What is Troops to Teachers?
Texas Troops to Teachers (TTT) is a federally funded program designed to assist retiring and separating military veterans to become teachers in their next careers. Since its beginning in November 1995, the Texas Troops to Teachers Office has counseled over 27,000 veterans, advising them on routes and programs to achieve full teacher certification in Texas, and referring them to districts for employment. Texas leads the nation in the number of veterans who have become teachers, with over 3,000 hired since 1995.
Nationally, the Troops to Teachers Program is funded by the federal Department of Defense, but is managed by the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) office in Pensacola, Florida. The DANTES office manages the registration of TTT participants, distributes all funding, and maintains contact with TTT participants who have received financial benefits.
At the state level, the Texas Troops to Teachers Office provides information and guidance to participants on all aspects of teacher certification. Texas TTT works with teacher certification programs to assist our participants in selecting the program that will work best for their certification process. We actively market the TTT program to all university and alternative certification programs, and provide funding to eligible participants to help pay for their certification programs and incentive bonuses for those who teach at high-needs schools. The Texas TTT office works closely with military installations to be sure that all eligible veterans who want to become teachers are aware of the benefits available from TTT. All service members and veterans, whether they qualify for funding from TTT or not, are encouraged to contact the Texas TTT office for information and assistance in becoming teachers in Texas.
Important Note: There is a THREE-year deadline
to REGISTER from the time of your separation!
REGISTER NOW for the Troops to Teachers program.
Three New Systems to Impact
Administrators and Teachers in Texas
Thousands of administrators and teachers across the state will be training in three new systems over the next nine months. The Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System (T-TESS), the Texas Principal Evaluation and Support System (T-PESS) and Advancing Educational Leadership (AEL) will be implemented over the 2016-2017 school year.
Most every teacher will be evaluated based on the T-TESS standards-driven rubric, while most principals will be evaluated, for the first time ever, based on the T-PESS rubric. The Advancing Educational Leadership system, most likely attended by all new administrators, was designed to develop the specific relational skill sets in leaders necessary to implement T-TESS and T-PESS successfully.
All three systems (T-TESS, T-PESS, and AEL), emphasize that it is the responsibility of every educator to consistently hold themselves to a high standard for individual development and performance; to identify methods to collaborate with other educational professionals, within and beyond the school, so they can engage in purposeful and targeted professional learning opportunities, seek feedback and refine practices.
The T-TESS rubric includes specific dimensions, descriptors and performance levels, including Planning, Instruction, Learning Environment, and Professional Practices and Responsibilities (PPR). This involves multiple points of communication: Collaborative Goal Setting to establish growth targets; Preconference before a formal classroom lesion observation; Post Observation feedback, and End of Year summary of annual progress.
At the end of year summary, every teachers receives feedback on an area of demonstrated strength, or “Reinforcement,” and an area to target for improvement, or “Refinement.” T-TESS includes five performance levels: Improvement Needed, Developing, Proficient, Accomplished and Distinguished. “Proficient” represents and strong, solid teacher.
T-PESS is constructed on the five Texas Principal Standards as defined by TEA: Instructional Leadership, Human Capital, Executive Leadership, School Culture and Strategic Operations – what Texas principals should know and be able to do. The T-PESS rubric communicates performance criteria along a continuum of ratings that differentiate performance between a novice and a distinguished principal, creating a path for performance improvement, to be used as a systemic annual cycle. The principal and evaluator follow seven points of communication: Orientation, Self-assessment and Goal Setting, Pre-evaluation Conference, Mid-year Progress, Consolidated Performance Assessment, end-of-year Performance Discussion, Final Evaluation and Goal-setting Meeting.
Advancing Educational Leadership (AEL) facilitates participants’ recognition of the connections and relationships between and among the major functions or strands of school leadership through five conceptual themes: Creating Positive School Culture; Establishing and Sustaining vision, Mission and Goals; Developing Self and Others; Improving Instruction; and Managing Data and Processes, all aligning to the principal standards established by TEA.
Recent Development Regarding Testing
House Bill 2205, signed by Governor Abbott, and effective September 1, 2015, limits the number of times a candidate may take an exam:
"A person may not retake an examination more than four times … a person who initially took an examination before September 1, 2015, may retake the examination up to four times after that date, regardless of the number of times that the person attempted to perform satisfactorily on the examination before that date."
It is important that you prepare for the exam BEFORE taking it.
Click here for a list of Test Preparation Resources.
TEA Monthly Newsletter
As of September 1, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) will begin waiving certain educator certification fees for eligible military service members, military veterans and military spouses. Click HERE and refer to page 4 to find out more.
An employment preparation webinar, entitled "Launch Your Teaching Career: Get More Interviews & Impress the Decision-Makers," that the Troops to Teachers North Atlantic Region produced with Dr. Peter Leibman is available on YouTube. It contains useful guidance for TTT participants on how to land a teaching position, particularly about writing an effective letter of interest (which Dr. Leibman refers to as the "broadcast letter").