OKLAHOMA CITY – EPIC Charter Schools announced today its state-approved UTeach Program, to fast-track professionals with a bachelor’s degree — but not in education — to become certified special education teachers in Oklahoma.
UTeach allows participants the flexibility to control their own schedules while paying them competitive compensation, including full health and retirement benefits and bonus potential. Those accepted into the program will be paid a salary while they are in training.
“It’s not a secret that Oklahoma has a shortage of quality educators, especially in such all-important areas as special education,” said EPIC Superintendent Bart Banfield. “At EPIC, we prize innovation and decided to put it to work for our students with special needs by creating an efficient path for adults with a passion to become teachers to work where they are needed most.”
According to the most recent data (2019) from the Oklahoma State School Boards Association, the state’s special education student-to-teacher ratio is nearly 23 to 1 because Special Education teaching positions are among the most difficult to fill.
UTeach qualifying applicants must have a four-year degree in any major from an accredited college or university, earned a 2.75 cumulative GPA, and pass a state criminal background check. They will begin training and employment on July 1, 2020 by participating in EPIC’s state-approved Special Education Boot Camp. The training is five and a half weeks of specialized training in the education of special needs students and will be a mix of online, collaborative sessions and field experience. After the boot camp, participants will take the Special Education OSAT (mild/moderate) test.
Following completion of the Boot Camp, participants attain a one-year Provisional Special Education Certificate and will begin serving EPIC students with the support of an EPIC mentor. Simultaneously, participants will complete the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence program. Upon completion of the American Board Program, participants are eligible for a five-year Standard Teaching Certificate. Upon receiving their five-year Standard Teaching Certificate, participants will apply to have the SPED (mild/moderate) designation attached to their standard certificate. They will also be encouraged to continue learning by pursuing graduate level coursework in Special Education.
“Anyone looking for a new and worthwhile career should consider serving special needs children and apply to EPIC UTeach,” Banfield said. “It’s a real opportunity to make a difference in the lives of so many.”
Detailed information regarding the multiple phases and requirements of UTeach participants can be found at: https://epiccharterschools.org/uteach.html.