Arkansas Department of Education introduces new program to address teacher shortages

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – The Arkansas Department of Education is working to address a teacher shortage with a new residency program.

The Teacher Residency Pathway will allow students to start earning credits as early as high school with career-focused education that allows students to receive an Certified Teaching Assistant credit. CTAs will be eligible to participate in the Teacher Residency Pathway to complete their degree and get their license.

Sharlee Crowson is the Special Projects Coordinator for the Arkansas Department of Education. She said the idea is to fill vacancies with people who complete this program. It also provides financial support, hands on experience in the classroom and coaching along the way.

One current teacher, Alex Fitzgerald said she thinks this is a good idea, but still worries about retaining teachers.

“I do think that this is a very creative solution and I do value that they are trying to find options, I just think they are not really addressing the problem,” she said.

Fitzgerald said the problem seems to be keeping teachers more than getting them in the first place.

Crowson agreed that teacher retention is a concern across Arkansas. Despite this program not necessarily ensuring teachers will stay in the profession, she hopes it is a step in the right direction.

The program is set to begin in fall of 2022.

For more information about the pathway, click here.

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