WT and AC Join with ISDs to Boost Number of Texas Panhandle Teachers

WT+and+AC+Join+with+ISDs+to+Boost+Number+of+Texas+Panhandle+Teachers

Chip Chandler

Copy by Chip Chandler, 806-651-2124, [email protected]

AMARILLO, Texas — An innovative plan to increase the number of teachers in Texas Panhandle school districts was announced Sept. 12 by West Texas A&M University and Amarillo College officials.

One2Teach will significantly reduce the time and costs for high school students who want to become teachers.

“We think this new collaborative effort addresses the significant challenges of recruiting teachers and of student debt,” said Dr. Beth Garcia, assistant dean of graduate programs and professional certifications in WT’s Terry B. Rogers College of Education and Social Sciences. “High school students who know they have a passion for teaching but are concerned about the cost and time of pursuing that degree now have a pathway to their own classroom that will begin even before they earn their high school diploma.”

Participating school districts at the launch of the One2Teach program are Amarillo Independent School District, Canyon ISD, Dumas ISD and Hereford ISD. Students completing One2Teach will receive priority placement and guaranteed interviews at their home district.

“These students,” said Dennis Sarine, AC’s director of teacher preparation & early childhood education, “will be purposefully and intentionally advised on their dual-credit courses while in high school, then will finish their teacher preparation program in just three years. Our area communities will benefit from a pool of highly qualified new teachers who are committed to beginning their careers in their hometowns.”

Students in the program can save as much as 36 percent of the cost of their college degree and reduce the time it takes between high school graduation and teacher certification by as much as 25 percent.

In the program, students will be guided through 30 semester credit hours of dual-credit coursework during their junior and senior years in high school.

They will then complete core course requirements and introductory education courses in one year at AC, followed by two full years of training and teacher preparation at WT.

“This is an inclusive initiative,” said Christie Volmer, chief human resources officer for Hereford ISD. “We look forward to other school districts joining us, because we all benefit from having a larger pool of highly trained teachers.”

About 75 percent of all teachers and administrators throughout the Panhandle region have at least one degree or certificate from WT.

For information, visit wtamu.edu/one2teach.

Meeting regional needs is a key mission of WT’s long-range plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.

That plan is fueled by the historic, $125 million One West comprehensive fundraising campaign. To date, the five-year campaign — which publicly launched Sept. 23 — has raised more than $110 million.

 

Photo: Dr. Beth Garcia, assistant dean of graduate programs and professional certifications in WT’s Terry B. Rogers College of Education and Social Sciences, introduces the new One2Teach program, a collaborative effort to help increase the number of certified teachers in the Texas Panhandle.

 

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