Caddo has programs to help address its teacher shortage now and later
One puts people from all walks of life in the classroom, another trains aspiring educators
SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — Caddo Schools, the largest school district in Northwest Louisiana, is struggling with a teacher shortage but not as bad as many other school districts.
Caddo officials say one effort that has helped them offset the shortage is the alternative certification program.
Anyone with a bachelor’s degree in any field can participate. And through it, people from all walks of life — from ex-journalists to former business owners — have transitioned into teaching.
District officials say the program was formed years ago with a potential teacher shortage in mind.
“Thanks to our superintendent and board, we were able to think forward about eight years ago and anticipate that we might have some of these shortages,” said Karen Peace, teacher recruiter for Caddo Schools.
“We have had over 100 candidates go through that program. And we’ve been able to retain about 85% of those candidates. That’s a really great retention rate for candidates who are switching careers and becoming teachers later in life.”
Meantime, Caddo has a more recent program that is preparing educators in the long term.
Caddo Schools is looking to raise its teachers from the ground up through Educators Rising, a program that is offered through a club in certain Caddo schools.
Students in the school district who are interested in becoming educators can join the club, which offers the students the opportunity to earn education credits and experience before going to college.
The students then sign an agreement with the school district that offers them incentives to come back home and start their careers.
The program started two years ago.
District officials told KSLA News 12 it had a slow start but is growing now.
“The first year that we had Educators Rising Club, we signed five students to go off to college,” Peace said. “Last year, we signed 45. So we are, every year, growing the opportunities and letting kids see that teaching is a great career.”
District officials predict that the program will be very successful and will bring a surplus of teachers back to the district.
This interactive gives some insight into the trends in education majors, student enrollment, teacher salaries and other aspect of teacher shortages:
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