HCS approved as Educator Preparation Provider
Posted on 02/23/2024
HCS approved as Educator Preparation Provider(Chattanooga, Tennessee) - Hamilton County Schools (HCS) is poised to begin preparing industry specialists for careers in the classroom after being approved as an Educator Preparation Provider (EPP) by the Tennessee State Board of Education last week.

Hamilton County’s initial approval as an EPP initially includes teacher preparation in the area of Career and Technical Education for grades 6-12. Under the program, HCS will fill a role that has traditionally rested with universities. As an EPP, HCS will be able to streamline and tailor the path followed by industry experts looking for an alternative way to become a classroom teacher. As a job-embedded program, candidates will gain experience as a classroom teacher while simultaneously earning their teaching credentials.

“Seeking and receiving approval as an EPP is a major step forward for our school district that required a lot of work by our Human Resources and CTE teams,” said Superintendent Dr. Justin Robertson. “In addition to allowing us to better serve our incoming CTE educators, our EPP program will help us to better recruit teachers in this growing subject area by offering a less complicated path to obtaining a teaching license.“

The EPP designation will permit HCS to put experts into CTE classrooms with the wraparound supports they need to be successful while simultaneously obtaining their teaching credential.

“The EPP will allow us to ensure that Every Employee is Valued in unique ways,” said HCS Director of Talent Acquisition Jesse Gray, who previously served as programs manager for the Nashville-based EPP, Nashville Teacher Residency. “Combining on-the-job training, professional development, and rigorous coaching will provide career-changers entering CTE Occupational classrooms with the support they need to be successful.”

According to HCS Future Ready Students Director Olivia Bagby, the EPP designation will make it easier to fill CTE vacancies with quality candidates across the county.

“The approval of Hamilton County Schools' Educational Preparation Program for Occupational License CTE teachers is the district's next step in ensuring we are recruiting the very best industry professionals to teach in our high-quality career and technical education programs of study,” Bagby said. “This move signifies a commitment to excellence in preparing educators who not only possess subject matter expertise, but who also have the desire to invest in Chattanooga's future workforce by engaging and inspiring students.

“With this EPP approval, we will be able to provide CTE teachers with in-house access to ongoing training, support, and networking opportunities, ensuring they have continuous support in mastering teaching best practices. Ultimately, this EPP will give Hamilton County Schools the ability to empower more CTE teachers to make a lasting impact on students' lives, equipping them with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in today's dynamic workforce.”

As part of the EPP program, HCS will provide a combination of teacher training, including professional-style learning opportunities and one-on-one mentorship. Candidates will be actively coached by program faculty in addition to their building-level mentors. The program for each new teacher will take 18 months from start to finish and end with the candidate earning an initial teaching license with a CTE Occupational endorsement.

While the initial approval of Hamilton County’s EPP program only applies to CTE educators, the district plans to expand its offerings in the future to bring the same benefits to teachers in other subject areas.

HCS is currently seeking applicants for the EPP CTE program, which will begin in July. For more information on the program, you can email [email protected].