News

NC INSPIRE Offers New Option for Alternative Teacher Certification

May 18, 2012

CHAPEL HILL, NC –College graduates who are interested in a teaching career but don’t have a degree in education now have a new fast-track option available. Through the North Carolina Innovative Statewide Program to Improve the Recruitment of Educators (NC INSPIRE), qualified individuals willing to serve in selected high-need school districts could begin teaching as early as August of this year. Eligible applicants include recent college graduates, college seniors graduating in May, and mid-career professionals.

Developed by the UNC Center for School Leadership Development, NC INSPIRE is partnering with 20 local education agencies (LEAs) across North Carolina to recruit individuals to fill 40 teaching positions each year in the high-need areas of math, science, and special education.  The new program is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Transition-to-Teaching program, which funds projects to recruit, prepare, and support talented individuals to become highly qualified teachers in high-need schools in high-need school districts.

 “We are excited to offer prospective NC INSPIRE Fellows the opportunity to immediately begin serving students in high-need schools and earn their teaching license and master’s degree at the same time,” said Alan Meyers, Project Director for NC INSPIRE. “NC INSPIRE Fellows receive a tremendous amount of support, including an intensive Summer Institute prior to entering the classroom, ongoing professional development, and an instructional coach to guide them through the first two years of teaching. In addition, the program provides Praxis II preparation workshops and tuition assistance for online Master of Arts in Teaching degree programs.  The NC INSPIRE Fellows Program will help provide North Carolina school children with the high-quality teachers they deserve.”

Prospective teachers chosen for the program will enroll in an online Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) graduate program at East Carolina University, UNC Charlotte, or Western Carolina University to complete their teacher licensure requirements. NC INSPIRE will provide up to 50% of the cost of the MAT program.  Fellows who want to teach math or science must have at least a bachelor’s degree in math or science.  Special education teachers must have at least a bachelor’s degree in any subject area and pass the PRAXIS II tests for special education. (Praxis II Subject Assessments measure knowledge of specific subjects that K–12 educators will teach, as well as general and subject-specific teaching skills and knowledge.)

Interested individuals should visit the NC INSPIRE website at www.ncinspire.northcarolina.edu to learn more about the program and to download an application packet.  Due to the limited number of fellowships available, the selection process will be very competitive. Applications should be completed and mailed as soon as possible.  For more information, contact the NC INSPIRE program office at 919-843-7303.