Warren among school districts piloting teacher cadets program

LITTLE ROCK — Teaching continues to remain a high-demand occupation in Arkansas. To help offset that need, three Arkansas school districts are piloting the Arkansas Teacher Cadets program, a teacher preparation program offered through the Arkansas Department of Education.

More than 40 students in 11th and 12th grades in the Warren, Conway and Southside (Batesville) school districts are participating this school year. In addition to encouraging participants to become teachers, the program sharpens students’ leadership and organizational skills by giving them hands-on experience in the teaching field.

“Many school districts around the state struggle to find qualified teachers, specifically in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects,” Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner Dr. Tom Kimbrell said. “The real-world experience students receive with the Arkansas Teacher Cadets program gives students an excellent overview of what it takes to be a teacher.”

The nationally recognized program was developed by the Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention and Advancement in South Carolina and has been adopted in 36 states. Instructors are experienced teachers who possess a master’s degree, are approved to teach concurrent credit classes and have completed a three-day program certification training provided by ADE.

Forty-four standards that align with multiple national education and accreditation associations are taught throughout the year. These standards include an overview of education history and trends, as well as ways to identify various learning needs and styles. Students learn effective teaching practices, observe classrooms and prepare and teach lessons.

In order for students to be eligible, they must have a B average, be enrolled in a college preparation curriculum, provide at least three teacher recommendations, be a junior or senior, submit an essay and complete an interview.

High schools, charter schools and career and technical centers are encouraged to participate during the 2014-2015 school year. Schools that participate will be eligible to receive a grant from ADE to purchase the latest curriculum, materials and supplies. Those interested in applying should contact Misty Harp, the ADE Teacher Recruitment and Retention Program advisor, at 501-682-6349 or arteachercadets@arkansas.gov.

For more information and to watch a video highlighting Arkansas participants, go to the ADE website at www.arkansased.org. For a direct link, go to www.arkansased.org/divisions/human-resources-educator-effectiveness-and-....