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Waynesboro among school systems working to expand expedited teaching program

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The Commonwealth has expanded its partnership with iteach to 52 school systems, including for special education curriculum requirements.

The alternative teaching certification program fills teaching vacancies by offering an expedited path to the classroom for Virginians with a bachelor’s degree. Virginia has more than 3,600 teaching vacancies. Since the summer of 2023, more than 500 Virginians have enrolled in the program, and more than half are completing the residency component of the program in their own classrooms.

“As a former teacher, principal, and Virginia administrator myself, I’ve seen first-hand how even one teaching vacancy can affect an entire school,” Laura Estes, Ed.D., iteach program director for Virginia, said. “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.”

For aspiring teachers who have completed a bachelor’s degree, the iteach program offers a one-year path to teacher certification, making it both faster and less expensive than certification through a university. Candidates complete iteach coursework online on a flexible schedule and have free access to the Teaching Channel professional development platform as well as test prep resources from Passage Preparation. When ready to look for their dream job, individuals can consult iteach’s job board and take advantage of free resume tips and templates.

Once a new teacher has been hired, iteach provides access to one free continuing education course from Teaching Channel, and the district assigns a Classroom Supervisor as a mentor to help them navigate the challenges of their first year in the classroom.

“Henry County Public Schools has been extremely pleased to be one of the first Virginia school divisions approved to partner with iteach as an Alternate Route to Licensure,” Christy Landon, Director of Human Relations at Henry County Public Schools, said. “The iteach program is affordable, and its online format allows our program participants to complete coursework when their schedules permit. It is critical that we have the qualified teachers needed to support our diverse community of learners. The iteach program offers a cost-effective and flexible path to licensure, supporting Henry County Schools with another resource to help us recruit and retain the teachers we need.”

According to the Virginia Department of Education, the following school systems are partnering with iteach:

Accomack County Public Schools

Albemarle County Public Schools

Alexandria City Public Schools

Amherst County Public Schools

Arlington County Public Schools

Bedford County Public Schools

Botetourt County Public Schools

Buckingham County Public Schools

Campbell County Public Schools

Caroline County Public Schools

Charles City County Public Schools

Chesapeake Public Schools

Chesterfield County Public Schools

Colonial Heights Public Schools

Danville Public Schools

Dinwiddie County Public Schools

Essex County Public Schools

Fairfax County (City) Public Schools

Greensville County Public Schools

Halifax County Public Schools

Hampton City Public Schools

Hanover County Public Schools

Henry County Public Schools

Hopewell City Public Schools

Isle of Wight County Public Schools

Lancaster County Public Schools

Loudoun County Public Schools

Lunenburg County Public Schools

Lynchburg City Public Schools

Madison County Public Schools

Manassas Park City Schools

Mathews County Public Schools

Middlesex County Public Schools

Newport News City Public Schools

Northampton County Public Schools

Orange County Public Schools

Petersburg City Public Schools

Pittsylvania County Schools

Powhatan County Public Schools

Prince George County Public Schools

Rappahannock County Public Schools

Roanoke County Public Schools

SECEP Public School Consortium

Southampton County Public Schools

Shenandoah County Public Schools

Suffolk Public Schools

Sussex County Public Schools

Washington County Public Schools

Waynesboro City Public Schools

Westmoreland County Public Schools

Williamsburg- James City County Public Schools

“Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) is excited to begin our partnership with iteach,” ACPS Chief of Staff Dr. Grace Taylor said. “This collaboration provides a pathway for those eager to pursue licensure and lays the foundation for a sustained and flourishing career in education. As the division continues to strategize innovative ways to recruit qualified candidates, iteach will foster a community of dedicated individuals committed to shaping the future of learning, supporting the continued growth of our candidate pool.”

The iteach program has helped certify more than 29,500 teachers around the country, and currently works with more than 1,500 districts and Local Education Agencies in 11 states. The program is the only non-university alternative teacher certification program that has earned accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. According to iteach’s most recent survey, 96 percent of school administrators and HR professionals would recommend the program to their peers based on teachers’ ability.

“I wanted to become a special education teacher to help those that do not have a voice or are underrepresented,” Brianna McCook, who completed her iteach residency with Shenandoah County Public Schools, said. “I’m enjoying my experience with iteach, especially how they present bite-sized, comprehensive information and I was able to complete the prerequisites while working. I love working with special needs children and foresee a long future as an educator.”

Chelsea Brooks is going through the program with two friends and completing her residency at Campbell County Public Schools.

“I am extremely thankful for iteach. I started out as a substitute teacher in 2023 and quickly realized how much I loved being able to teach, encourage, love, and inspire little minds. iteach is the perfect opportunity for me to fulfill my goal and dream of becoming a teacher. I think I’ve told a handful of people recently that at my age, I have finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up – and that’s a teacher. The future is bright,” Brooks said.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.