Educational Service District 112 is proud to announce that significant state funding has been made available to provide 50 new scholarships to Washington State educators participating in the ESD’s ESD-University (ESD-U) alternative route to teacher certification program.

The funding approved by House Bill 1139 allows for Washington’s Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to provide scholarships for 20 of the 2019 ESD-U program participants. An additional 30 scholarships will be awarded to individuals participating in the 2020 program cohort.

“We are expanding opportunities for teacher certification and retooling,” said Mike Esping, ESD 112’s director of educator effectiveness and early career development. “This funding, combined with the already reduced rates for teacher certification through ESD 112’s program, is revolutionary.”

The intent of HB 1139 is to expand the current and future educator workforce in the state of Washington. The unique program focuses on increasing the state’s teacher capacity in various shortage areas, including Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) subjects, special education, and bilingual education.

ESD-U was the first non-university or college teacher certification program in Washington. What sets ESD 112’s program apart from other teacher certification programs offered by colleges and universities, is that our instructors are straight from the classroom—current and former teachers, who offer a real-world glimpse into the education world, providing insight stemming directly from their experiences in the classroom as teachers.

“ESD-U’s real-world course content, mentoring support, and district engagement allow for a smooth transition between learning and serving students in the classroom,” said Esping. “ESD-U’s multi-faceted approach of targeted instruction, responsive support and district connections results in a high success rate for program participants.”

Also unique is that school districts have some stake in this new process. ESD-U is a “grow your own” teacher certification program, meaning that school districts are partnering with ESD 112, helping to identify and support employees and teachers already in their districts who are interested in becoming certified or “retooling” to meet the needs of various teacher shortage areas. Right now, those shortage areas are special education, English language learning, reading, and elementary education.

The 20 new recipients of 2019-2020 ESD-U scholarships were selected on September 3. They and the rest of their cohort began coursework July 2019.

The 2020-2021 ESD-U cohort candidates will be eligible to apply for the 30 scholarships made available by this new state funding. Applications for the 2020-2021 cohort will be available by January 1, 2020, with classes starting July 2020. Additional information for application to the 2020-2021 cohort will be made available in the coming months.

Find out more about ESD-U.