Chris Schulz Published

Potential Policy Revisions Add New Pathways To Teaching

Students at desks taking a standardized testVectorfusionart/Adobe Stock

The teacher shortage was one of the first items on the agenda during the April legislative interim meetings, just a month after the end of the regular session.

The Legislative Oversight Commission on Education Accountability heard about revisions to the state’s licensure requirements for public school education personnel in West Virginia Board of Education Policy 5202.

The revisions add temporary teaching certificates to the categories of licenses. This allows individuals who do not meet the requirements for a professional teaching certificate, but who have been hired by a public school, to receive a temporary certificate.

Robert Hagerman, director of the Office of Certification for the West Virginia Department of Education said the revisions aim to address the state’s teacher shortage.

“The changes that we have incorporated in the policy open certain flexibilities for all areas because in West Virginia, across the state, depending on the county, those shortages could be in any particular subject,” Hagerman said.

A temporary renewable teaching certificate for applicants with an expired, out-of-state certificate is also included in the revisions, as is a temporary teaching certificate for program completers. 

The latter certificate can only be issued one time for an individual who has completed an approved preparation program, but failed to meet the necessary Praxis exam score twice.

Sen. Rollan Roberts, R-Raleigh, asked if the addition of the temporary certificates did not lower the standards for educators.

Hagerman replied that the standards are not being lowered, and instead a new layer of licensing is being included.

“Instead of being so prescriptive that you can only meet the standard in one particular way, we’ll give you about three or four other options to meet that standard,” Hagerman said. “But all of those are within a minimum threshold quality supported by the district, supported by the particular school and supported by the West Virginia Department of Education.”

Sen. Mike Oliverio, R-Monongalia, asked about revisions to early childhood classroom assistant teacher authorizations. The changes allow assistant teachers already authorized for grade levels pre-K and Kindergarten to add grades one through three to their authorization.

“What we have done is provided an avenue for those who are already certified to Grade K to come back and while they’re employed take a couple of modules for literacy, numeracy and all the things required up to third grade to be able to transition into those positions,” Hagerman said.
Public comment on the changes is open until May 15.