21 teacher prospects recruited for Carson City schools

Carson City School District kindergarten teacher Heather Canfield assists on a puzzle with one of her students.

Carson City School District kindergarten teacher Heather Canfield assists on a puzzle with one of her students.

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Carson City School District’s first iteachNEVADA onboarding event Feb. 13 produced 21 teaching candidates who applied for the “Grow Your Own” educator preparation program to help with teacher shortages.

The alternative route to licensure (ARL) partnership through iteachNEVADA, a nationally accredited online certification program assisting those with a bachelor’s degree to earn a teaching license through training, coaching and career advancement, is intended to help CCSD’s recruitment process through test preparation and assessment of coursework and educator platforms.

The district has offered full reimbursement of iteach tuition to any candidate who is hired by Carson City who completes the program while they work as a contracted teacher in the district, with additional requirements that apply.

But will it keep teachers in Carson City? Administrators say it will.

“We’re minimally going to have these teachers for two years, we’re hoping to build skills and their desire to stay with our district beyond that,” said Tasha Fuson, associate superintendent of educational services. “If a teacher came and worked with us for one year and got relocated, they can go, but we’re in that same position with any teacher.”

Kimberly Thaggard, western director of iteachUS, who formerly worked as a classroom teacher, administrator and wrote curriculum as part of the International Baccalaureate Educator Network, said ARL programs often cost hundreds of thousands of dollars for candidates, but this option provides a less expensive and more effective route that trickles down to parents and community members in the long run.

While some might already hold post-bachelor’s degree, others are new to the classroom, according to a CCSD release. So they receive help in their first year, education preparation program candidates are assigned a one-on-one supervisor for their field experience and mentors guide and perform formal observations of their candidates. Supervisors work in tandem with schools and principals to ensure growth and coaching. As an iteach “Grow Your Own” partner, Carson City School District elected to use former Carson City principals familiar with the district’s vision and goals to lead new recruits.

Thaggard said the program offers something brick-and-mortar universities typically don’t and produces results not often achieved.

“Most (candidates) have master’s degrees and Ph.D.s,” she said. “We have highly qualified candidates that come our way. Fifty-one percent of our candidates are non-white. More students are likely to learn with an Hispanic teacher. Ninety-one percent stay in the profession at least three years. Any substitutes or parapro(fessional)s, we will give them free test prep not just for their first exams but their culminating exams.”

Those who finish their program in iteachNEVADA receive 12 hours of credit toward one of its master’s degree pathways and it helps reduce what the student pays toward its $9,500 in tuition for a 15- to 20-month program.

Thaggard said 57 participants signed up for the Feb. 13 recruiting event, with 21 candidates enrolling for the program, and they expected more to enroll in time.

“A lot of the folks that came (Feb. 13), they’ve already served as long-term subs for five or six years and said they didn’t know how to take that next step,” she said. “Starting in February is super smart. They can apply and enroll and they’re still in the pipe mid-May. That could be 20 more people in a couple of weeks.”

Fuson said there are teachers who have gone the ARL route as an option for licensure. Other such programs are available to them in Nevada, pointing out the benefits to Carson City.

“The state is not producing enough candidates for the need,” Fuson said.


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