Stronger Faculty = Stronger School
Few people willingly sign up for anything that resembles extra work. But when that work results in a better return on investment, it's well worthwhile. That's the bottom line of educator certification, and the "payoff" manifests itself in student outcomes.
"Left to our own devices, we would stay where we are," says Dr. Erin Wilcox, ACSI's assistant vice president for Academic Services. "The certification process makes us take additional courses and keeps us growing. You may not like doing the extra work, but you'll like the outcome."
Certification can also ultimately benefit a school in terms of marketing: when teachers are certified, parents see your school as more credible.
"People don't have to send their children to a Christian school—they have options," says Rev. Carl McKee, principal of Cumberland Valley Christian School in Pennsylvania. "Parents want to know first if we're accredited, and then they want to know about our teachers: are they certified. It gives viability to your school when parents know your teachers are continuing their education."
Administrators also benefit from certification. To meet the ACSI renewal requirement they can apply mentorships—a new allowance as of last fall—and graduate courses toward their certification. Erin spoke with someone getting his administrative certificate who said his graduate courses were challenging, but amazing.
"The growth he described was exactly what we want people to experience," says Erin. "He was with people he wouldn't have been with normally, outside his school environment, and it was iron sharpening iron."
ACSI's certification process was updated and streamlined in September 2016.
"We've overhauled all the certification requirements," says Erin. "States have changed their requirements for teaching certificates, and we've responded to some of those changes. We've also clarified the paths to certification. For example, a teacher who only has a content area background such as history will have to take education courses. And a teacher who has come in through an education degree and now wants to focus on a specific content area may have to take courses in a subject like computers."
Educators pursuing ACSI certification will be pleased to know the process is now automated—no more filling out and mailing paper forms. This makes everything faster and more accurate.