I am certified Elementary K-6, can I teach 6th grade Language Arts?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by teachingon213, Jun 29, 2017.

  1. teachingon213

    teachingon213 New Member

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    Teachers please help me out!

    I work in NJ. I am certified Elementary K-6. I want to do 6th grade Language Arts however I do not know if I have the correct certification. Folks are telling me that I need to take the Middle School Language Arts Praxis and apply for a Middle School Extension cert.

    If that's the case....WHY DOES MY CERTIFICATION READ K-6, shouldn't it just be K-5 if I can't actually teach 6th grade? Does anyone have experience with this?
     
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  3. Sab

    Sab Companion

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    Jun 29, 2017

    So I'm in California and also certified in K-6. Here that means I can teach sixth grade IF it is multiple subject (it's still elementary school in some areas) OR I can teach sixth grade in middle school IF I teach at least two subjects. So like language arts/social studies or math/science core or whatever. I wouldn't be able to teach JUST language arts in a middle school setting.
    Not sure if it's the same in NJ though
     
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  4. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    That's similar to my certification. I can teach grades 6-9 IF it is in a multiple subject classroom (like elementary), but I cannot teach a single subject without certification in that area.

    Those telling you that you need to take the test are likely correct. That would be the case in both states where I am certified.
     
  5. Sab

    Sab Companion

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    Wait, I found the exact language on my credential:
    "This credential authorizes the holder to teach all subjects in a self-contained class and, as a self-contained classroom teacher, to team teach or to regroup students across classrooms, in grades twelve and below, including preschool, and in classes organized primarily for adults. In R2M addition, this credential authorizes the holder to teach core classes GSX consisting of two or more subjects to the same group of students in grades five through eight, and to teach any of the core subjects he or she is teaching to a single group of students in the same grade level as the core for less than fifty percent of his or her work day."

    Check to see what your actual credential says, it might help even though the wording is a bit confusing.
     
  6. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Well, it used to say K-5, but some elementary schools go to grade 6 without specializing for content. Once the content is supposed to be taught by someone with more in depth knowledge of the content, you need a different certification. Middle School Specialization covers Grades 5-8, and instead of being an all around grade 6 teacher who teaches all of the content, these are the teachers who have deeper content knowledge, necessary when one person may teach 4 5th grade ELA classes in a day, no science, SS, or math. Technically there is some overlap, but not really, in practice. To test for the MS Specialization certification, you must have 15 college credits in the content area, no pedagogy courses allowed, but there is no need for there to be upper level courses or to be in any logical sequence. For the K-6 certification the requirement is 60 general credits - think intro to ________ types of courses - a lot of the classes you took as a freshman and sophomore in college. When you look at it that way, you start to see the difference.. I am a science teacher, and I have 70 or more credits in science. By the same token, perhaps I passed out of math, so only have 3 math credits. Wouldn't make sense for me to be able to teach complex maths with that background, but it doesn't matter for the K-6 cert.

    You have the elementary cert, which is what a lot of MS teacher want to be's don't have, and that test is broader based. Consider that the easiest part is left to get, as long as you have the 15 English credits. Think of our K-6 as the equivalent to some states "generalist" certs, and it makes more sense. You have gone past generalist and into specialist and will need the cert to make that happen.
     
  7. teachingon213

    teachingon213 New Member

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    Thank you for your help everyone! It makes sense to me now.

    Does anyone know if Journalism credits would count towards my 15 English credit requirement? My BA is in Journalism and it looks like I only have 7 credits that say English :(
     
  8. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    You'll most likely need the middle school certification as grade 6 is middle school and is departmentalized.
     
  9. heatherberm

    heatherberm Cohort

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    I'm in NY and I have Childhood Ed/Students with Disabilities 1-6 and taught 6th grade science for a couple of years and never added anything more science-specific.
     
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  10. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Your transcript is already on file with the NJDOE. If you pay the fee, they will evaluate your transcript for the necessary 15 credits. There is a fee, but that fee is applied towards the cost of the certificate when you are ready to apply (after passing the Praxis). NJ has relatively recently tightened the time frame from when the transcript is evaluated and the time you have to get all testing and applications in. That is just something you should be aware of.

    If, after transcript evaluation, you are short any credits, you can take the CLEP exams and they are accepted towards the credits you need. All you have to do is pass the exam, which would give you credits at any county college here in NJ. You can also take the exam(s) at most community colleges, and the cost is somewhere around $125 a test. Different tests have different credit values, and you can access practice CLEP exams at Peterson's testing site online. A class that I had on my transcript as English was denied by NJDOE, so I was trying to figure out the course of action. I already had an MEd. in ESL, but those courses weren't considered content courses. I had already passed the Praxis Exam, so felt fairly confident that I could earn my credits that way. Nailed the CLEP - missed one question, and two weeks later I had my endorsement.

    You can talk to live people at the DOE, but sometimes it is hard to get a transcript evaluated in the middle of the summer - they are knee deep in applications for certificates from newly graduated education students. You might want to find the county superintendent, and have them look at your transcript. They will have enough of an idea as to whether you are good to go, or still need 8 credits. I would be willing to bet you have the credits, but there are better people to ask than me. Journalism is a pretty English heavy major, even if the title of the course doesn't specify "English". If in doubt, call the DOE (look online for summer hours), or contact the county superintendent. Good luck.
     
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  11. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    SPED certifications at that age range may be the reason you were fine.
     
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  12. teachingon213

    teachingon213 New Member

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    Your response was extremely helpful. Thank you so much for taking the time to give me this information. It is SO appreciated.
     
  13. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    If New Jersey has a journalism certificate distinct from the single-subject English certificate, you might get some grief from the state about the journalism units - but if those units were oriented to writing or to media analysis (as opposed to, say, layout/graphics), and if you can document that from the descriptions in the course catalog, it might make sense to raise a tiny discreet fuss.

    I'd also recommend using your training in journalism as a selling point when you start searching for jobs: media literacy is quite properly a big deal in English/language arts these days.
     
  14. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    I'm in PA so it may be different than NJ but I teach 6th in a middle school (6-8) and almost none of my coworkers in 6th grade have middle years certs and just have K-6.

    Now, having said all that, do I think it's still a good idea to get the middle years certification? Absolutely. NJ is a tough place to get a job, so a district may have plenty of candidates and not be interested in the ones who can only teach 6th grade. They may want the flexibility of someone who can teach any of the middle year grades.
     
  15. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    In Virginia, I'm certified PreK-6, and I theoretically could get a 6th grade job at a middle school, but realistically, no middle school would hire me.
     
  16. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    OP, I said that you had to have the 15 credits in ELA in hand to test, but that's not true. In many states, you have to be approved to test before you can actually sign up and pay to take the test - Texas comes to mind. In NJ, you can take the test, on your dime, at any time. When I tested for the MS ELA cert, NJ was about to change the Praxis required. I was confident about the current exam, but a little worried about the "unknown test", which had no history or in depth study guides to use. I took the old, established exam before the cut off date. By the fall, the new test was in place, but since I had passed the old exam, I was good to go once we figured out the credits. In essence, I "banked" my good score, so I wasn't aware of the tightening of the time frame for a while. It didn't affect me, because I had already tested with ETS, and the timing on the CLEP exam was short. What can happen is having your transcript evaluated, which starts the clock, and then experiencing delays passing the Praxis possibly, and coupled with maybe having to get more undergrad credits as needed. The six months or so that they give you can pass pretty quickly the more contingencies that must be met. I just wanted to be more exact in my answer.
     
  17. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    In Wisconsin, you could teach it, but they would likely higher someone with the topic emphasis or minor/major. I am certified k-8. I wanted a job for grades 2-6 math intervention but they required a math major. I questioned it and they said they would only consider me if there were no other qualified and good candidates. Since I am certified to teach 8th grade, I know I would have been an excellent fit.
     
  18. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    OP, I was thinking that you should look in the course catalog from your university and see how many of the journalism courses are also found in the English department courses. Many courses count in more than one category. I have some biochemistry courses that are found in animal science as well as chemistry. The one English course that NJ denied was considered fine arts as well as English within the university, but the NJDOE didn't consider it "enough" English for my content. Clep exams that would probably fill the bill include:

    CLEP (College Level Examination Program) offers 33 exams that allow you to accelerate your academic career by earning college credit through testing for a subject in which you may have gained knowledge as a result of experience. Study Guides are available at: www.collegeboard.org/clep

    CLEP (College Level Examination Program) Registration Procedure
    Set up an appointment at least two days in advance:
    On the day of the appointment:
    • One form of government issued ID is required: a current Driver's License, passport, state or Province ID, National ID, Tribal ID, naturalization card or certificate of citizenship, a Permanent Resident card or Military ID. All ID's must be current and contain name, photograph, and signature.
    • $45 proctor fee payable by cash or check
    Please read the footnotes on the bottom of this page. It is the student's responsibility to be sure that the exam will apply to his/her curriculum.

    CLEP Subject Exams

    Score

    Credit

    American Literature
    50 6 cr. American Literature I & II

    Analyzing and Interpreting Literature
    50 6 cr. 200 Level English Literature

    College Composition
    50 6 cr. English Composition I & II

    English Literature
    50 6 cr. 200 Level English Literature


    Accounting, Financial
    50 4 cr. Financial Accounting

    Business Law, Introductory
    50 3 cr. Business Law I


    Pre-calculus
    50 6 cr. Precalculus I and II

    Algebra, College
    50 3 cr. Precalculus I

    Calculus w/Elementary Functions
    50 4 cr. Calculus I

    College Math
    50 3 cr. Number Systems


    Biology, General
    50 8 cr. General Biology I & II

    Natural Science1,2
    50 6 cr. non-lab Science elective

    Chemistry, General
    50 8 cr. General Chemistry I & II


    Educational Psychology, Introduction to
    50 3 cr. Educational Psychology\

    French Language, College Level4
    59 3 - 6 cr. Intermediate French I & II

    German Language, College Level4
    63 3 - 6 cr. Intermediate German I & II


    History of the U.S. I: Early Colonizations-1877
    50 3 cr. U.S. History: Beginnings to 1877

    History of the U.S. II: 1865-Present
    50 3 cr. U.S. History: 1877 to Present

    Western Civilization I: Ancient Near East-1648
    50 3 cr. World Civilization I

    Western Civilization II: 1648-Present
    50 3 cr. World Civilization II

    Human Growth & Development
    50 3 cr. Child Development OR Psychology elective

    Humanities1
    50 6 cr. Humanities elective

    Information Systems & Computer App.5
    50 5 cr. Comp Concepts & Programming & JAVA Programming

    Macroeconomics, Principles of
    50 3 cr. Macroeconomics

    Management, Principles of
    50 3 cr. Principles of Management
    Marketing, Principles of
    50 3 cr. Principles of Marketing I

    Microeconomics, Principles of
    50 3 cr. Microeconomics

    Psychology, Introductory
    50

    3 cr. Introduction to Psychology
    Social Sciences - History3
    50

    6 cr. General Education elective
    Sociology, Introductory
    50

    I know that I missed some of the foreign language tests, but my computer was giving me fits tonight.
     

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