October 5, 2004
New Mexico Public Education Department
300 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, NM 87501-2786

Jennifer Chavez
Public Information Officer
(505) 476-0393
jchavez@ped.state.nm.us

NM Transition to Teaching a Statewide Program Offers a Unique Pathway to Recruit Exceptional New Teachers

(Santa Fe, NM)- The Public Education Department applied for and received a competitive five- year Federal Grant to implement a statewide program called, “New Mexico Transition to Teaching” to develop the alternative licensure portfolio route. Traditionally the State offered only one method to achieve licensure through an accredited teacher preparation bachelor program; now if someone has a bachelor’s degree they have several options.

In 2001, the legislature passed the alternative licensure rule that allowed people to pursue a fast track program as well as a portfolio program as new options towards achieving licensure. New Mexicans agree that providing a first-rate education for every child is one of the most important issues facing our country. Multiple studies show that there is no greater factor in successful student learning than the quality of teachers in our schools.

Secretary, Dr. Veronica Garcia remarked, “We are so excited about the possibilities that this Federal funding will allow us to develop in our Transition to Teaching program specifically in the portfolio method of licensure. This funding allows us to help 39 high need districts recruit highly qualified teachers.”

The New Mexico Transition to Teaching program attracts high caliber and highly qualified individuals who may not have achieved their qualification through traditional university/college settings but none-the-less they have achieved mastery in the required competencies for licensure. The portfolio option provides potential teachers with more individualized plans that recognize the great diversity we have in our State population. The New Mexico Transition to Teaching program also gives rural districts a way to grow their own and it offers districts more flexibility and options for recruiting the very best teachers into their classrooms. People with bachelor’s degrees in rural communities who might normally be discouraged by the daunting prospect of commuting to a college or university can apply their professional experience and gain the appropriate training to fill in any gaps through an individually tailored program.

Transition to Teaching has several modules on their website to help potential teachers gain the knowledge they need across all competencies. Secretary, Dr. Garcia provides an excellent introduction to the challenges and the benefits of teaching in New Mexico in one of the on-line modules. For more information go to: WWW.TEACHNM.ORG or contact Kersti Tyson (505) 827-3962.