- Ector County Independent School District
- Training & Costs
Odessa Pathway to Teaching is an accelerated alternate route program designed to certify new teachers. So how does it work?
Once you’re admitted into the program, you start with the Enrollment Period. The Enrollment Period serves as an extended preparation time to start completing online and in-person test prep and coursework to get ready for Pre-Service Training. The Enrollment Period is a hybrid model, consisting of both self-guided and in-person commitments. You will be expected to attend one night a week and one Saturday session per month and will receive all resources necessary to completing Enrollment Period requirements once admitted.
Once the Enrollment Period has concluded, you will begin Pre-Service Training (PST). PST is an intensive, 5-week training period where you engage in in-person practice teaching and skill-building sessions while receiving ongoing coaching and feedback from experience ECISD staff. To ensure all apprentices are prepared to lead their own classrooms in the fall, PST is a full-time schedule (8am-5pm at a minimum) and complete attendance is mandatory.
Just as you will hold high expectations of your students, we hold exceptionally high expectations of you. By the end of PST, you must demonstrate mastery of instructional skills and a consistent ability to help your students learn to be recommended to begin teaching.
Throughout the experience, we will carefully assess and support your growth, considering a variety of evidence from your classroom to ensure you are developing critical skills and are on track to become a great teacher. At every step, you will know how you are doing and what you need to do to improve.
By setting a high bar and supporting rapid growth, we ensure that you are prepared when you enter the classroom and are ready to make a lifetime of difference for the students who need great teachers most. You can then count on continued training, regular classroom visits, coaching and feedback from our staff throughout your first year— benefits which novice teachers rarely enjoy.
*Note: Please note that the structure of Pre-Service Training remains flexible to respond to federal, state, and district guidelines regarding COVID-19. Our hope is that Pre-Service Training will return to a primarily in-person model next summer, but please be aware that this structure is subject to change. Updates will be shared as we have them.
Upon passing the PST performance screen and receiving passing scores on your subject area TExES exam and Science of Teaching Reading exam (if applicable), you will be eligible for your Intern certificate. Once an Intern certificate is issued and employment is secured within ECISD, the Internship Year begins.
Did you know the Internship Year includes teaching, coursework, skill-building sessions, and testing? Read below to learn more.
The first year is the most foundational to a teacher’s career, and our approach is designed with that understanding in mind. While many schools and teacher training programs treat teachers’ first year like a warm-up, we see it as a critical window of opportunity to help teachers develop essential skills and determine whether they can make a successful career teaching.
Teaching and Training
During the Internship Year, you will work as a full-time teacher within ECISD, receiving regular observations, feedback, and coaching. Shortly after you begin teaching, you will also begin your certification coursework through OPT Academy under the guidance of your course moderator and Instructional Specialist. They will focus their expertise to ensure that you master the most critical knowledge required for your subject along with the skills needed to teach that material effectively.
Lastly, throughout the year you will also participate in skill-building sessions to deepen your proficiency in proven teaching techniques used by top educators nationwide. Through intensive practice and feedback, you’ll achieve fluency in the fundamentals of good teaching while developing the advanced skills you need to grow from good to great. At every step, this training will be customized to reflect your individual strengths and weaknesses.
While you are completing your Internship Year, you will also be required to demonstrate pedagogical skills through one additional measure – either the edTPA portfolio or the PPR Exam. Successful completion of this requirement is essential to being eligible for a Standard certificate and OPT will provide ongoing supporting throughout Pre-Service Training and the Internship Year.
Note: If you are pursuing Math 7-12 or Science 7-12, the Science of Teaching Reading exam is not required.
During your first year, we will use the Performance Evaluation to ensure that you remain on track to become a great teacher. Through the evaluation, we will strive to create the fullest possible picture of your performance, using multiple measures such as principal evaluations, classroom observations and student surveys.
At the end of the year, you must successfully complete all OPT Academy and Internship Year requirements and pass the Performance Evaluation to earn your Standard teaching certificate. Teachers who fall short but who, in the sole discretion of OPT, appear to be on the right trajectory to meet that bar with additional support, may be placed on an extension year to continue improving their teaching under their Probationary certificate, with the opportunity to be re-assessed in their second year of teaching. Though this outcome is relatively uncommon, teachers who do not meet the program requirements will be removed from the program and will not be issued a Standard certificate.
Standard Certificate. Once you have successfully completed all Odessa Pathway to Teaching program requirements, have passed the performance bar, and have passed all TEA-mandated testing requirements, you are eligible for a Standard certificate. Once issued a Standard certificate, you are a fully licensed teacher.
A key component to the Odessa Pathway to Teaching is the ongoing, in-person support that each apprentice receives. Our training model is hands on and personalized, ensuring each apprentice feels supported and prepared to lead their own classroom. See below for more information regarding the support in place through our program:
- Mentor Teachers - Mentor Teachers are high-performing ECISD educators who have been selected to serve in this role. During Pre-Service Training, your Mentor Teacher will provide daily coaching and feedback. This partnership supports apprentices in gaining critical skills from an experienced teacher prior to becoming a teacher of record for their own classroom. During the internship year, a mentor teacher from your campus will be assigned to help guide you during your induction year of teaching.
- Field Supervisors – During your Internship Year, Talent Development Coaches will serve as your field supervisor. The TD Coaches bring with them ample experience in developing teachers. In addition to providing coaching and feedback like the Mentor Teachers, they also conduct observations, lead skill-building sessions, and monitor Pre-Service Training performance.
- Campus Coaches – The district and program goal are to provide you with all the support necessary to grow in the teaching profession. In addition to Mentor teachers and Talent Development coaches, most campuses have instructional specialists that will serve as campus coaches.
This year, tuition and fees for the Odessa Pathway to Teaching total $3,950. School year internship fees of $3,900 are only due once an apprentice is hired and can be paid off in interest-free monthly installments over the course of their first teaching year.
- Fingerprinting Fee - $50
- School Year Internship Fee - $3,900
- Total - $3,950
- Intern Certificate: $78
- Probationary Certificate (if needed): $78
- Standard Certificate: $78
- TExES Exam: $116
- PPR Exam: $116 or edTPA Submission: $300
Odessa Pathway to Teaching is an intensive certification program that has high expectations for participation. To make participation more feasible, financial assistance is available in a variety of ways.
- OPT Scholarship: All apprentices are eligible to apply for the Odessa Pathway to Teaching Scholarship. The scholarship amount is $1,500 and is awarded in one installment prior to the completion of Pre-Service Training. Information about applying for and receiving the scholarship is shared following program admission.
- Testing Stipend: For the Summer 2021 cohort, funds are available to cover apprentices first attempt at the TExES content exam (a $116 value) aligned to their certification area. If the TExES exam is not passed on the first attempt, apprentices will be responsible for covering the cost of ongoing attempts.
- Signing Bonus: Candidates in Secondary ELA, Math, and Science are eligible for a $2,000 hiring bonus after obtaining their intern certificate and securing employment with ECISD.