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Old 12-29-2013, 11:32 AM
starsallaround starsallaround is offline
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 13
Is a "middle grades" certification useful?

For those of you living in states with a "middle grades" or "middle level" certification, is it useful in any way? I am confused because it certifies teachers to teach a single subject, usually in grades 4-6 ... but where will these teachers be hired? I've never heard of an elementary school hiring single-subject teachers.
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Old 12-29-2013, 11:49 AM
JustMe JustMe is offline
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 8,133
Middle grades certification here is typically grades five through nine with two areas of emphasis. Mine is English & Communications and Social Studies. Useful? Well, yeah, if you want to teach middle grades. That 's because most elementary certifications here are now K through five and secondary is nine through twelve. It varies some...I'm just speaking in general here.

If you want to teach elementary, I guess I'd just get regular elementary certification. Although I will say, it's catching on around here to have elementary teachers rotate like middle school...
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Old 12-29-2013, 11:55 AM
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BumbleB BumbleB is offline
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 930
My school offers 4-9 and you must be certified in two areas. I would agree that a single subject cert for grades 4-6 does seem very restrictive. I would research other schools and their offerings if you can.
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Old 12-29-2013, 11:55 AM
teacherguy111 teacherguy111 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 475
Ohio, USA
Middle school Social Studies!
Most schools I know of switch classes for grades 4-6 nowadays. I am certified for grades 4-9 in social studies and language arts.

Schools around my area at least switch teachers once during the day for grades 4-6. For example one teacher has English and social studies and the other has math and science.
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Old 12-29-2013, 01:09 PM
Bella2010 Bella2010 is offline
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 807
3rd Grade Teacher
In my state, if an elem ed teacher has a certification in a single subject they are considered "highly qualified" and will be considered before other elem teachers for a single subject assignment.
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Old 12-29-2013, 02:44 PM
MsMar MsMar is offline
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 2,726
Middle School FACS
In PA the certs used to be K-6, 7-9, and 9-12, with a handful of K-12 for things like art, music, phys ed and such. Now PA is K-4, 4-8 with certs in ELA, math, Science and SS, and 9-12. So, a middle years cert is done to be able to teach a specific subject in middle school. I'm certified to teach K-6, middle years math and ELA, and FCS and ESL for any grade.

I'm personally curious as to how the new certs will affect the elementary schools in PA. A new grad with a 4-8 cert has a specialty in two areas, but not all 4. As a 5th grade teacher in an elementary school I teach math, ELA, science and social studies. Eventually all the K-6 teachers will retire/leave teaching and all teachers will be K-4 or 4-8. The K-4 are generalists so can teach all subjects. So, I really don't know what will happen with 5th grade teachers. Maybe the goal in PA is to treat 5th grade like a middle school as far as teacher teaching just one subject area, even if it's housed in an elementary school.

As far as your question of it's usefulness - if you want to teach middle school in PA you need to have a middle years certification.
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Old 12-29-2013, 03:40 PM
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Milsey Milsey is offline
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 627
7th/8th Grade teacher
That's not true. I have a 7-12 dual certification that allows me to teach middle or high school.
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Old 12-29-2013, 04:13 PM
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Maryhf Maryhf is offline
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 1,516
New college grads in PA must have a middle level cert to teach middle school. It will be interesting to see how 5th grades in an elementary setting adjust.
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Old 12-29-2013, 08:55 PM
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Ima Teacher Ima Teacher is offline
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 3,997
Middle School Teacher
Our middle grades certification allows for 5-9 certification in two subjects. Elementary is K-4, all subjects & self-contained 5-6. Secondary is 9-12, one subject & 7-8 departmentalized.

I teach 7th grade language arts with my secondary English certification. I'm a bear to the schedule, though, because I can only teach language arts in 7 & 8, but we are. 6-8 school, and most others have two subjects.
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Old 12-29-2013, 10:28 PM
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SF_Giants66 SF_Giants66 is offline
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 639
Planet Earth
I am currently majoring in math and science for middle school certification. In my state you have to have 18 credit hours in each subject, plus the teacher subject training for grades 2-8 in those subjects. I actually find it more useful than a primary or secondary certification. If I was in a college that didn't offer a program, I would have to get a degree in primary grades, plus take the additional credit hours for the certification, and instead I just will have a certification specifically for middle school. The only down side is you can't find an elementary school job if there are no middle school jobs available unless you have a dual certification.
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