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Grow Your Own: Addressing Vacancies and Shortages

Future Proud Michigan Educator Grow Your Own School Personnel Grant Opportunity

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) is continuing the Future Proud Michigan Educator (Future PME) initiative with a new grant opportunity for districts to support K-12 school personnel. This grant is an extension of Michigan’s efforts to grow and diversify the educator workforce and reduce educator shortages through the Future PME initiative.

Grant Information

This guidance focuses on the existing pool of potential candidates for addressing current school vacancies and staffing needs in the State of Michigan.

To instruct Michigan students effectively, the department believes that teachers should exhibit competency in three areas of the profession:

  • Content Knowledge for Teaching
  • Pedagogical Practices
  • Professional Behaviors

Traditionally, these competencies are demonstrated by educator candidates through the following components:

  • Program Completion
  • Clinical Experiences
  • Licensure Assessment

The department recommends that local districts consider specific categories of candidates for addressing vacant teacher positions that may already illustrate some of these competencies. Along with proper supports and partnerships with educator preparation providers (EPPs), these candidates have the potential to meet both short-term and long-term vacancy needs.

Information about Michigan Substitute Permits

Current Certified Staff

Certified teachers, either currently under employment with a school or seeking employment, are an underutilized and potential pool of candidates from which vacancies can be filled. These individuals possess the knowledge, pedagogy and methodology for working with students. Their expertise in the profession makes them viable candidates for expanding a candidate pool. The recommended options for utilizing these teachers include:

Student Teachers

Students enrolled in preparation programs to become teachers, such as those currently in a student teaching assignment, are an underutilized and potential pool of candidates from which vacancies can be filled. These candidates are committed to the teaching profession and are gaining the knowledge, pedagogy and methodology for working with students. The recommended options for utilizing these teachers include:

  • Daily Substitute Permit
  • Full-year Basic Substitute Permits

It is vital to the success of both the student teacher’s preparation program, and the success of this particular grow-your-own concept, that the student’s educator preparation program be strategically, intentionally and collaboratively involved in this option.

Paraprofessionals

Paraprofessionals currently employed in local districts have existing relationships with staff, knowledge of student learning styles and often hold content knowledge for specific courses and district curriculum. These individuals possess expertise in the profession, which makes them viable candidates for expanding a candidate pool. The recommended options for utilizing these teachers include:

Out-of-State Candidates

While an out-of-state license does not authorize placement in a Michigan school, these educators are highly likely to become certified in Michigan. Districts often have educators from other states apply for open positions. Reciprocity provides the opportunity for these educators to be evaluated for Michigan certification and subsequently placed into open positions. This can greatly expand the candidate pool for many districts. MCL 380.1531 provides two different flexibilities assist with placing these candidates into positions:

  • Temporary Teaching Certificate
  • Waiving Testing Requirements

The Office of Educator Excellence (OEE) has a 96% approval rate for out-of-state evaluations*. The recommended options for utilizing these teachers while they work with OEE to gain Michigan certification include:

  • Daily Substitute Permit
  • Full-year Basic Substitute Permits

*Lack of documentation is the number one reason for a delay in the evaluation of an out-of-state application. An applicant’s status can remain on “Hold” for up to two years or until the evaluation is complete. 

Career Changers

Often community members hope to make a career change and enter the education profession. These candidates often reach out to local districts for this opportunity. Career changers should enroll into a preparation program, or an alternative route to educator certification, to become teachers. However, they are also potential candidates from which vacancies can be filled. They are committed to the teaching profession and are gaining the knowledge, pedagogy and methodology for working with students. The recommended options for utilizing these individuals include:

Community Members

Community members can assist schools with providing expertise for courses that the district may wish to offer. Local museum faculty, doctors, dance studio staff, accountants, among others, can work with districts to provide unique learning opportunities for students. Through partnerships, community members can be potential candidates for providing specialized instruction. The recommended options for utilizing these teachers include:

Staffing Flexibilities

The flexibilities provided for these specific categories of candidates are not all inclusive but indicate an option for most hiring and staffing scenarios found within Michigan schools.

Individuals working under permits, approvals, and authorizations must be enrolled in preparation programs leading to certification as a condition of renewal. In some circumstances they may be able to complete certification requirements without taking a semester (or year) off to complete student teaching. MCL 380.1233b(7) specifies that if a noncertificated, non-endorsed teacher completes three (3) years of successful classroom teaching, as determined by regular observation and review by school district and EPP personnel, the teacher shall utilize that teaching experience for the purpose of waiving student teaching.

 

Learn more about staffing flexibilities and placement.