Renton School District will present the School Board with information on its proposal to include applicants from Teach for America (TFA) to fill vacant teaching positions. The study session is Wednesday, Sept. 5, 5:30 p.m. in the district offices at 300 SW 7th Street, Renton.
Board members will vote at a future board meeting on whether to enter into a memorandum of understanding with TFA that would provide intense coursework, mentoring and classroom support for candidates in the University of Washington Accelerated Certification for Teachers (U-ACT) program who are hired in Renton.
Teach for America is a non-profit organization that enlists high-achieving college graduates and professionals to teach for two or more years in communities throughout the U.S. Washington TFA members have degrees in specific content areas and are enrolled in the U-ACT program and, as a component of the program, must earn their teaching certificate by the end of their first year. This is a state-approved alternative route certification program, much like Career and Technical Education programs.
Alternative Teaching Credentials (Including TFA) Approved By Washington State Education Organizations:
Renton, like all state school districts, has for years provided opportunities for those with alternative teaching credentials—those with other than traditional degrees and accreditations in education—to apply for teaching positions. Currently several principals and more than two dozen Renton classroom teachers (mostly in Career and Technical Education fields) have come to their professional practice via alternative teaching certifications. Those alternative teaching credentials, including those of TFA members, are approved by the State Board of Education,the state’s education office and the state’s Professional Educator Standards Board programs.
Nearly 120 New Teachers Hired This Year:
The district this year has , new schools open, and teachers retire, move on to other positions closer to home, or other attrition. Despite these efforts, classes still have vacancies and need to be staffed in time for the start of school.
School-based hiring teams are considering U-ACT candidates—who must interview and compete alongside other applicants—for these open positions. Renton would be the third district in the Puget Sound area to allow TFA members to apply and compete for open positions. Some of Renton’s current staff members began in the TFA program in past years.
Proposal covers District Teachers' concerns over TFA Applicants:
Renton teachers have attended several school board meetings voicing concerns about the district’s proposal to include TFA applicants. Teachers say that hiring non-certificated staff—who are not educated, trained or prepared in traditional teacher preparation programs —disregards the hard work and years of commitment made by teachers to be prepared for the challenges in today’s classroom. Teachers say that using these unskilled employees as teachers in the classroom devalues and disrespects the teaching profession.
Renton School Board Teach For America Study Session
Wednesday, Sept. 5, 5:30 p.m.
300 SW 7th Street, Renton
*Editor's Note: Information provided by the Renton School District.