Applying to be a teacher in South Carolina just got easier thanks to a collaborative effort by the Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention, and Advancement (CERRA), the South Carolina Department of Education, the South Carolina Association of School Personnel Administrators (SCASPA) and Winthrop University.
An effort to merge the Online Teacher Application and the Department of Education Certification Application has been completed and the result will streamline the process a teacher candidate experiences en route to teaching in South Carolina.
Monday, March 17, marks the beginning of a new era as the revised South Carolina Educator Employment and Certification Application System is launched. The new system will allow teacher candidates to apply for certification and for a job through a single application.
In addition to the merger, the system, which was designed by James Hammond, Associate Vice-President for Information Technology at Winthrop University and Charlie Maner, a former information specialist at Winthrop, has been redesigned and features a new site that combines better workflow with new user-friendly attributes.
“Creating the dual application is something we started working on in my first year at the State Department of Education,” said Dr. Janice Poda, Deputy Superintendent for Administration and former Executive Director at CERRA. “I knew we needed to combine the two applications and we’re glad it’s finally going to take off. It’s going to be a one-stop-shop for anyone that wants to teach in South Carolina. The ability to apply for a job and for certification on a joint application will eliminate some confusion that existed previously.”
Since the Online Teacher Application launch on October 1, 1999, nearly 100,000 teacher candidates have applied for positions in one of the state’s 85 school districts. The free application is unique in that a teacher candidate is able to apply to all teaching vacancies in the state with one application, and beginning March 17 will be able to complete the teacher certification application simultaneously. Applicants are able to specify up to five districts or regions in which they wish to work or are able to select the statewide application option.
The application is accessible online at www.winthrop.edu/scteach. Applicants with questions related to teacher certification should be addressed to the certification office at the Division of Educator Quality and Leadership at 803-734-8466; and questions concerning the application for employment should be directed to CERRA at 800-476-2387.
Other states have followed suit and have online employment applications, but Dr. Poda believes South Carolina is the only state to offer a dual application and hopes it will encourage more people to look at teaching in the Palmetto State.
A third phase of the online application system is currently being studied by a subcommittee that will make recommendations for a more user-friendly system, making analysis, reporting and transfer of the data even easier. In addition, the subcommittee is studying ways to integrate the data to district programs more easily and to assist districts with criminal history checks.
CERRA, an independent state agency located on the campus of Winthrop University, is the oldest and most established teacher recruitment program in the country. The purpose of CERRA is to provide leadership in identifying, attracting, placing and retaining well-qualified individuals for the teaching profession in South Carolina. CERRA’s programs have been adopted at school, district and state levels in more than 30 states in the United States.