Attention: This site looks better in the latest Mozilla or Internet Explorer.

The Learning Conference 2003

Home | Newsletter | Call for Papers | Register

Presentation Details


Fast Track to Teacher Certification: Is it Effective in Increasing the Number of Highly Qualified Minority Teachers?

Dr Theresa Arceneaux Rheams, Deborah Bordelon, Susan Stegall, Christie Fleder.

The presenters are researching the efficacy of fast track programs in training educators in the shortage areas of Math Education, Science Education and Special Education. From 1983-1996, 50,000 teachers in the U.S. received training and certification through Alternative Certification programs such as Xavier’s Practitioner Teacher Program. Alternative Certification Programs are of interest to the Teacher Education community for many reasons. Alternative certification is a primary means of attracting minority professionals in teaching and teachers who enter teaching through alternative routes tend to persist in greater numbers than teachers from traditional program. Also, these teachers were more likely to be willing to work in an urban school and had higher expectations. While, alternative certification programs are successful in increasing the pool of teachers in high-demand education areas, increasing the number of minority teachers, and increasing staffing levels of urban schools, the real test of the benefits of these programs is whether they are producing highly effective educators. This issue is of great interest to teacher educators everywhere. Through this presentation we seek to expand the knowledge base of those attending the conference by providing cutting edge information on this area of study.

The presenters will share information obtained through a review of the literature on the topic of Alternative Certification. Information will be disseminated on the implementation of Xavier University’s Fast Track Program’s first and second years, as well as, plans for the longitudinal research study addressing the issues of efficacy in the Alternative Certification programs. Relevant information will include requirements for entrance in the program, funding sources, the course of study (12 months of coursework and a one-year supervised internship), and description of student cohorts for each year of the program. The program is in its 2nd year and is preparing to begin its 3rd year with a new group of students in the June 2003. Each year the program has changed in order to better meet the needs of its students and the local school systems in which they are employed. These changes have been based on data collected during project implementation. Perceived benefits of the program will be reported as well as areas of concern will be shared with participants.

Xavier University of Louisiana is a Catholic Historically Black University/College (HBUC). Its mission is to promote a more just and humane society and its goal is to prepare graduates so that they will be able to assume roles of leadership and service. To this end, the objective of the Xavier University of Louisiana’s Practitioner Teacher Program is to address critical teacher shortages, especially among African-Americans, by offering relevant coursework that will prepare teachers to meet the challenges of working in urban school districts. Dr. Rheams is the director of the Practitioner Teacher Program, Dr. Bordelon is the assistant chair in the Division of Education at Xavier University and both have been involved in the design, development, and implementation of the program, including teaching courses required by the program and supervising the internships of the practitioners in the Orleans Parish Schools. The two graduate students, Ms. Stegall and Ms. Felder are graduates of the Xavier Practitioner Teacher Program and are presently working toward a Masters of Arts in Special Education. They will provide a unique perspective of the program from the students’ point of view.


Dr Theresa Arceneaux Rheams  (United States)
Assistant Professor
Xavier University of Louisiana

Dr. Rheams has worked in the field of special education for the last 27 years. She has been a classroom teacher, early interventionist, worked as a Teaching Parent, and served as a Program Coordinator for the LA Department of Education. She is presently an Assitatnt Professor at Xavier University of LA. Xavier Univeristy is the only a HBCU (Historcially Black College or University) Catholic University in the United States.

Deborah Bordelon  (United States)
Assistant Professor
Division of Education
Xavier University of Louisiana

Susan Stegall

Christie Fleder  (United States)

Xavier University of Louisiana

  • Teacher Education
  • Special Education
  • Recruiting Minorities

(30 min Conference Paper, English)