Q: What exactly is an ACP and is act-rgv an ACP?
A: An Alternative Certification Program (ACP) is an Educational Preparation Program (EPP) that provides an alternate route to earning a standard certificate. Alternative Certification began in Texas in 1986, as a creation of the Texas Legislature, to provide alternate routes for those seeking teacher certification in Texas. Yes, act-rgv is a private Alternative Certification Program (ACP), fully accredited by the Texas Education Agency (TEA). ACT-Rio Grande Valley (act-rgv) opened in 2001 after being accredited by the TEA and was the second private ACP approved in the State of Texas.
Q: Are all ACPs alike?
A: No! There are a wide variety of programs: university-based, school-district sponsored, distance learning, online, etc. ACT-RGV encourages you to visit the TEA website at www.tea.state.tx.us and view the accredited programs in the Rio Grande Valley. When you select act-rgv, you will find that we focus on building a relationship with you, providing you with the highest quality preparation, and personally working with you as you prepare to enter the classroom and throughout your internship.
Announcements from act-rgv
Q: How can we receive notification of upcoming events and other important information about act-rgv and our internship?
A: Text Blasts/Tweets will be sent out as reminders about upcoming workshops. Ask us how you can sign up for these messages! Please be advised that you may get a text blast about a workshop you have already attended. It is important that you keep your own records of the workshops you attend.
Q: When am I certified?
A: You are initially certified (Probationary Certificate) when you have passed your certification exam(s), completed the act-rgv training, and completed your field-based observations, and you are hired to teach. Your Standard Certificate is approved once your have completed all requirements of Internship.
Q: Can I be certified in more than one area?
A: Your transcript evaluation may determine that you are qualified to teach more than one subject area, and you may challenge one or all of those contents; however, your initial certification can only be in one content area. Once you have earned your standard certification, you may add additional content areas to your state certification.
Q: I have a criminal record. Will that prevent me from becoming a teacher?
A: A certification program is not authorized to access your criminal history; however, most individuals who have committed a felony are not eligible for a Texas teaching certificate. The Texas Education Agency provides an avenue to determine your eligibility for certification. Go to the TEA web site and read the Preliminary Criminal History Evaluation-FAQs for more details.
Q: What is PACT?
A: The Pre-Admission Content Test (PACT) is simply a route to take certification exams.
Q: Does taking the PACT ensure admittance into the program?
A: No. Taking the PACT does not ensure acceptance into the program.
Preparing to Teach
Q: Do I have to have a teaching job to start act-rgv's training?
A: No. Training is designed to be a pre-service preparation program prior to your internship. It introduces you to instructional strategies and equips you with the skills you need to step into the classroom successfully. TEA requires that you complete training before you begin teaching.
Q: How long is my training valid if I do not start teaching right away?
A: You are always able to revisit any part of training; however, if it has been more than three years, you will be required to repeat training at a nominal cost.
Q: What type of preparation does act-rgv provide for learning how to teach?
A: The act-rgv Preparation Institute (training) provides research-based instruction designed to help you develop skills and learn strategies that are essential for making a smooth transition into teaching. Training is offered in the fall, spring, and summer, with schedules posted on our web site. Classes are held in the evening and on Saturday.
Professional Development/CPE Hours
Q: How long do I have to complete my 300 hours?
A: Your 300 hours must be completed by the expiration date on your Probationary Certificate. For example, if your Probationary Certificate was issued on September 26, 2015, the expiration date for completing your 300 hours is September 26, 2016.
Q: How do I know how many hours I have earned?
A: Candidates are responsible for keeping track of your own hours. We have a database that will produce a report about your hours. This report may be requested via email request at any time. Please email Janie Trevino or Dr. Pat Avila for the report.
Q: Do we earn CPE credits toward the 300 hours when we meet with our mentor?
A: No. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) does not allow CPE credit to be given for this time. It is important for both you and your mentor to keep a log, as this must be turned in for the mentor to receive his/her stipend. The stipend will be paid at the end of internship, after all documentation has been received.
Q. Can I count workshops at Region One, work with the Jason Foundation, and out-of-district training as DISTRICT hours?
A. You can count these hours toward your 50 district hours but not toward your 250 CPE hours from act-rgv. To count these workshops toward your 50 district hours IF you provide a letter from your district (on the district's letterhead) that you were required to attend this as part of your professional development for the district.
Q: I am taking a graduate course. Can that count toward my hours with act-rgv?
A: No. TEA requires that the 250 Professional Development/CPE hours from act-rgv must be courses we are teaching you, with a curriculum developed by our program.
Ready to Teach
Q: I am eager to begin teaching! What must I complete in order to be hired?
A: Great question! There are six steps to follow before starting your career in teaching. Go to our ACCEPTANCE page and read about the "Paths to Certification."
Q: Does act-rgv place me in a school or help me get a teaching position?
A: ACT-RGV does not place you in a school unless you are a Clinical Teacher. For those seeking full-time teaching positions, in order to start your two-semester internship, we provide guidance in determining a certification area for you that offers the best opportunity for being hired. Periodically, we send lists of available candidates to school districts. Be sure to apply to all districts in order to maximize your employment opportunities.
Q: What if I do not secure a teaching position or am nervous about starting out as a full-time teacher?
A: We understand the challenge of being hired as a beginning teacher. Although there may be a shortage of teachers in certain content areas, it is still very competitive to secure a position. In anticipation of this, act-rgv is approved to offer another route for teacher certification: Clinical Teaching.
Q: Do we receive confirmation when we register for LIVE workshops?
A: When you register for a workshop, you should see the following: "Thank you. Your information has been submitted." This is your confirmation.
Q: I am a candidate for a Special Education Teacher Certificate. Can I attend the SPED for the General Education Teacher workshops?
Q: Can I attend one or more parts of multiple-session workshops during one semester and attend the other parts second semester?
A: It depends on the workshop. Please call the act-rgv office for clarification.
Q: Will more workshops be made available?
A: Yes. We are working on developing additional workshops and will post information on the web site as they become available.