Bilingual teacher of the year praises alternative certification program


Ask noted Dallas ISD bilingual teacher Irma De La Guardia about the benefits of receiving an alternative teaching certification through Dallas ISD, and she is quick to answer.

“It gives you as many resources as possible so you are successful in the classroom,” said De La Guardia, who was named the National Association of Bilingual Educators’ 2015 Teacher of the Year. “The (alternative teaching) certification sets you up for success.”

De La Guardia, a third-grade dual-language teacher at Harry C. Withers Elementary, received her Dallas ISD alternative teaching certificate 12 years ago. She said the program isn’t easy, as it carries high expectations, but that it provides the support needed for teachers to be effective in the classroom.

Specifically, De La Guardia spoke highly about how the program provides participants with two mentors, one from the program and one who teaches at the same school and grade level as the participant.

“The mentors were very supportive and helpful in giving feedback,” De La Guardia said. “I was very happy with the process.”

Compass Alternative Certification Teacher Academy, the district’s alternative teacher certification program, is designed for degreed professionals looking to transition into teaching from another career. The intensive training program prepares people to become effective teachers through hands-on, practice-based instruction.

The final deadline for this year’s alternative certification teacher academy is April 15. Compass is offering alternative certifications in the following areas:

  • Bilingual
  • Generalist
  • Special education
  • Spanish
  • Math
  • Science
  • Dual math and science

De La Guardia said that those who are considering getting their alternative certification should have a growth mindset and know that teaching is not easy. However, she added that teaching is very rewarding and that the alternative certification is great for those interested in the profession.

“They give you so much support,” De La Guardia said. “They want you to be successful, and they work to make that happen.”

Compass urges that if you or someone you know is considering a career change, or are interested in having a lasting impact on the future, to apply to the Compass Alternative Certification Teacher Academy to become a Dallas ISD teacher. For more information about the Dallas ISD alternative certification program and to apply, click here.


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