A teacher must understand how students learn and develop, and apply that knowledge in the teacher’s practice. Performances that reflect attainment of this standard include accurately identifying and teaching to the developmental abilities of students.
A teacher must teach students with respect for their individual and cultural characteristics. Performances that reflect attainment of this standard include identifying and using instructional strategies and resources that are appropriate to the individual and special needs of students.
Standard 2: A beginning teacher understands how students learn and develop and applies that knowledge in the teacher’s practice. Performances that reflect attainment of this standard include
(B) providing instructional opportunities to meet the needs of students based on
(ii) the individual and special needs of students, including students with different learning styles, students at different stages of development, students with disabilities, limited English proficient students, and gifted students.
Is knowledge of working with students with disabilities included in leader standards?
The Standards for Alaska’s Administrators do not specifically address knowledge of working with students with disabilities. However, administrators are held to all of the Alaska Standards for Teachers.
Teacher Preparation – Program Approval/Accreditation
Required course work in teaching students with disabilities/diverse learners
The state does not require course work in teaching students with disabilities. However, in addition to National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) standards, Alaska teacher preparation programs are required to structure their program around Alaska’s Beginning Teacher Standards and the Guidelines for Preparing Culturally Responsive Teachers for Alaska’s Schools. Beginning Teacher Standards require candidates to provide “instructional opportunities to meet the needs of … students with disabilities.” The Guidelines require teacher candidates to complete 3 semester hours in both Alaska studies and multicultural education or cross-cultural communications.
Clinical time in diverse settings/teaching special populations
Our state policy review did not identify requirements for clinical time in diverse settings/teaching special populations. Clinical experience is an institutional decision based on NCATE standard three: Clinical experiences and clinical practice:
The unit and its school partners design, implement and evaluate field experiences and clinical practice so that teacher candidates develop and demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to help all students learn.
All four universities in Alaska with state approved teacher education programs (Alaska Pacifica University, University of Alaska Anchorage, University of Alaska Fairbanks, and University of Alaska Southeast) are accredited by NCATE.
Teacher preparation programs in Alaska are NCATE accredited. The state does not independently monitor preparation programs by collecting program-specific, objective data that reflect program performance, nor has it established minimum performance standards that can be used for accountability purposes.
Principal Preparation – Program Approval/Accreditation
Required course work in leading a school/district that serves students with disabilities/diverse learners
To qualify for a regular Type B Administrative certificate, an applicant must have:
At least three years experience as a certificated teacher or special service provider
Three semester hours of approved Alaska studies and three semester hours of approved multicultural education/cross-cultural communications
Special education administrator endorsements require an Institutional Recommendation showing completion of an approved special education administrative program from a regionally accredited university and verification of at least three years of employment as a certified special education teacher or school psychologist, with a teaching or special services certificate or comparable certificate issued by another state.
Are programs reviewed based on outcomes of graduates’ success? Can school principals be linked back to institutions of higher education and preparation programs?
Apart from institutional accreditation, Alaska does not employ an accountability system that governs principal preparation.
Teacher and Principal Certification/Licensure
Teacher Certification/Licensure – Structure
Is a specific certificate, license or endorsement related to special education required?
Alaska does not distinguish between elementary and secondary special education teachers. The state offers only a K-12 education certification. Alaska also offers a certification specifically geared to early childhood. Candidates wishing to become special-education teachers must, in addition to meeting other requirements for teacher certification, secure an endorsement based upon completion of an approved teacher-training program in special education.
Does the state require teachers to pass a basic skills exam for initial certification? What are the pass rates on the exams? Does the state require Praxis II or more pedagogical assessment for licensure? Does it include anything about teaching diverse learners or special populations?
Beginning teachers in all content areas must pass all three Praxis I tests (in either format)or other approved basic competency examination. Alaska does not require teachers to take any of the Principles of Learning and Teaching exams.
Is professional development around working with special populations required to move from initial to a professional license?
The state does not require professional development on working with special student populations for general education teachers to move from initial to professional license. However, special education teachers must, in addition to meeting other requirements for teacher certification, secure an endorsement based upon completion of an approved teacher-training program in special education.
Is prior teaching experience required to become a principal and/or a superintendent? Is specific coursework or other evidence required around working with special populations?
Alaska requires school leaders to obtain a master’s degree, have prior teaching experience, and complete a state-approved preparation program.
Principals: Candidates must have at least three years experience as a certificated teacher, complete an approved teacher education program in school administration, and obtain a master’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited institution. Other requirements include a recommendation of the preparing institution, three semester hours of approved Alaska studies, three semester hours of approved multicultural education/cross-cultural communications studies, and six semester hours or nine-quarter hours of credit earned during the five-year period preceding the date of application.
Superintendents: Superintendent endorsements require an Institutional Recommendation showing completion of an approved superintendency program from a regionally accredited university and verification of at least five years of employment as a classroom teacher or administrator.
The Alaska Department of Education & Early Development has partnered with the University of Alaska to create the Alaska Statewide Mentor Project (ASMP) to support early-career teachers and principals. The project provides individualized support to first- and second-year teachers in districts that invite ASMP to serve their beginning teachers. The ASMP launched during the 2004- 2005 school year and has historically served more than 300 new teachers per year in rural areas of Alaska. More recently, a $15 million i3 grant from the U.S. Department of Education has enabled ASMP to expand its services to early-career teachers in the four urban areas within the state.
Is coaching/mentoring required for all new principals/administrators/ superintendents and for how many years? If so, do program guidelines/requirements specifically serving diverse learners?
State policy does not require induction support for new school administrators. New principals in schools that participate in the Alaska Administrator Coaching Project (AACP) — the sister program to the Alaska Statewide Mentor Project — receive coaching. The Alaska Department of Education & Early Development established AACP in January 2005. The AACP focuses on helping administrators develop in four critical areas: interpersonal and facilitation skills, teacher observation and feedback, effective school-level practices and classroom-level practices, and using data to improve instruction. The program serves new-to-position principals for two years and new-to-position superintendents for one year. Ten AACP coaches served 70 principals, 3 superintendents and 17 pre-service principal interns during the 2012–2013 school year.
This website was produced under U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, Award No. H325A170003. David Guardino serves as the project officer. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the positions or polices of the U.S. Department of Education. No official endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education of any product, commodity, service, or enterprise mentioned in this website is intended or should be inferred.