Central Partnership to Address Teacher Shortage

Central-ASU program targets teacher shortage in Pinal County

College graduates are being recruited to return to school in January 2007 so they can begin teaching in Pinal County elementary schools with a provisional certificate in as little as two years.

The campaign is an effort by Central Arizona College and Arizona State University. The two institutions have formed the Pinal Partnership to relieve the county’s acute shortage of teachers.

Thanks to the partnership students can take all of their coursework in Pinal County.

And Central even has a $15,000 budget to help students pay Central tuition and buy books for classes this spring.

Those who enter the program when it begins in January can become provisionally certified elementary teachers by spring 2009 and can have an ASU master’s degree in education the next semester.

Central and ASU classes can be taken at Central sites in Pinal County or online. “Scheduling permits students to maintain full-time jobs while earning their teaching certification,” said Corina Cisneros Taylor, program coordinator.

“Entry is open to those who have a bachelor’s degree in any field from an accredited institution,” she said, adding that “The program is especially attractive for those teaching with emergency certification as well as other school staff members who hold bachelor’s degrees.

“The partnership enables students to earn Arizona K-8 teaching certification and their Full Structured English Immersion Endorsement,” Taylor explained.

She said the goal of the program is to pave the way for more certified teachers in Pinal County to ease an acute shortage of qualified teachers.

“In some districts, at least half of the teachers are hired annually from other states and often leave for other teaching positions in metropolitan areas or leave teaching after a year or two,” Taylor noted.

“This concept was formed in an effort to provide a stable, well-trained teacher workforce in Pinal County,” she added.

Teachers who graduate from the program will receive placement assistance and must commit to spending a minimum of three years as a classroom teacher in Pinal County.

“The amount of Central financial aid available to each student this spring will depend upon how many students enter the program,” Taylor said.

She explained that students in the Pinal Partnership’s first group this spring will enroll in five Central classes. Scheduling of the classes, including in the evenings, online and via interactive television at Central’s three campuses and several centers throughout Pinal County, will enable students to enroll while holding full-time jobs.

Students will advance to ASU classes this summer, but those classes also will be taught at Central sites.

Candidates will take five Central classes in the fall of 2007, with student teaching or other options available during following semesters.

After completing additional coursework in fall 2008 the students can be provisionally certified and teaching while they finish their coursework to earn a master’s in elementary education from ASU.

Taylor said those who are interested in joining the first group in the program this spring should call her by Dec. 1. She is available by phone at 520-494-5003 or 480-727-1626 or via e-mail at corina.taylor@asu.edu.

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