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Ohio Schools Give Potential Teachers Many Choices

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Summary: Each year Ohio Schools issue an end of the year report announcing the board approved priorities for the next academic year. The number one priority on the 2006-2007 End of Year Report for Ohio Schools was Educator Quality. According to the report, the board and administrators feel that the recruitment, professional development, and retainment of high quality teachers are critical to a school's success. That's not a statement that anyone is likely to debate. So the really ques...

Each year Ohio Schools issue an end of the year report announcing the board approved priorities for the next academic year. The number one priority on the 2006-2007 End of Year Report for Ohio Schools was Educator Quality. According to the report, the board and administrators feel that the recruitment, professional development, and retainment of high quality teachers are critical to a school's success. That's not a statement that anyone is likely to debate. So the really question is: what are the Ohio Schools doing to address this concern? With a huge diversity of urban districts, from Columbus to Cincinnati, Ohio Schools are challenged to meet national standards and find quality educators to help do that. Columbus is a great example of how Ohio Schools are facing significant obstacles: they have a 30% mobility rate among their 11,000 students. Finding good teachers willing to teacher in "high-risk" schools is always a problem. Here are some of the solutions the Ohio Schools' Board of Education intends to try. SIR, YES SIR A federally funded "Troops to Teachers" program gives retired and separated military personnel a stipend to obtain certification. Ohio Schools currently benefit from 270 teachers who have utilized this program. Of those, 67% are teaching in high needs Ohio Schools. Administrators hope that the ex-military teachers will appreciate the ease of moving into a civilian job, and that students will respond to the military background of these non-traditional teachers. FOLLOW YOUR OWN PATH Military personnel aren't the only prospective teachers that enter Ohio Schools through alternative routes. As the Ohio Schools seek qualified teachers, many administrators are happy to meet highly qualified applicants by altering certain requirements. Since the Alternative Education License was created in 2000 over 1,900 teachers have entered Ohio Schools using this route. 48% of those are currently teaching in high need schools. But how do Ohio Schools' administrators ensure that these applicants are qualified? Surely, it would defeat the purpose to bend the rules and end up with less qualified applicants. That is the reason for the Credit Review Board (CRB). Here is how it works. Imagine that a foreign applicant wishes to teach his native language for Ohio Schools. The CRB would ensure that he meets the qualifications, although he would not have met the traditional requirements. Finally, the Ohio board approved further use of TeachOhio Diversity Grants. These award Ohio colleges and universities with funds to create alternative education programs for teachers of adolescent math and science. The goal is to recruit, prepare and send these students to teach in the high need Ohio Schools. Creative approaches to recruiting and hiring great teachers is high on the agenda of Ohio Schools for the upcoming year. The message is that "Teachers Matter". How effective will all these alternatively qualified teachers be? That's just what Ohio Schools are hoping to find out.
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