PIIT success: retention, diversity of pipeline, teacher shortage solution is working

Melissa MacLaren
Aug 2, 2023 10:23:48 AM

For some people answering the question, “What do you want to  be when you grow up?”, comes easy. For others, the answer changes as life changes, which happens constantly. For the people who may feel like there are no options when life does change, Professional Innovators in Teaching provides a different path. 

Professional Innovators in Teaching (PIIT) is a MAPSA affiliated, state-approved Michigan alternative teacher certification program designed to inspire success through innovative real-time coaching and cohort-based instruction. Upon program acceptance, candidates receive an interim teaching certificate and are placed immediately as a classroom teacher. Host schools invest in the development and advancement of each candidate to provide continued support throughout the path to standard teacher certification. 

As PIIT's Program Director, I can attest PIIT has seen a significant increase in applications submitted.  Individuals are applying to PIIT because they want to pursue a career in education after having already earned a non-teaching degree.  Many of them hold more than one degree, some hold both a bachelor's and a master's.  The thing they all have in common is their passion about being an educator and their desire to make an impact on student’s lives.  

In the last five years, over 140 interim teaching certificates have been issued through PIIT with 100% of candidates meeting time requirements having qualified for standard certification. More than 100 schools across the state including private schools and traditional or charter public schools host candidates. 

Retention is a topic on the minds of many in education right now. Not only is the PIIT program retention rate really high, but so is our retention rate of teachers staying in the field.

  • 94% of all PIIT candidates statewide have stayed in the program for at least a year
  • 90% of candidates, enrolled in PIIT, working statewide plan to stay in teaching for the next 5 years.  

Our program offers the necessary support that new teachers need: ongoing, consistent coaching support, timely feedback on meaningful assignments, and a collaborative peer network.  

Our program serves a diverse population of candidates, who serve a diverse population of students.

  • 28% of all PIIT candidates identify as African American or Black
  • 10% of all PIIT candidates identify as a minority ethnicity other than African American or Black. 

Our candidates also represent a diverse set of endorsement areas including: English, social studies, health/physical education, music, world language, visual arts and more. Almost a third of primary certifications issued by PIIT are in STEM subjects, which are high needs areas of science and math.  

Being an educator comes with so many responsibilities.  You could say teaching is a difficult job.  We want our teachers to be equipped with the tools and strategies to be highly effective in their classrooms, so that they can experience what an amazing career teaching can be!  People seek purpose in their work.  We have to help our teachers find purpose in their work in order to keep the strong talent where we need it.  

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