July 18, 2022

Staff Spotlight: Dr. Karen Young, ARC Program Coordinator

Dr. Karen Young

Today for our Staff Spotlight we’re sitting down with Dr. Karen Young, who recently joined Schoolcraft College as the new ARC Program Coordinator, with responsibility for the program. (ARC stands for Alternative Route to Teacher Certification.) Dr. Young teaches part-time at Schoolcraft in EDUC, and her previous role was the Coordinator of Curriculum, Assessment, and Peer Mentoring for the ARC program. She is the Director of the Michigan Alternate Route Network.

Schoolcraft College: Hello, Dr. Young! First, welcome to Schoolcraft College! Could you please tell us a little about your professional background and education and what led you to Schoolcraft College?

Dr. Karen Young: Thank you, I am excited to be a part of the Schoolcraft College community full time. Throughout my 24 years in education, I have had the opportunity to be a part of public and charter schools holding a variety of positions. I began my career teaching middle school in Milford and then spent eight years in California holding teaching and administrative positions. Once back in Michigan, I worked for K12 through their online charter schools as an administrator and opened Niji-Iro Dual Immersion Elementary School for the Livonia Public School District serving as their first principal. 

Opening Niji-Iro Dual Immersion Elementary School and serving as the principal for three years has been a highlight of my career. Not only did I learn a lot, but the amazing cultural experiences and relationships I built will last a lifetime. I also have taught teacher education courses for the University of California San Diego, Madonna University, and Schoolcraft College.

I grew up in Livonia with Schoolcraft College being a part of my life. My dad taught at Schoolcraft and we visited the campus often. When I opened Niji-Iro, I met with Dr. (Dennis) Genig to learn more about the program and how it could assist some of our Japanese teachers to earn certification in Michigan. I was so excited about all the program had to offer that I reached out to Dr. Genig to join the part-time faculty. I begin teaching in the ARC program in 2017.

Schoolcraft College: Can you please explain what being the ARC Program Coordinator entails?

Dr. Karen Young: As the ARC Program Coordinator my job entails overseeing all details of the ARC program. This includes accreditation, state program approval, curriculum oversight, monitoring of candidates and teachers, approval of interim and standard teaching certificates, and working with faculty and staff on continuous program improvement.

Schoolcraft College: We’re sure you and your team will be building off the great foundation that Dr. Genig put in place. What are some of the next steps?

Dr. Karen Young: Dr. Genig has developed a strong ARC program. I do believe that Schoolcraft’s ARC program offers the best support due to the enhanced peer mentoring model that is included. The ARC program has an additional layer of support by contracting with a peer mentor at each teacher’s school requiring implementation of Schoolcraft’s peer mentoring activities. I was fortunate enough to study our peer mentoring program in depth through my doctoral dissertation. 

The peer mentoring program truly highlights best practice to retain and support new teachers. Our program guarantees consistent support to new teachers from the school (peer mentors) and the college (instructional coaches).

Dr. Karen Young, ARC Program Coordinator

Our next step is to look at current program offerings and compare them to the newly released state grade bands for teacher certification. While completing this process we will also be carefully looking at all curriculum and assessments for our upcoming accreditation visit. 

The ARC program is preparing to offer the new grade bands PK-3, 3-6, 5-9, and 7-12. 

Schoolcraft College: What does Schoolcraft College’s ARC Program offer that sets it apart from others? How does it work and why should people enroll in our program?

Dr. Karen Young:  Schoolcraft College’s ARC Program offers a unique wraparound system of support for each new teacher. While alternate route teaching programs do get teachers into the classroom sooner, Schoolcraft College’s ARC Program requires rigorous training and support at least a semester prior to teaching and during a teacher’s first three years in the classroom. The ARC Program is committed to developing effective teachers who will positively impact our future leaders. I wish I would have had access to such well-designed support during my early years of teaching.

The ARC program offers two programs: one for those seeking initial teacher certification (Traditional) and one for those seeking to add additional endorsements onto their current teacher certificate (IPP).

For those seeking initial certification, an earned bachelor’s degree is needed. The appropriate Michigan Test for Teacher Certification (MTTC) needs to be passed prior to beginning the ARC Program. The program then consists of four pre-certification classes along with a 60-hour practicum to build a foundation before entering the classroom. These classes can be taken in one semester or two. 

After certification, for three years the teacher receives peer mentoring and instructional coaching support along with additional coursework to assist with connecting theory to the classroom and building effectiveness in core teaching practices. At the end of meeting the program/state requirements, a Standard Teaching Certificate is issued.

Many teachers who currently hold a teaching certificate are looking to add an endorsement to support their school community by filling open teaching positions. Through our Individual Program Plan (IPP), we assist currently certified teachers in earning a new endorsement. When teachers apply to our IPP program, previously completed coursework is used to waive some of the program requirements. In many cases the pre-certification coursework is already met through traditional teacher preparation programs. 

With passage of the MTTC, an interim certificate can be award immediately. The teacher then receives peer mentoring and instructional coaching when teaching under their new endorsement area and may need to complete additional coursework, while teaching, that was not met through their previous program. When all program/state requirements are met, the new endorsement area is added to their Standard Teaching Certificate. Go here for more information.

Schoolcraft College: Where are you located and how can people find out more about our ARC Program?

Dr. Karen Young: I am in the Health Sciences Center, Office 583. If you would like to learn more about the ARC program, please visit the website or call 734-462-4335.

Schoolcraft College: Thank you, Dr. Young! Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Dr. Karen Young: I am honored to be coordinating the ARC Program. I love that I can support teachers and continue to impact the educational community. 

Schoolcraft College faculty are current practitioners who provide unique insight into the variety of practices and constant changes within education. Combined, our faculty and staff have over 468 years of experience in the field of teaching. It is my goal to be an advocate for alternate route certification programs as a highly effective way to train teachers. We need to look differently at how we are developing teachers. 

Designing schools to have a combination of traditionally trained teachers and alternate route teachers with varied life experiences from previous careers provides students an amazing opportunity to connect learning to the world.

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