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DC-based online teaching certification program raising $1m

TEACH-NOW, an online teaching certification and master's program based in the District, will graduate its second cohort of teachers this month. The company, which opened a $1M equity funding round last month, was founded in 2011 by Emily Feistritzer, a longtime leader in educational technology and curriculum development. Prior to founding TEACH-NOW, Feistritzer helmed the National Center for Education Information for 35 years.
"I'd done a lot of studies on alternative routes for certifying teachers," Feistritzer says, "and I concluded a few years ago that if I was going to live to see innovation [in the field], I better create it myself."
TEACH-NOW is an online certification program that takes nine months to complete. It uses a collaborative, project-based approach to prepare educators for kindergarten through 12th grade classrooms. Graduates of the program are certified to teach in either the District of Columbia or in Arizona. TEACH-NOW also offers an online M.A. in curriculum and instruction from the University of the Pacific; candidates who complete that program are certified to teach in California.
 "We chose D.C. [for certification] because D.C. has some of the most rigorous standards and program approval process," Feistritzer relates. Despite the rigorous standards, a candidate's physical presence in the District is not required, making the District's certificate ideal for a virtual learning environment. "D.C. does not require that you sit for the test in the District itself." Most states offer reciprocity with D.C., Arizona and California, meaning that once a teaching certificate is earned in one, it transfers to another.
"We equip, enable and empower tomorrow's teachers for tomorrow's students in tomorrow's learning environment," Feistritzer explains. TEACH-NOW puts technology at the center of the program, where Feistritzer thinks it belongs. "I believe the way children are learning prior to [coming to] school is very different. Look at two-year-olds with iPads. The model of 'teacher as dispenser of knowledge' is over."
TEACH-NOW is currently hiring in the realms of instruction, admissions, marketing and design. "We're growing rapidly," Feistritzer says. "Our scaling up will happen at a fast clip."

Read more articles by Allyson Jacob.

Allyson Jacob is a writer originally hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio, and is the Innovation and Job News editor for Elevation DC. Her work has been featured in The Cincinnati Enquirer and Cincinnati CityBeat. Have a tip about a small business or start-up making waves inside the Beltway? Tell her here.
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