- Lawrence Township Schools in Indianapolis has developed new program to help 14 employees, most of whom are now serving as teacher’s aides, social workers, or behavior specialists, complete the course work they need to become certified teachers, Chalkbeat reports.
- The “district-based alternative certification” program, which was created through a partnership between the school district and the School of Education at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, allows these professionals to earn their certification in 18 months in the evening while they maintain their current jobs.
- The program also allows the district to increase diversity as 12 of the 14 students in the program are people of color.
With teacher recruitment becoming a growing issue for school districts, more district leaders are looking within their own ranks to fill the need. This district does not offer to pay for the classes, though the income for most increases as they take positions in the classroom. In other areas where similar programs were paid for, the results of the program were not as encouraging as this one has been so far.
The value of this approach is that is helps identify and target employees who are already familiar with the culture and work of the district. It also allows school leaders to create more diversity in their teaching staff. This is an approach that has been tried in other areas with some success and is important because increased diversity among teachers is recognized as a important factor in student achievement.
Some school districts are exploring other homegrown strategies by looking at high school teachers as potential employees of the district. Some are holding workshops to encourage students to pursue a teaching career. Others are creating teacher cadet pathways to give students early experience toward a career. In either case, schools are finding that they have to look at the present in order to build their future.