PUSD Growing Their Own Educators

PUSD Growing Their Own Educators

Article audio is made possible by CAST11 Prescott Podcast Network. A Talking Glass Media production.

During this nationwide teacher shortage, Prescott Unified School District (PUSD) has been lucky to fill all teaching positions. Besides having positive staff morale at schools, great students, and high academic achievement, much of the success of filling teaching positions in PUSD is a newly-created program to grow their own educators!

PUSD, Keystone Educator Program, education, Prescott Unified School District, mentoring,PUSD, Keystone Educator Program, education, Prescott Unified School District, mentoring,

2023-2024 Keystone Educator Preparation Program Teacher Students (picture courtesy of Prescott Unified School District)

The PUSD Keystone Educator Preparation Program is a job-embedded training program that allows highly skilled, conscientious, hard-working individuals with a bachelor’s degree to earn a teacher’s certificate in the State of Arizona.

This tuition-free program was developed after the Arizona Department of Education and the State Board of Education approved a teacher preparation program that provides an alternative path to certification, outside of the traditional four-year university pathway. As a result of this program, a process was created for school districts to “grow their own” educators through a classroom-based, real-time preparation program.

PUSD’s program has been up and running for one year, with 9 participants enrolled for the 2023-2024 school year. This program has been extremely beneficial for both the district and the non-certified PUSD teachers. This school year, we were able to fill 9 teaching positions with individuals eager to work with students while helping them earn their certification through district training with high-impact curriculum and highly qualified instructional coaches.

This two-year program requires that the teachers report for work one week earlier than other PUSD teachers, attend one class a week outside their contract time, complete extra class work without additional compensation, and meet with an instructional coach each week. While working through Keystone, the participants must hold an emergency teacher certificate or an alternative pathway teacher certificate, and have a current IVP fingerprint card.

The high-impact curriculum units created for this program are directly related to skills and knowledge teachers need to effectively function in the classroom and ensure students are successful including Classroom Management, Building Productive Relationships, Lesson Planning and Instructional Delivery, Standards and Curriculum, Professional Responsibilities, Student Assessment, Technology in the Classroom, and Learner Development.

After completing the 1st semester of this program, the teacher students’ feedback demonstrates that the program is on track: “I would be going totally blind without this course,” “I am more mentally prepared for my lessons and feel confident in my delivery of the content,” and “Amazing program. Experienced teachers, thoughtful curriculum. Overall fantastic. We are lucky to have this program. First year is tough and I can’t imagine people who do this without a team of support behind them.”

PUSD hopes to continue attracting motivated individuals who have a bachelor’s degree in another area but who have a desire to become a teacher. If you or someone you know might be interested, please contact Andy Binder, our HR Director at 445-5400.

Read more stories from Education on Signals A Z.com.

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