Compass Alternative Teacher
Certification Academy is designed to transform talented professionals into
great teachers through practical, classroom-centered coursework. Instead of
prioritizing teaching theory, we put a sharp focus on core skills. You will be
trained like a pro athlete, with ample opportunity to practice, reflect, and
improve, until essential teaching techniques become second nature. At every
step, you will be held to the highest performance standards because your
students are counting on teachers capable of delivering game-changing results.
You’ll begin your commitment with a rigorous five-week pre-service training program that is centered on field experience. You will study proven teaching techniques that great teachers use every day to advance student achievement and can expect to practice these techniques intensively, both with peers and with real students.
Rather than overwhelming you with training that is a mile wide but an inch deep, we focus first on mastery of four foundational teaching skills before shifting to more advanced practices. Outstanding local teachers will prepare you to manage a classroom, to deliver the content your students must learn, and to keep students focused on meeting high academic expectations. You must demonstrate proficiency in these fundamental skills by the end of pre-service training to earn teaching eligibility for the fall.
Pre-service training is extremely demanding, and you must attend sessions five days per week, with potential evening workshops and events. Due to the critical importance of pre-service training, you cannot miss any portion. Attendance is mandatory every day.
Beginning in pre-service training and continuing throughout your internship, our coaches will be your most critical line of support as you apply skills from training sessions with students in your classroom. All coaches are experienced, local teachers with a track record of raising achievement in challenging classrooms.
Our coaches will observe you regularly in your classroom, providing real-time guidance to improve your teaching. After class, you will meet to debrief and discuss concrete strategies you can apply in future lessons. Coaches will also pull you into small skill-building sessions to address your high-priority development needs.
You can’t improve if you don’t know what you are doing wrong. Whether you are struggling with lesson planning or striving to improve your classroom management skills, your coach will focus their expertise on helping you quickly get up to speed in that area. This rich feedback and personalized support will help you grow quickly into an effective teacher.
Certification Coursework and Testing
During your internship as a full-time teacher, you will complete certification coursework in accordance with Texas Administrative Code. The centerpiece of this experience will be a regular seminar series to build your content-area expertise and master essential teaching skills. These seminars will be practical and personalized—you'll be able to apply what you study in your classroom the very next day.
Your coursework will focus on content-specific instruction and teaching strategies to ensure that you are capable of helping students master the most critical knowledge in your teaching subject. You will also benefit from practical application of the teaching skills and techniques you studied during pre-service training, as you continue to master more advanced approaches to elevate student achievement. The Compass training academy will include extensive opportunity for practice, with coursework customized to address your development needs using evidence drawn from your actual classroom.
Compass courses take place on a weeknight evening twice a month at a local Dallas ISD campus. It is important to remember that this is in addition to your full-time responsibilities as a classroom teacher. A typical teaching day lasts about eight hours, with classes starting around 8:00 a.m. In addition, all teachers spend time preparing lessons, reviewing student work, attending meetings, or supervising extracurricular activities. Balancing these priorities with certification coursework is demanding, but our classroom-centered training and support will help you rise to the challenge.
COMPASS holds high standards for certification. We use the Assessment of Classroom Effectiveness (ACE) to ensure that you remain on track to become a great teacher. The ACE incorporates a wide variety of evidence from your classroom to create the fullest possible picture of your performance. The ACE is also designed to help you grow – providing regular feedback about your strengths and weaknesses and enabling us to customize coaching and coursework to address your high-priority development needs.
At the end of the school year, you must obtain a passing score on the ACE as one of the requirements to be recommended for certification. By setting a high bar and helping you meet it, we ensure that you are capable of getting real results for students. As a Compass graduate, principals and district officials will know that you are not simply a certified teacher, but one with a proven track record in the classroom.