PA Department of Education Revamps Certifications Webpage to Better Serve Educators
In a continuing effort to better serve the educator workforce, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has revamped its website to allow current and prospective educators to more easily access information related to certifications.
“Throughout the extensive feedback we solicited from educators and administrators, PDE heard loud and clear that both its certification process and webpage needed to be improved, and the department acted expeditiously to make the process more seamless and easier-to-use,” said Acting Secretary of Education Eric Hagarty. “Along with dozens of action steps woven into the department’s Educator Workforce Strategy, these changes will improve customer service and help educators more easily obtain the services and resources they need.”
The site restructure used analytics to determine which pages were most highly visited and prioritized them in this effort. The Certification page is consistently one of the most visited pages on the PDE website. Since January 1, 2022, the page has had more than 209,000 unique visitors.
Changes to the Certification page include more easy-to-follow breakdowns on common topics that educators are searching for; condensed and updated frequently asked questions; a step-by-step guide and instructional YouTube video for first-time users; and more.
This effort responds to feedback received from the field and supplements PDE’s recently released strategic plan to recruit and retain more educators across the commonwealth, The Foundation of Our Economy: Pennsylvania Educator Workforce Strategy, 2022-2025.
Some participants in the feedback sessions noted that the current website for certification and the Teacher Information Management System (TIMS) are not intuitive and are hard to navigate. Some complaints were shared regarding the difficulty in remembering the login to the site.
Additionally, as noted in Pennsylvania’s ARP ESSER State Plan, PDE is in the process of identifying upgrades for both the Pennsylvania Information Management System (PIMS) and the TIMS to better anticipate educator staffing needs at local education agencies (LEAs) across Pennsylvania.
The educator-workforce plan builds on the Wolf Administration’s efforts over the past eight years to ensure a high-quality education to learners of all ages across the commonwealth. The administration has increased education funding by more than $3.7 billion since 2015, with an historic increase of $1.8 billion in this year’s final budget.