Posted Date: 02/07/2024
Hiring and retaining qualified teachers is a high-priority matter for the Beauregard Parish school system. This issue has become more challenging due to higher teacher turnover and fewer people pursuing certification in our state.
According to the “2022-2023 Teacher Exit Survey Report to the House and Senate Committees on Education of the Louisiana Legislature,” a report of the 69 public school systems in the state, the number of teachers in the state exiting the system at the end of the 2023 school year was at 13%, a one percentage point drop from the previous year, but still higher than the 12% average for the decade. In addition, the number of new teachers prepared by the Louisiana Teacher Prep program has shown a steady decrease each year of the past decade.
A new program implemented in Beauregard Parish seeks to provide high school students who express an interest in pursuing a career in education the opportunity to learn about the profession and get a head start toward successful completion of a degree. The Ed Rising program seeks to develop aspiring teachers through engaging high school students in hands-on experience, cultivating skills, and sustaining interest in the profession.
“Training, attracting, and retaining qualified teachers is a multi-faceted issue that requires thinking outside the box and applying new strategies to meet the needs of our schools,” said Cassady Hickingbottom, Instructional Supervisor for Secondary Education. “The Ed Rising Program is a new tool that we have added to our toolbox to engage students interested in education in pursuing their dream to become a teacher.”
According to the EdWeek Research Center 2023 Survey, six in ten teachers work in the same state they grew up in. Developing educators from high school through certification makes sense if school systems want to invest in increasing the pool of potential teachers for the future.
Currently, DeRidder High School students have the opportunity to participate in the two-year program to prepare them for success in the field of education. This is the second year of the program for the school.
“At DeRidder High School, the Ed Rising program provides an elective course to give students who are interested in becoming teachers experience in the classroom as well as an introduction to collegiate level coursework,” said teacher Amanda Liles.
The Ed Rising program is a two-year elective credit, with Level I and Level II training, where students can earn JumpStart Pathway credentials, certifications, and college credit. The coursework explores key components of education, like building an educator mindset, the basics of instruction, classroom culture, child development, experiential learning, and lesson planning.
Students spend one day a week working with a cooperating teacher at an elementary school, where they observe and engage in hands-on learning. Students observed at Pine Wood Elementary last school year and are working with K.R. Hanchey Elementary teachers for the current school year.
“We believe that by investing in our students today through the Ed Rising Program, both they and our school system will see the benefits in the future,” concluded Hickingbottom. “We already have plans to expand the program to other schools and hope to see it flourish as we invest in our future educators and the future of our schools.”