Hillsborough County Public Schools is committed to providing the best educational opportunities for all students. The Alternative Certification Program (ACP) philosophy is based on a deep commitment to student achievement by providing high-quality professional development for teachers through a quality competency-based program. The goal of ACP is to train non-education majors in pedagogy so they can make a positive impact on student achievement and provide quality educational opportunities for children.
The Hillsborough County Public Schools has designed the Alternative Certification Program in accordance with Florida Statute Section 1012.56.
Each school district may provide a cohesive competency-based professional preparation alternative certification program by which members of the school district’s instructional staff may satisfy the mastery of professional preparation and education competence requirements specified in … rules of the State Board of Education. Participants must hold a state-issued temporary certificate. Each program must be based on classroom application and instructional performance and must include a performance evaluation plan for documenting the demonstration of required professional education competence.
The ACP offers non-education majors holding at least a bachelor's degree and meeting the state requirements, for which a professional teaching certificate may be issued, the opportunity to be trained as educators. After ACP completion, the participant may seek a professional teaching certificate in the state of Florida.
The Hillsborough County Public Schools ACP is a three-part program, which includes:
- Demonstration of the Pre-professional Benchmark Level of the Florida Educator Accomplished Practices (FEAPs).
- Teaching experience under the supervision of a trained ACP support team.
- Professional development components designed to provide participants with quality training opportunities while demonstrating mastery of the FEAPs.
TO QUALIFY FOR PROGRAM
A candidate must
- Be a paid instructional employee of the Hillsborough County Public Schools or School Board-approved charter school in a teaching assignment that does not vary from day to day (at least half-time or its equivalent) and be classified as the teacher of record for the assigned teaching position.
- Hold or be eligible for a temporary teaching certificate from the Florida Department of Education.
- Attend an ACP information meeting to receive a program packet and application.
- Obtain hiring principal’s signature on the ACP application as evidence of agreement to coordinate the ACP internship on site.
- Sign the ACP application as an agreement of participation.
- Sign the appropriate ACP payroll deduction form or submit a check made payable to Hillsborough County Public Schools.
- Submit application materials to the ACP office on or before April 30 of the current school year.
A school district, Human Resources Personnel Placement Supervisor identifies a teacher who is a non-education major. At employee processing, the teacher receives a memo concerning the Alternative Certification Program and contacts the ACP office for more information. The eligible ACP candidate attends an informational meeting where he/she may obtain program documents and an application.
The employee obtains the signature of the hiring principal as indicating agreement to coordinate and implement the ACP internship on site. The employee signs the completed application for the Hillsborough County Public Schools ACP as an agreement of participation. The completed application and appropriate program fee agreement form are sent to the Professional Development Office. Applications are accepted throughout the year until the last day of April of the current school year. Participants in the third year of their temporary certificate may not join the program after September 30 of the current school year.
After receiving the completed application and fee agreement document, the ACP Office will send an acceptance letter to the teacher and meet with the hiring principal, who coordinates the ACP internship on site. Participants can then register for and attend the required ACP Thinking Maps® Orientation session. Once this session is complete, the participant can register for the 6 required ACP courses in PDS.
The site-based program begins with the first formal observation by a site administrator. The ACP support team (site administrator and district mentor) meets to evaluate the teacher’s competency based on the Pre-professional level of the 6 FEAPs following the formal observation by the administrator. Cycle I consists of at least four observations/data collections which pertain to the teacher successfully demonstrating the FEAPs outlined in the Administrator Formal Classroom Observation Summary. Data collections can include the Backwards Lesson Plan, Analyzing Student Work and Equity Observation. At the end of the cycle, the support team meets to discuss progress toward the goals outlined in the Administrator Formal Classroom Observation Summary and plan for cycle II. Cycle II consists of at least three observations/data collections and should focus on additional areas for focus. The support team meets at the end of Cycle II to discuss progress and to plan for Cycle III. Cycle III consists of at least two observations/data collections and ends with the formal observation by the administrator. Once again the support team meets to discuss progress toward goals and to determine whether the teacher has successfully demonstrated all 6 FEAPs.
If the principal determines the teacher has not successfully demonstrated all of the FEAPs and can still benefit from additional support, the teacher may be continued in ACP for additional time. If the teacher has completed the required teaching 180 days plus preplanning and post-planning, and has consistently successfully demonstrated all 6 of the FEAPs, the principal may opt to sign the teacher out of the school-based component of ACP.
Upon completion of the program, the site administrator duplicates the portfolio contents and sends the entire original portfolio to the Professional Development Office for review. Professional Development verifies the participant’s completion status.
After verification of successful completion of all required professional development component courses, completion of the electronic portfolio and successful demonstration of the FEAPs, the Supervisor of the Alternative Certification Program signs the participant out of the ACP and sends a letter of verification of program completion to the Office of Professional Standards. The portfolio is returned to the principal who keeps it at the site for a minimum of five years.
The Hillsborough County Public Schools Office of Professional Standards initiates the Florida Department of Education (DOE) Professional Educators Competencies Form for the Superintendent’s signature, which is then sent to DOE. The information is kept on file in Tallahassee until the teacher applies for his professional teaching certificate.
For more information, please contact Scott Richman, ED.D, Supervisor, Professional Development at (813) 840-7032 or email him at Scott.Richman@sdhc.k12.fl.us.