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The School-Based Teacher Certification Program
Without a doubt, teachers are Franklin Academy’s most important resource. They are dedicated, tireless, knowledgeable, and compassionate. Given the size of our student enrollment and the years that we have invested in serving the NLD/ASD/AS population, it is accurate to say that our teachers possess a collective experience that is second to none. And, with a ratio of one professional educator for every two students at Franklin Academy, the boys and girls at our school receive the requisite individual attention to develop the skills and strategies necessary for success in school, career, and life.
Still, we are relentless in our efforts to strengthen the Franklin faculty through an innovative professional development program. This program requires all teachers, residential deans, and learning specialists to participate in a comprehensive professional development process that addresses core teaching competencies while earning a Master’s Degree at a minimum. Our counselors and related services professionals are also participating in this program, but, in addition, they are required to be certified or licensed by the State of Connecticut.
What has been accomplished during this first year of the program? Fourteen of our younger teachers have enrolled in graduate school with financial support for their continuing education coming from Franklin Academy’s Annual Fund. Half of this group is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Special Education and two are pursuing counseling degrees with a focus on Spectrum Disorders. We also helped three counselors and our speech pathologist attend conferences and workshops to maintain their respective credentials. In addition, we now have thirteen faculty members who have been in residence for more than two years at the school, who have met the educational requirements of earning an advanced degree, and have mastered their core teaching competencies. Finally, one of our more experienced colleagues has been approved as a candidate to begin the rigorous two-year program to become a Master Level Teacher.
Given the school’s significant investment to strengthen the faculty, it is gratifying to know that 45 out of the 46 full-time teachers and administrators working at Franklin Academy during the 2013-14 academic year have signed employment contracts to return for the coming year. It is also accurate to say that each of our teachers has earned or is currently pursuing a graduate degree. In the end, the beneficiaries of this continuing commitment of a well-trained faculty to the mission of the school are Franklin Academy’s students.