Aggie PACT to Bring More Science Teachers to Texas Schools

College Station, TX – The College of Veterinary Medicine, Texas
A&M University celebrated the official kick-off of the Aggie
Program of Accelerated Certification for Teaching (PACT) with a
luncheon, hosted by the College’s Department of Biomedical Science,
the College of Science, the College of Education and the College of
Agriculture and Life Science’s Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
on October 30, 2001.

Over 60 school superintendents across the state of Texas were
invited to the luncheon to interact with 30 currently enrolled
students and to learn more about the Aggie PACT program.

Dr. F. H. “Skip” Landis, Director of the Biomedical Science
program and Dr. Norm Dronen, professor and composite field advisor
for biology and science, designed the Aggie PACT Program to address
the shortage of science teachers throughout the state of Texas and
train highly qualified individuals for quick classroom
placement.

“Texas is currently in need of approximately 15,000 teachers
qualified to teach science. Our program is an accelerated
certification plan that provides an alternative to the traditional
model by allowing us to work with the Region IV Education Service
Center and place students in paid internships immediately following
graduation,” said Landis.

Students majoring in Biomedical Science or Wildlife and
Fisheries Science are eligible to participate in the program. The
course content between both departments varies except for the final
15 hours in their senior year, which are determined by the College
of Education’s Office of Continuing Education. When the
undergraduate work is completed, students must participate in a
one-year paid internship available in most Texas school districts
and facilitated through Region IV.

“The internship completely replaces the need for student
teaching and provides Aggie PACT participants with a distinct
advantage and a good starting point because they already have a job
lined up and a secure future,” said Landis.

During the internship the students take two tests in science and
education to certify professional competency called Examination for
the Certification of Educators in Texas (ExCET). Upon completion of
the ExCET certification exams and the internship, the student
teachers will be qualified to teach secondary school grades 8-12.
The ExCET in the subject matter is administered prior to the
internship. The ExCET professional exam will be taken during the
internship.

With the help of the Region IV Education Service Center the
Aggie PACT program provides the state of Texas with a distinct
advantage by creating another option for students to quickly
increase the number of qualified science teachers. This program is
excellent for students who want a career in education and allows
them accelerated access into the classroom only one year after
graduation.