TNTP to Launch One of Minnesota’s First Alternative Routes to Teacher Certification

Teach Minnesota Will Help Paraprofessionals and Substitutes Earn Full Teacher Certification—Helping Address Teacher Shortages and Boosting Teacher Diversity Statewide

TNTP, a national nonprofit founded by teachers, will move ahead with one of Minnesota’s first alternative routes to teacher certification, following unanimous initial approval today by the state’s Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB). The program, called Teach Minnesota, will give current paraprofessionals and substitute teachers a more flexible, affordable pathway to a full-time teaching position—while maintaining standards as high or higher than traditional certification programs. Teach Minnesota aims to produce at least 100 teachers for high-need schools across the state in its first 2-3 years, including 50 teachers of color—which would significantly boost the annual number of new teachers of color statewide.

“It’s clear from our conversations with educators, district leaders, and community organizations over the last year that Minnesota’s schools could benefit from a new path to the classroom for dedicated paraprofessionals and substitutes already working with students—people who could become amazing teachers, but who can’t afford the price tag and time commitment of a traditional education school,” said Daniel Weisberg, TNTP’s Chief Executive Officer. “Teach Minnesota will offer these talented educators high-quality training and a new path to career advancement, and will give schools a new source of the diverse, effective teachers their students deserve.”

Teach Minnesota is based on TNTP’s successful Teaching Fellows programs, which have trained more than 37,000 teachers across the country over the last 20 years. During a six-week summer institute, Teach Minnesota Fellows will learn and practice the essential skills they’ll need to provide challenging, engaging instruction to every student. Fellows who show they’ve mastered those skills will become full-time teachers and will continue to receive support from an experienced coach throughout the year. Only Fellows who build a clear track record of success in the classroom over the first year will earn certification—a performance-based standard that few other traditional or alternative certification providers hold.

Research has shown that TNTP-trained teachers perform at least as well as other teachers with comparable experience levels. And more than half of new Teaching Fellows across the country identify as people of color—more than double the average at traditional education schools. In Minnesota, 96 percent of teachers are white, while more than one-third of students are people of color.

After receiving unit approval from PELSB today, Teach Minnesota will begin accepting applications from prospective Fellows this fall as it works toward final program approval. While the program is primarily designed for current paraprofessionals and substitute teachers, recent college graduates and other professionals considering a career change will also be eligible to apply.

Imali Ariyarathne, seventh-grade teacher at Langston Hughes Academy, stands in front of her students while introducing them to the captivating world of science

Imali Ariyarathne, seventh-grade teacher at Langston Hughes Academy, introduces her students to the captivating world of science.

About TNTP

TNTP is the nation’s leading research, policy, and consulting organization dedicated to transforming America’s public education system, so that every generation thrives.

Today, we work side-by-side with educators, system leaders, and communities across 39 states and over 6,000 districts nationwide to reach ambitious goals for student success.

Yet the possibilities we imagine push far beyond the walls of school and the education field alone. We are catalyzing a movement across sectors to create multiple pathways for young people to achieve academic, economic, and social mobility.

Learn More About TNTP