Alternative licensure program leads to a fresh start
Heather Czechowski worked for 10 years in the aviation field until she needed to make a career change. After a layoff from a local aircraft company during the economic downturn, she found a new career with the help of the Transition to Teaching program at Wichita State University.
Transition to Teaching (T2T) is a two-year alternative licensure program offered to recent college graduates or professionals who would like to make a career switch to teaching. Candidates may also opt for the three-year Master of Arts in Teaching by taking seven additional credit hours.
There are about 30 students currently enrolled in T2T at WSU, and another 30 working toward a graduate degree.
“Many of our candidates continue on and then receive a master’s degree,” said Sherri Holle, who works in advising and licensure for T2T. “There are also some who never do, typically because they already have a master’s degree in their content field.”
In the program, individuals concurrently complete graduate coursework and teach at local schools with a restricted license. Upon completion, candidates do not graduate with a degree, but they receive a teaching license for the state of Kansas.
Sherry Goodvin, alternative licensure program director, said that T2T provides a high level of support for candidates during their first two years in the classroom.
“WSU has a unique partnership with Wichita Public Schools,” said Goodvin. “We work very closely with their new teacher induction program consultants to assist in mentoring the WSU alternatively-licensed teachers to provide for their needs.”
Success after Transition to Teaching
Czechowski, who completed T2T in May 2012, graduated in 1994 from the U.S. Air Force Academy with a bachelor’s in space operations. She served as an officer in the Air Force for several years before working in the aircraft industry.
Now, she teaches algebra and statistics at Winfield High School.
“I really enjoy working with students,” said Czechowski. “Finding a way to help each person in the room understand the concepts of the lesson can be the best challenge of the classroom.”
Czechowski noted that the alternative licensure program at WSU is set up in a way that gives students a path toward success.
“The excellent staff of T2T kept students well-informed and on track with KSDE (Kansas State Department of Education) paperwork,” said Czechowski. “I also like the fact that my professors not only provided excellent instruction, but also listened to comments about how to make the program better, more effective and more accessible for students.”
During her time in the program, Czechowski said she was part of a helpful community that allowed her to learn more about both teaching and herself.
“I looked at other programs, but I think WSU offered me a great education, and the opportunity to interact and gain support through my first years of teaching from cohort of students and professors,” said Czechowski.