At a press conference this morning, Governor Ron DeSantis introduced three new initiatives for teacher recuritment. The three proposals will be introduced to the 2023 Legislative Session. Designed to increase Florida’s list of teachers, the first initiative builds upon using military veterans as teachers in a program known as the Military Veterans Certification Pathway which allows Florida veterans to receive a 5-year temporary teaching certificate while earning their bachelor’s degrees. Program requirements include at least four years of active duty military service with an honorable/medical discharge; at lease 60 college credits with a 2.5 grade point average; a passing score on a Florida subject area examination; and Employment in a Florida school district, inclusive of charter schools.
The new intitiative taps into using all first responder personnel. Incentives will include fee waivers and bonuses. The second inititaive is an apprenticeship program that provides bonuses to teachers for mentoring aspiring teachers with an associate’s degree. DeSantis stress the importance of hands on classroom learning instead of the formality of sitting in a classroom. The final initiative is a scholarship program for teachers from Kindergarten to grade 12 interested in teaching dual enrollment courses on high school campuses. This program affords high school teachers the ability to earn their Master’s Degree while teaching at their current high school.
“These three initiatives will build on our efforts to increase recruitment and retention of high quality teachers,” said Gov. DeSantis in a recent press release. “Great teachers don’t become great teachers because they are sitting in a university lecture hall. What makes a teacher great is being in the classroom, watching other teachers, and seeing what works. With today’s announcement we will be helping more teachers gain that critical firsthand experience and we will be recruiting first responders and veterans to continue their service in the classroom. Our students will greatly benefit from these programs.”
“Our number one educational priority is ensuring there is a high-quality teacher in every single Florida classroom,” said Florida Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz, Jr. in a recent press release. “I have been holding roundtable meetings with teachers from across the state to learn more about steps we can take to improve our recruitment and retention efforts. Under Governor DeSantis’ leadership, I look forward to implementing these new initiatives and more to further increase Florida’s reputation as the education state.”
Bonuses for Retired Military Veterans and Retired First Responders:
A one-time bonus will apply to retired military veterans and retired first responders who commit to teaching full-time for two years.
A signing bonus will be issued for teaching in a Florida Department of Education identified as a critical teacher shortage.
Waivers of certification exam fees will be issued to all retired first responders.
The Teacher Apprenticeship Temporary Certification Pathway:
This will Florida’s thirteenth different teaching pathway.
Applicants must have an associate’s degree from an accredited postsecondary institution, a 3.0 cumulative grade point average, and must pass a background check.
Temporary certificates are good for two years. Team teaching will be required to fulfill the apprentice’s on-the-job training component. Individuals will be able to to earn a paycheck while working toward their bachelor’s degree.
Mentor teachers must have at least seven years of teaching experience with excellent VAM score ratings or district performance reviews.
Mentors will be eligible for a bonuses after one successful year of the apprenticeship and half after the second year.
The Dual Enrollment Educator Scholarship Program:
Kindergarten through 12th grade teachers can ernscholarship funds towards their master’s degree to cover tuition costs and fees. This includes a book stipend each semester.
Educators who earn their master’s degree can provide dual enrollment coursework directly to high school students. This increases access to dual enrollment in Florida’s high schools, particularly in low-moderate income and rural schools.
Applicants must be accepted into, or currently enrolled in, an approved graduate program in a subject in their area of certification and complete their graduate degree within three years of the award.