UW Today

May 12, 2011

UW College of Education launches new accelerated teacher certification program for Teach For America participants

News and Information

The University of Washington College of Education announces the launch of UW Accelerated Certification for Teachers, an alternative pathway to Washington state teacher certification. Alternative pathways are a strategy developed by the Professional Education Standards Board to help address the staffing needs of Washingtons public school districts.

With UW Accelerated Certification for Teachers — called U-ACT for short — the College of Education will become the credential program provider for Teach For America, providing high-quality, research-based teacher preparation and professional development to participants.

Teach For America recruits, trains and supports recent college graduates and young professionals from across academic majors to teach in high-need schools.

Teach For America negotiated directly with Seattle and Federal Way school districts to allow their corps members to interview alongside other candidates for open teaching positions in those districts. Corps members who are hired complete an intensive summer training institute before becoming U-ACT students and  begining full-time teaching.

Those hired will enroll as graduate students in the College of Education. They will earn teacher certification through U-ACT and, in subsequent years, a masters degree through one of the colleges existing programs — in Curriculum & Instruction, Special Education, Leadership & Policy Studies or Educational Psychology.

“Including U-ACT in our teacher certification pathways bolsters our commitment to preparing teachers for the most challenging classrooms,” said Tom Stritikus, dean of the College of Education and a Teach For America alumnus. “It is the Universitys responsibility to provide every aspiring teacher with a research-based teacher education program, designed by our top-ranked faculty, and the tools to grow in their practice long after they leave our program.”

Stritikus said the colleges decision to create U-ACT was influenced by both its status as a national leader in teacher education and its mission to transform education through innovative research-based designs.

Janis Ortega, managing director of new site development at Teach For America, said, “We are pleased to work with the University of Washington College of Education as the credentialing partner for our corps members. The UW has a long history of fostering innovation in education and preparing teachers for urban schools, and were confident that their support will help our corps members as they work alongside efforts of other great teachers to lead students toward significant academic achievement.”

The UW College of Education is ranked in the top 10 of all public and private colleges of education in the nation. The college offers several areas of study for undergraduate and graduate degrees in education.

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For more information, contact Stritukus at tstrit@uw.edu or 206-616-7854; MorvaMcDonald, U-ACT program director, at morva@u.washington.edu or
206- 616-0946; or Rebecca Neale, Teach For America communications director, at  Rebecca.Neale@teachforamerica.org or 202-906-9207.