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Alternative Certification

  • Escambia County's Alternative Certification Program -
    Kathy Smith


Escambia's Alternative Certification Program (PDCP)

The purpose of Escambia's Professional Development Certification Program (PDCP) is to provide support and practical tools to new teachers who are non-teacher trained in order to promote a positive learning environment that will increase student achievement.  To ensure the learning and continuous progress of all students, the School Board and the community must maintain high expectations of teachers. High expectations must be coupled with strong support, including intensive mentoring, for non-teacher trained teachers as they strive to promote student achievement and the effective classroom management that enables teaching and learning to take place.


Components of Escambia's ACP Survival Training

The ACP participants hired prior to the beginning of the school year will attend the district developed Great Beginnings New Teacher Program; training that includes the beginning of the year classroom management and classroom rules and procedures.  Those teachers hired after the start of the school year will be given New Teacher Support Training online using Teachscape.


Reading Requirement - Florida Online Reading-Professional Development(FOR-PD)or the UWF equivalent

Beginning in 2005-2006 all ACP participants will complete Competency 2 of the Reading Endorsement.  Competency 2 assists teachers in the understanding of the principles of scientifically based reading research as the foundation of comprehensive instruction that synchronizes and scaffolds each of the five major components (phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension) of the reading process toward student mastery.

Participants may take FOR-PD, coordinated through the District’s Reading Department and the Professional Learning Department. After completing FOR-PD participants will be able to identify:

  • comprehensive instructional plans that synchronize the major reading components;
  • explicit, systematic instructional plans for scaffolding content area vocabulary development and reading skills;
  • resources and research-based practices that create both language-rich and print-rich environments; and
  • research-based guidelines and selection tools for choosing literature and expository text appropriate to student’s interests and independent reading proficiency.


Mentorship Program

When possible, mentors will be teaching a similar subject or grade level as the ACP participant.   The relationship between the ACP participant and the mentor is built on trust so that each can observe and analyze the process of teaching. In addition, the mentor assists the ACP participant in locating important information about students, special needs, lesson plans, effective teaching methods, and general site-specific protocols.

Mentors provide coaching and support to ACP participants. All mentors are required to have Clinical Educator Training (CET).  An additional day has been added to CET in order to incorporate Mentoring 101, a mentoring/coaching program developed by NBCTs.


Subject Area Specialist Support

Appropriate subject area specialists observe the ACP participant within the first month of school and provide support and materials to enhance content.  Specialists provide information and assistance with the Sunshine State Standards, classroom management, learning environment, and subject knowledge expertise.


Florida's Accomplished Practices

The “Knowledge Base and Demonstration of Florida’s Accomplished Practices” designed by the School District, provides the best opportunity for success for ACP participants.  The Accomplished Practices are the basis of the modules taught by District Trainers in a combination of face-to-face and online training. Module descriptions, module objectives, method of instruction and rubric for assessment were developed for each of the accomplished practices.

A District ACP Trainer instructs the ACP participants in the “Knowledge Base and Demonstration of Florida’s Accomplished Practices”.  ACP participants will build a portfolio documenting competencies in all accomplished practices.   Participants receive specific feedback on each module and have the opportunity to correct any discrepancies.   At the completion of the instructional modules, the portfolio is assessed using the developed assessment rubric.   At the end of the program, the participant will complete the program or will be provided further assistance with a customized professional development plan.

There are some non-teacher trained teachers who may complete the traditional twenty hours of college credit.  As another option, UWF has developed state approved Educator Preparation Institutes.  This program will be accepted by the School District as an appropriate path to certification.   All new teachers are interviewed by the Certification Manager at which time those who are alternatively certified are counseled in the various programs available.   Mid-August all alternatively certified teachers are invited to an informational meeting with the District Coordinator to discuss the various options available. Representatives from UWF, National Board and the Escambia County School District are available to answer specific questions regarding their programs.


Accomplished Practices Self-Assessment

A self-assessment will be provided to the ACP participants to rate their perceived competence in each of the Accomplished Practices. The participant will use the obtained information to determine the objectives for the professional development plan.


Professional Development Plan (PDP)

School Administrators are responsible for seeing that every teacher has a PDP and for the maintaining, monitoring, and evaluation of its contents.  PDPs must be related to evaluation, are a way of measuring the effectiveness of teaching practices through looking at student achievement data, and are a way of relating classroom practices to school improvement and accountability efforts.

The intent of the PDP is to align classroom practice to student needs and improve student achievement. The hope is the best practices for the classroom will eliminate ineffective, inefficient instruction.

The PDP serves as the customized professional development plan for the ACP participants.

Escambia County's Alternative Certification Program has been approved by the Florida Department of Education. Completion of the program is recognized and accepted throughout Florida; other states would need to be contacted individually to determine reciprocity. We believe the Alternative Certification Program offers non-teacher trained instructional personnel the very best opportunity and support for a successful career in teaching.

Interested individuals should contact our Human Resources Department regarding job vacancies and our Certification Office concerning certification issues.

For more information please contact:
Kathy Smith
Escambia County Professional Learning