected by the district may apply. In Whitley County, only those who complete the teaching and learning pathway at Whitley County High School with a recommendation from the instructor and principal are eligible to apply.
Although this route requires a candidate to be employed in a classified position while taking courses, it does not allow the candidate to serve as a teacher while enrolled in the certification route. The Option 9 alternative route provides for initial certification only after the candidate has completed their baccalaureate and certification assessments.
By law, the initial approval of the program by the EPSB lasts only three years. After this time, program providers can apply for continued approval and provide proof of program quality.
All alternative pathways to certification programs must have prior approval from EPSB before they can offer that pathway. There are currently nine alternative routes to certification approved by the EPSB.
In other cases counsel:
- Learn more about the Praxis Performance Assessment for Teachers (PPAT) from Jason E. Dietrich, Director of Client Relations for Educational Testing Services. The PPAT assessment consists of four tasks that take place during the teacher candidate’s clinical experience and focus on assessing a student-teacher’s teaching and decision-making process;
- Approved the suggested replacement wording for 16 KAR 9:100, regarding the Option 7 Alternative Certification Path, and 16 KAR 9:110, regarding the Option 9 Accelerated Certification Path;
- Approved four option 1 alternative paths for certification applications. Under Option 1, EPSB may approve applicants with outstanding, non-teaching work experience in an area of academic content in which they currently do not have certification;
- Approved waiver requests for eligibility requirements;
- Moved to closed sessions to conduct character and fitness reviews; and
- Items approved on the agenda:
- Kentucky Christian University’s initial undergraduate curriculum for health education and physical education programs;
- Georgetown College Competency Plan; and
- Uncertified Emergency Personnel Program.