The Tennessee Department of Education, in partnership with Study.com, recently announced all Tennessee Teacher Apprenticeship candidates through the Tennessee Grow Your Own Center have free access to “Keys to the Classroom” to provide test prep support for their licensure tests to earn their Tennessee teacher’s license.
“Keys to the Classroom” will provide high-quality test preparation supports, removing barriers for teacher apprentices preparing to take licensure tests to earn their teacher’s license. Participating districts in the Tennessee Grow Your Own Center will have access to 1,200 free licenses for their prospective teachers to be equipped with the tools and knowledge needed to prepare for and pass their teacher licensure tests. In Tennessee and across the nation, passing the required licensure test to earn a teacher’s license can be a significant obstacle and further challenges districts as they work to combat staffing shortages. This initiative, as a part of the state’s Grow Your Own strategic efforts, will help eliminate barriers to ensure more qualified teachers are entering the teaching profession in Tennessee.
“Leveraging the ‘Keys to the Classroom’ resources in Tennessee further emphasizes our commitment to ensure every child has a well-trained, high-quality educator in their classroom,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “Too often, the financial and preparation barriers prevent outstanding Tennesseans from entering our classrooms. We are grateful that partners like Study.com are joining in our strategic efforts through teacher apprenticeships to strengthen the educator pipeline through no-cost, high-quality opportunities.”
Tennessee is the first state in the country to sponsor registered teacher occupation apprenticeships between school districts and Educator Preparation Providers (EPPs). Tennessee’s Teacher Apprenticeship models align leading practices in teacher preparation and development with the rigors of the national registered apprenticeship process. In May 2022, the department announced a $20 million investment to create the Tennessee Grow Your Own (GYO) Center, in partnership with the University of Tennessee System. With a presence in every county and multiple campus locations, the University of Tennessee System is attracting more aspiring educators to the profession. The GYO Center is leading innovative teacher apprenticeship programs for educator credentialing, ensuring districts and candidates statewide have access to varied programs, degrees, and matches for their localized needs – at no cost.
“The Tennessee Grow Your Own Center is thrilled to support the delivery of Study.com’s tremendous offerings to our teacher apprentice districts and candidates,” said Executive Director Erin Crisp. “The center supports greater access and opportunity for future educators, and our commitment to quality programs and statewide scale will ensure a pipeline of high-quality educators, ultimately benefiting the outcomes of our Tennessee students for years to come.”
Through Grow Your Own programs across the state, each teacher apprentice will become a licensed and endorsed Tennessee educator. Each K-12 teacher apprentice is employed by the respective district and takes related coursework through the partnering EPP. To ultimately attain their teaching license, along with meeting other apprenticeship requirements, teacher apprentices seeking licensure and additional endorsements must submit qualifying scores on all required content assessments developed and administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), National Evaluation Services (NES) or the Tennessee Language Center.
“As the teacher shortage crisis continues to affect schools across the nation, we are doubling down in our investment in building a more diverse teacher pipeline through Keys to the Classroom,” said Dana Bryson, SVP of Social Impact at Study.com. “We are proud to work with innovative partners like Tennessee’s Department of Education, which has created a state-wide, sustainable model for teacher recruitment with innovative pathways to becoming a certified teacher.”
Through Keys to the Classroom, Study.com partners with state education departments, school districts, colleges of education, and education-focused nonprofits to help aspiring educators prepare and pass their credentialing exams. Keys to the Classroom is currently in 20 states, and Study.com has committed to donating over $4 million in test prep materials. Across the nation, hundreds of teacher cadets are currently enrolled in Keys to the Classroom, including 50 percent who identify as people of color. Keys to the Classroom was recently honored by Tech and Learning with an Award of Excellence for Primary Education.