Thursday, April 18, 2024

iteach Program Offers a New Way to Become a Teacher

(WJCC Schools)

WILLIAMSBURG — Williamsburg-James City County School District is participating with the iteach program to offer people the chance to change to a teaching career without going back to college.

iteach, an alternative teaching certification program, was approved late last summer to operate in select school divisions throughout the state of Virginia. Since then, iteach has approved over 520 qualified applicants with bachelor’s degrees with a GPA of 2.5 or higher to begin the process of receiving their teaching license, filling the void of Virginia’s approximate 3,600-plus teacher vacancies. 

“As a former teacher, principal, and Virginia administrator myself, I’ve seen first-hand how even one teaching vacancy can affect an entire school,” said Laura Estes, Ed.D., iteach program director for Virginia. “iteach has been enormously beneficial for Virginia’s students because it places qualified teachers in the classroom in a matter of months, not years. These new teachers bring passion and excitement to their schools and provide Virginia’s students the rich and engaging education they deserve.”

Recently, the Virginia Department of Education approved iteach to expand to a total of 52 school divisions, increasing the likelihood of more qualified, licensed educators needed for K-12 students. The number is likely to grow, as more school divisions are going through the process.

WJCC Schools is one of the recently approved 52 school divisions.

iteach participants engage in practical learning activities they can immediately implement in the classroom. Classes are also taught by teachers with classroom experience who can provide individualized support as needed.

WJCC Schools says it is offering full reimbursement of iteach program fees to candidates who serve as teachers for three years in the division. WJCC Schools also provides first-year teachers with mentors, personalized professional learning, and opportunities to observe other teachers.

“If you’ve always wanted to be a teacher, we are proud to offer the iteach program as an affordable way to begin a fulfilling teaching career in WJCC Schools,” says Alaina Trott, Williamsburg-James City County Schools supervisor for organizational development & equity. We want to offer passionate people a chance to be excellent teachers in our classrooms.  This program helps break down the barriers to teaching.”

“I am very excited to be given the opportunity to participate in the iteach program. I am a first-year teacher under a provisional license, and this is a great way for me to get my license quickly and affordably,” said Gabrielle Greaney, currently a science teacher at Warhill High School.

Currently, the program is specifically targeting classroom teachers. Other states in the iteach program have added an administrative pathway and courses to complete professional development. Estes looks forward to hopefully expanding the Virginia program in that direction as well.

“We’re really targeting a new era, a new generation of teachers coming into the classroom who did not necessarily grow up saying I want to be a teacher but they have discovered that passion and interest,” Estes commented. “It’s really just kind of embracing coming from a different degree program or different career path who can be super successful and contribute and make a difference in our classrooms.”

To learn more about the iteach program, visit the official website.

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