TEACH-NOW is the first online teacher preparation. Program to meet new standards

TEACH-NOW, an online teacher preparation program, has received a full seven-year accreditation from the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation, making it the first online institution to meet the new, stricter standards of the board.

“This is an important step,” said Emily Feistritzer, Founder and CEO of TEACH-NOW. In 2011, she founded the program, which takes applicants nine months to become certified.

“This program is really built on the collaborative activity-based learning delivery model,” she said. “I am delighted that it is working. “

The first class started in March 2013 and since then TEACH-NOW has accepted and enrolled nearly 1,500 people in 80 countries and 44 states.

With accreditation, TEACH-NOW plans to grow more intentionally by providing professional development to districts, Feistrizer said. The program’s online modules, ranging from student assessments to learning in the digital age, would also be useful for already certified teachers, she said.

“We intend to make them a lot more available now,” she said. “We are constantly in conversation with [District of Columbia public schools], and we are currently working with schools and countries around the world.

CAEP unveiled its more ambitious standards for program accreditation in 2013. Teacher preparation programs are judged against five standards, which contain multiple references — equipping candidates with content knowledge and appropriate educational tools; working in partnership with districts to provide strong student teaching practice and feedback; recruit a diverse and academically strong candidate pool; demonstrate that graduates successfully improve the academic success of P-12 students; and maintaining a quality assurance system.

If the program does not meet a single benchmark, it cannot be accredited for two years, until it provides proof that it has remedied the problem. In December, 17 of the 21 candidate programs were accredited, said Brenda Iasevoli.

Men represent 42% of TEACH-NOW registrants, according to program data, and 45% of registrants are people of color. (Nationwide, 82 percent of teachers are white women.)

“We are not actively recruiting for any of these markets,” Feistrizer said. “I think [it’s because] the program is so candidate driven. We really, really focus on the people who sign up for TEACH-NOW. I do the orientation session [and say to the candidates], ‘There is no one more important in TEACH-NOW than you.’ … It is a very intimate and collaborative learning environment.

While the highest concentration of TEACH-NOW enrollees are people in their 30s who are changing careers, Feistrizer said more and more recent college graduates are entering the program.

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