Dallas ISD team members and anyone who has ever considered going into teaching will have the opportunity to learn more about the process through the Dallas ISD Alternative Certification Program by signing up for any of the weekly information sessions.
The weekly information sessions provide potential candidates with information to decide if they want to move forward with the application process, said Shuntrice Rhodes, director of the Alternative Certification Program.
According to Rhodes, one of the wonderful things about the program is that it is free to the applicant. The only out of pocket expenses cover content exams and the certification posting. Things such as the in-person content study groups, content test preparation materials, internship tuition, books and materials do not cost the candidate.
“We have been recognized by the state. We have two commendations from the Texas Education Agency–one for mathematics, seven through 12, and one for preparing the educators that Texas needs,” she said.
The district’s AC Program has experienced an 82% increase in program applications and a 44% increase in candidates admitted into the program. According to the Texas Education Agency, the program boasts an 82% overall pass rate for all content pedagogy exams and a 97% pass rate for all pedagogy tests.
While many of the applicants are already Dallas ISD team members, such as teacher assistants and members of central departments, the Alternative Certification Program accepts applicants from out-of-state and out of the country. The department recently began accepting H-1B visa candidates again.
Some of the requirements to be part of the AC program include having a bachelor’s degree and at least a 2.5 grade point average. About 80 recent Alternative Certification graduates became new teachers this school year. The AC program anticipates that over 100 candidates will become teachers in the spring semester.
Isabel Gonzalez, a facilitator in the department, is a former teacher who went through the district’s Alternative Certification Program.
“When I first went through the AC program, I didn’t know how much I was going to enjoy being a teacher,” said Gonzalez. “Once I stepped into the classroom, I realized that this was my passion. And now I get to help others discover their calling for teaching.”
“One of the benefits of going through the district’s alternative certification program is that all our training is aligned to the district’s initiatives, in addition to being in alignment with the TEA,” Rhodes said of the district’s premier alternative certification program.
The new cohort application period will open on Sept. 15 and close in January. For detailed information on the program, you can visit https://www.dallasisd.org/altcert.