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Change in emergency certified teacher requirement causing confusion

Posted at 5:58 PM, Nov 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-05 19:36:08-05

TULSA, Okla. — Hundreds of teachers in classrooms across the state are emergency certified. Now, the state changed a requirement for certain emergency certifications that is causing some confusion.

Tulsa Public Schools employs more than 400 emergency certified teachers. Those who teach Pre-K through 3rd grade could be at risk of losing their jobs. The state now requires the teachers to get training in the “LETRS” program - which teaches educators how to teach reading. The requirement applies to teachers with an emergency certificate that expires Dec. 31, who do not have previous year's experience teaching Pre-K-3rd grade and who lack at least 15 hours of course work.

TPS said this continued education is important for students success.

“What we’re focused on are individuals who are continue to work towards taking their requisite exams that the state requires and moving towards that bar," said Quentin Liggins, director of talent acquisition, retention and development for TPS.

The Tulsa Classroom Teachers Association said some emergency certified teachers are having trouble knowing when their testing deadlines are because they keep getting moved.

“You should have to show some progress," said Shawna Mott-Wright, vice president of TCTA. "However, there should be a concrete due date and something mapped out and laid out for you. This is what you need to do by this date.”

TPS said they adjust what is required for emergency certified teachers based on what the state tells them.

“We have communicated to our school leaders as well and asked them to continue to cascade that message down to their educators who need to complete who need to complete the "LETRS" training," Liggins said. "So right now we’re feeling pretty positive that those individuals who need that requirement met will be able to do so.”

The training must be complete by Nov. 15. There are two training opportunities left. One is Nov. 6-8 at Tulsa Tech in Owasso. The second is Nov. 11-13 in Oklahoma City.

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