Learn more about the process for becoming certified to teach in the Oklahoma City region.
Make an Impact in Oklahoma City and Lawton
Currently, our region supports 88 corps members, over 100 alumni teaching or working in education, and 15 staff members. The majority of our corps teaches in Oklahoma City. We also have a growing presence in Lawton where 100 percent of Lawton’s 2014 charter corps members remained for a third year as alumni and subsequent corps members there have even received public recognition by President Obama for work with the Comanche Nation.
The educational equity ecosystem in our state is poised to make phenomenal progress for children in poverty over the next several years. Teach For America Oklahoma City is proud to be a part of driving that change in our partner communities. Our corps enjoys amazing community support from local business, philanthropists, and the education community in schools and districts.
Oklahoma provides various paths to obtain a teaching certification; with Teach For America, corps members follow the "other non-traditional path" listed below:
- Traditional Path - The path for those who complete a state-approved teacher education program (via a university)
- Alternative Paths - The path for those with a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in any area who have not completed a state-approved teacher education program.
- Other Non-Traditional Paths - The path for American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE), Teach for America, Paraprofessional, Special Education Non-Traditional
- Emergency Certification (Admin Use Only) - At the request of a school district administrator only. Must be approved by the State Board.
A tremendous benefit to you entering the classroom through Teach For America Oklahoma City is that we manage your entire learning experience. This enables us to keep the costs down on your end, which means you are able to get your professional credential for little out-of-pocket cost to you. Further, you get access to world-class training and support from our local and national Teacher Leadership Development staff.
For more information on pathways to certification in Oklahoma, access the OSDE website.
Becoming Certified to Teach
To become certified to teach in Oklahoma City or Lawton, corps members must complete the following requirements:
- Pass background checks as required by Teach For America and the state of Oklahoma (~$60).
- Pass two content specific tests (Praxis II or OSAT). It is a corps member’s responsibility to register and pay for their exams (between $90-$120 each). Two exams are required.
- Complete all Teach For America provided professional development. All professional development is provided by Teach For America Oklahoma City at no extra cost to corps members. The number and frequency of these professional development sessions vary by time of year and year in the corps, however, you can expect a formal engagement every other week.
- Complete additional certification requirements. This can include meetings with a teacher coach, completion of annual surveys, and submission of teaching portfolio.
During their corps experience, corps members are issued an Oklahoma credential (valid for two years). Corps members obtain a standard certification (valid for five years) at the end of two-year service, which is contingent upon completion of above requirements.
After your first year of teaching, you may choose to begin a master’s degree with one of our university partners. Here are just some of the options our corps members have opted into:
University of Oklahoma (O.U.) – Norman Campus (Hybrid online/face-to-face class model)
Master's degree in Educational Administration and Curriculum Studies (EACS). Additional benefits include a streamlined application processes for second-year corps members and alumni, no GRE requirement (subject to change), admission fee waiver, and granted in-state tuition.
Johns Hopkins University (Online)
JHU Online is designed specifically for TFA corps members. The program offers M.A. in education studies, with a focus on teaching leadership or policy.
University of Central Oklahoma (Face-to-face)
Located nearby in downtown Oklahoma City. Offers M.Ed. in educational leadership.
Cameron University (Format Varies)
Located in Lawton, OK. Offers M.S. in educational leadership and M.Ed options.
If you are accepted to Teach For America Oklahoma City you will stand beside over 50,000 Teach For America alumni nationally and millions of parents, teachers, and community leaders who believe a zip code should not determine a student's educational opportunities.
Welcome to this rigorous, deeply personal, and important journey of learning, teaching, and leading. Here are some things you can expect from Teach For America Oklahoma City regarding your training as a new corps member:
- Before you arrive in OKC - [Ongoing, Rolling] You are expected to complete a series of online pre-work modules that contain a compilation of readings, videos, assignments, and reflection activities you will need to complete in order to be prepared for induction, summer institute, and ultimately to best serve your students as a corps member. (~15-25 hours of content)
- Summer Training - Teach For America hosts training that takes place for five to eight weeks during the summer and include learning experiences and summer school teaching. This is split into several parts (subject to change):
- Regional Induction [~ 2nd week of June] - One week, focused on understanding the OKC and Lawton context while building community with your peers and staff.
- National Institute [~mid-June to late July] - Five to six weeks, centered around your summer teaching experience and developing the skills to support your own classroom. Our corps members currently attend the Tulsa National Institute in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which is 1.5 hours from OKC.
- Regional Orientation [~late July] - You will spend two to three days with OKC staff to orient to our annual support structures, meet your instructional coach and cohort, and begin to prepare for your initial weeks in your assigned classroom.
Here is a brief cost breakdown to consider for Oklahoma City corps members:
Action and Cost
You are a new corps member assigned to Oklahoma City!
Register/pay for 2 Praxis exams ($120 each = $240)
FBI fingerprinting - $0 if done within deadline per TFA instructions
Air travel (if applicable) one way, est. $200-$350.
State fingerprinting - $60
Car travel - $200
Storage (if applicable) - $50-100
Housing application/deposit - $200-600
Furniture - $500
First month's rent - $450-600
Setting up your classroom - $100
Total Up Front Cost (Estimated)
Credentialing cost = $310
Housing/Transitional cost = $1,500-1,650
One of the best things about being a Teach For America corps member in Oklahoma City is the incredible people who come alongside you to help you become the best teacher for your students. We refer to our instructional coaches as Managers of Teacher Leadership Development (MTLDs). We also have other instructional leadership staff that support your content and other pedagogical skill development.
Here are the coaches and instructional support staff for our region that will support you during the corps:
Program Continuum Team
Sarah Park, Senior Managing Director Program Continuum (Supports Secondary)
Teacher Leadership Development
Foluke Olorunnisola, Director Teacher Leadership Development (Elementary)
Nicole Silvestri, Manager Teacher Leadership Development (Elementary)
Lauren Jenks Jones, Manager Teacher Leadership Development (Elementary)
Isaac Freeman, Manager Teacher Leadership Development (Secondary)
Aeriel Thompson, Manager Teacher Leadership Development (Secondary)
Brianne Steffensmeier, Manager Teacher Leadership Development (Secondary)
We also hire part-time content specialists that help us deliver quality, content specific sessions throughout the year.
This incredible team practically support you at various times of your corps commitment through:
- Content Session facilitation
- Elective Session facilitation
- Leadership Summit spaces that connect with with a broader vision for systemic change
- Portfolio Work Samples - prepping you and reviewing your educator portfolio
- MTLD Observation & Debrief Cycles - classroom observations and follow up coaching to hone-in on the specifics to make you the best teacher for your students
- Data - Supporting you in interpreting and making teaching decisions based on data shared through observation & debrief cycles, including your portfolio