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Future teachers to face changes in certification by 2002

Jan. 24, 2001

New programs correlate with state improvements



The School of Education is revamping its teacher education program. By Sept. 1, 2004, the school will have in effect a curriculum that requires interdisciplinary learning and a teaching internship during the senior year.

These changes are, in part, in response to the changes made in the Texas teacher certification program by the State Board of Educator Certification. On Sept. 1, 2002, 17 new teaching certificates will be available, including new certificates for grade four through eight. In the past, there was an elementary certificate for grades one through eight, and a high school certificate for grades seven through 12.

'That is an area of education that has been neglected, and there is now a lot of evidence that [that] is when kids drop out of school and quit performing,' said Dr. Robert Yinger, dean of the School of Education. 'They're going through a lot of important changes in their lives, and we need to have teachers who know how to work with adolescents.'

Students who graduate before September 2002 will finish under the current program with all of the current courses and exams for certification. Those who graduate between 2002 and 2004 will have the same degree requirements but take a mix of new and current courses. After Sept.1, 2004, students will graduate under the new plan with all new course selections.

With the help of the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Education plans to make the curriculum more interdisciplinary, with new majors and courses.

The Baylor Interdisciplinary Core will also be included in the changes in the School of Education. Teacher education students will be encouraged to be members of the BIC because of its interdisciplinary curriculum. Yinger said that the faculty of the School of Education would be more involved in teaching BIC classes as well.

During their senior year, teacher education students will have a 36-week teaching internship as opposed to a 12-week student teaching experience. Yinger said students would be working as teachers in schools and being paid either part time or as a beginning teacher.

The changes in the School of Education will make Baylor's teaching program unique.

'If we successfully make all these changes, we will have one of the model programs, not only in Texas but in the country,' Yinger said.

Alfredo Loredo is the principal at University Middle School. He is on a committee with members of the School of Education, the Waco ISD superintendent and principals at local schools charged with preparing the School of Education for the new state requirements. He said that a middle school certificate for grades four through eight would allow teachers to teach any grade in middle school, unlike the certificate for grades kindergarten through six that locks teachers in middle schools to only sixth grade.

Todd Overpeck, communication specialist at Region 12 Education Service Center, said that graduates earning a degree specialized for teaching middle school would make them more marketable because they are in line with the new Texas guidelines. They are better trained to work as a team with teachers in other areas and grades, an ability school administrators are looking for in their educators.

The new middle school certificate and the changes in the School of Education work together to make students who graduate with a teaching degree more desirable for schools.

'The quality of the Baylor programs will make them [students] more desirable,' Yinger said.