Atlanta, GA April 15, 2013 – The Georgia Charter Schools Association (GCSA) has broken new ground by creating a job-embedded teacher certification program expressly for charter public school teachers. The program was recently featured in Education Week, as a model for other states to emulate.
Known as GaTAPP, (Georgia Teacher Academy for Preparation and Pedagogy) the innovative training program makes it possible for teachers currently working in Georgia public charter schools, to remain employed while they fulfill their requirements for teacher certification. Before GaTAPP, charter school teachers actually had to leave their jobs in order fulfill their student teaching requirement in a traditional Georgia public school.
It took two full years for GCSA to get the training approved by Georgia’s rigorous Professional Standards Commission, but GaTAPP has now graduated one cohort of teachers, with a second to graduate at the end of the school year. Recruitment is underway for the 2013-14 school year. It has also spawned a sister program, Pre-GaTAPP, which targets aspiring teachers who are interested in teaching in a charter school setting.
Juli Sergi, who is GCSA’s Director of Certification Programs, takes pride in both options. “These are the only charter-specific programs that allow teachers to earn certification while remaining in their charter schools. It’s a critical way to attract good candidates into the charter school sector and to keep good teachers in the charter school pipeline.”
In addition to keeping teachers embedded in their charter schools, the GaTAPP program is tailored to each teacher candidate, and to the curriculum techniques used in each charter school. “There is far greater variation between the way charter schools operate than you’ll find within traditional public school districts,” Sergi explains. “Our training programs serve all of Georgia and we work to account for various styles of instruction, from project-based learning to expeditionary learning, and other innovative charter school techniques.”