Click on each section below to learn more about what ECP has to offer.
Currently there are over 120 alternative certification programs across the state of Texas. Some are based in school districts, some are for profit companies, some are service center based and some are housed in universities. It is important to investigate the history of the program that you choose to make sure that the program will meet your needs as a prospective teacher.
The Region 13 Educator Certification Program has been certifying teachers since 1992 through this alternative route. The ECP has evolved and grown throughout the years by adapting to the legislative requirements and continually revising the curriculum to meet the needs of today’s beginning teachers.
As a part of a regional service center, the ECP program has access to the latest research based trends and practices in the field of education. Because so many programs and trainings are presented here in our building, we are often able to offer nationally recognized presenters and trainings to our interns.
SRI International selected the Region 13 ECP to be highlighted in their national study of seven alternative certification programs, funded by a Carnegie Corporation grant, Characteristics of Effective Alternative Teacher Certification Programs. According to the principal investigator and project director, “This study will have the attention of policy-makers across the nation who are looking for solutions to teachers shortages while meeting new federal requirements for teacher qualifications.”
When ECP interns go through their first year of teaching as participants of the program, they are contracted and paid as teachers-of-record with their employing school district, and receive full benefits and full-time salary per the hiring district's salary schedule.
Obtaining this 1st year teaching position is the responsibility of the ECP intern. We do not place individuals in this internship.
ECP also offers the Transition to Teaching Language Leaders program which is a certification program funded through a grant from the US Department of Education. This grant offers training to teachers beyond the initial certification year and pays stipends of just under $5000 to participants who complete the whole program.
ECP offers a fee schedule that is competitive with most other programs. ECP fees cover not only all instruction and most course materials, but also include field support visits to the participant’s classroom and mentor support on the campus.
ECP currently offers a guaranteed $2000 scholarship towards inservice fees for any teacher seeking certification in the critical needs areas.
***Please note that critical needs areas are designated by the Texas Education Agency on a yearly basis and are subject to change.
Region 13 has always emphasized the importance of mentoring and retention systems in teacher preparation programs. A beginning teacher’s experience is both informational and emotional; therefore giving novice teachers the support they need to fulfill their professional mission is necessary. The ECP offers one of the most innovative support systems which has been used as a model for teacher preparation programs throughout the state.
ECP classes are taught using a cohort model. This means that you will remain with the same group of beginning teachers through most of your training period with ECP. Relationships formed during this training often follow our interns throughout their teaching career.
Region 13 provides and trains an on-campus mentor teacher that will help to support teacher interns during their certification year. Region 13 also provides and trains a field specialist who will visit the intern’s classroom, observe lessons being taught and provide individual feedback and support to each teacher intern.
Training classes are offered both prior to stepping in to the classroom to teach and also during the first year of teaching to better target the specific needs of a first year teacher.
ECP interns gain not only from the relationships and networks they build in the program, but also from the irreplaceable relationships the ECP and Region 13 have built with many districts in the state of Texas over the years. When choosing a certification program, it is important to look for a program that is well respected as being reputable with the school district in which you hope to teach.
Research shows that students prefer and benefit most from blended training and its ability to combine the luxury of personal scheduling with peer-to-peer interaction, therefore ECP classes are offered using a blended mode of delivery. About 2/3 of classes are offered in a face-to-face mode of delivery and 1/3 of classes are offered online. ECP believes that it is important for much of its content to be offered in a face-to-face format where excellent content can be offered and good teaching practices can be modeled as well. When choosing a program, it is important to think about your preferred learning style.
Also, Region 13 holds classes on nights and weekends so that you can continue to work at your present job until you are ready to step into the classroom for your first day of teaching.
The Educator Certification Program's curriculum is based on state standards established by the State Board for Educator Certification and are aligned with the state board exams, the state Professional Development and Appraisal System Framework, as well as the state curriculum established for Texas public schools (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills-TEKS.) This ensures that teachers are prepared with information which is relevant to them and to the teaching profession.
The Pedagogy and Professional Responsibility curriculum units include:
In addition to covering all aspects of instructional planning, this unit covers identifying key knowledge and skills, designing activities that promote learning and selecting appropriate methods to assess learning.
While emphasizing the “heart of teaching,” the instructional delivery unit focuses on the ability to deliver focused, rigorous, and engaging instruction.
This comprehensive unit develops a novice teacher’s ability to create a community of learners based on rapport and mutual respect.
Professional educators know teaching is a responsibility, not just a job. The professionalism unit covers the areas outside of the classroom - from reflection and professional growth to contributions to the school and profession as a whole.
Content Specific Curriculum for Certification Areas:
Special Education, Bilingual Generalist, Elementary ESL Generalist. Although the transcript evaluation helps to determine the preparation and knowledge of the applicant for the content exam at the middle and secondary level certificates, the ECP does prepare the special education, bilingual, and elementary ESL applicants in their supplemental content area.
Content specific pedagogy classes are also included for each secondary content area.
During the spring or summer, ECP interns in the ATA, ELEM&SECONDARY, and SPED programs participate in two weeks of “field experience” (or “mini” student teaching). Throughout this time, interns gain experience including designing instruction, performing observations, and conducting lessons in a classroom setting. This experience contributes to employability and networking.
Interns who come into the program as “late-hires” (hired after June 15) and enter through our District Referral Program or Career and Technical Program are required to complete 30 hours of field based experience on their own. This field based experience combines observations and in-class experiences working with students. Please contact one of our program specialists for more information.
No Child Left Behind and Alternative Certification
The Federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) places, among other things, an emphasis on ensuring that all of the nation's children have the benefit of a highly qualified teacher. NCLB places an increased emphasis on a teacher's knowledge of the subject matter they are responsible for teaching and requires prospective teachers to demonstrate subject matter competency prior to teaching. Each state is responsible for developing procedures and guidelines to ensure that teachers have subject matter competency before they enter the classroom.
For alternative certification programs in Texas, this has created a need to move the timeline for state testing in subject matter competency to an earlier position in the preparation program. For those certificates that do not require an academic major (all certificates other than grades 7-12 and the following middle level (grades 4-8) certificates: Math, Science, Social Studies, and English Language Arts/Reading), program participants will complete their subject competency state licensing examination in the spring preceding their internship experience. As a result, these candidates will begin their program preparation earlier than the secondary level grades 7-12 certificate candidates and will be required to pass their respective licensing examination prior to accepting employment with a school district.
For candidates who are required to test in the spring, preparation is provided by an online delivery method of coursework. This will require a high level of personal discipline, as candidates will be responsible for managing their time, completing all readings, assignments, and course tests in a timely manner. Prior to the start of the online coursework, an orientation session will be held to introduce candidates to the online course system and to explain course requirements.
For applicants interested in Special Education, the NCLB legislation requires that all teachers be "highly qualified" in their content area. For special education teachers state and federal departments of education are currently leaning toward interpreting this to mean highly qualified in the content they teach, that is math, science, language arts, etc. Therefore, at this time, special education applicants will need to determine the instructional level and/or content area they prefer to teach; EC-6, 4-8, or 7-12. Applicants who indicate the EC-6 will need to take and pass the EC-6 Generalist exam prior to employment. Applicants who indicate 4-8 or 7-12 will need to designate a content area and pass the appropriate content exam. It will be critical that the applicant have a high knowledge of this content, as the state board exam in that content area must be taken and passed prior to employment. For all three of the certificate levels, the online coursework that will start in January will focus on the specific knowledge required for the state board exam and for successful teaching. Special Education applicants will also be required to take and pass a Special Education Exam as well as their content exam to achieve Highly Qualified status and be eligible for employment. Content training and test preparation for this exam will be provided during the late spring (after content preparation) and special education interns will take the Special Education exam in the late spring or early summer.
“Everything we did was so relevant to being a good teacher.”
- ECP Teacher
“Region 13 provided me with the necessary tools to make me successful in my first year of teaching. I had a support system that I knew I could depend on and had to on many occasions.”
- ECP Teacher
“This program is concise (clear, brief, and to the point) for the working teacher with real world experience respected!”
- ECP Teacher
“I am in my third year of teaching and have built my program from the ground up. I still use all the materials that I received with program and I even share them with other veteran teachers. It’s the way to go!!!!!!!!”
- ECP Teacher
“I was a community college culinary instructor and industry professional, but going through the ECP helped me to understand, from a research-based perspective, exactly how and why my instruction was effective. For me, the program was a real confidence-builder. Thanks!”
- ECP Teacher
“The teacher certification program provided me with a hands-on teaching/learning approach that gave me tools to use in my classroom the very next day. I even had veteran teachers asking me for tips and tools my very first year as a teacher!”
- ECP Teacher
“The CTE certification program thoroughly prepared me to be the best teacher I could be. As an experienced teacher, I learned and used as much in my own classroom as novice teachers did! It is taught by quality education professionals using current, proven methods that help you succeed. The best thing? They taught the classes using the actual strategies we should use in our classrooms.”
- ECP Teacher
“The best benefit that I receive is your prompt and always helpful assistance. I know I can count on you to assist with our CTE candidates and keep me informed about their processing. Another big plus for us, since our district tends to hire rather late, is the last-minute enrollment. It seems like teachers are always resigning and we can count on Region 13 to help us out if it is at all possible.”
-District HR Director
“ In the past, it has been very difficult to locate a quality CTE certification program for our teachers. It has been helpful that Region 13 offers certifications in all 7 CTE areas developed from the ground up for Career & Technology Education. We have been very pleased with the growth of our CTE teachers who have participated in the Region 13 program and highly recommend it to all school districts.”