Earlier this fall, the College of Education announced it will receive $1.9 million over five years to help schools in Broward, Palm Beach and Okeechobee counties expand the number of fully certified teachers to teach and serve students by streamlining the route to teacher certification. Part of the U.S. Department of Education's Transition to Teaching program, the grant is part of $11.8 million awarded to help high-need school districts recruit and retain highly qualified mid-career professionals, including qualified paraprofessionals and recent college graduates who have not majored in education, to teach in high-need schools.
The Transition to Teaching program provides five-year grants to state and local education agencies, for-profit and nonprofit organizations, and institutions of higher education collaborating with states or high-need school districts to develop and implement comprehensive methods to train, place and support teacher candidates whom they have recruited into their programs. These programs have to ensure that the new teachers are placed in high-need schools and districts and are supported for at least three years. FAU and five other Florida-based education agencies, including Palm Beach Community College, received Transition to Teaching grants.
FAU’s program, Pathways to Teaching, will partner with the Broward, Palm Beach and Okeechobee county school districts to serve students in target areas of rural poverty. These districts are home to more than three million Florida residents, with about 25 percent foreign -born. Although some parts of these counties are affluent, some schools in the counties serve communities in which 99 percent of the children are eligible for free or reduced lunch. All three districts anticipate hiring thousands of additional teachers in the coming years. The grant is expected to increase the number of highly qualified teachers who are recruited into teaching from the ranks of paraprofessionals as well as non-traditional sources and help them through the Florida teacher certification process and placement in high-need schools. The grant will recruit teachers for high-need subjects, with preference for applicants with backgrounds in science and mathematics.
“We’re excited that we are addressing the needs of the rural programs that usually get overlooked, as well as the hard-to-staff schools,” said Dr. Rebecca Harlin, project director for Pathways to Teaching. “By including the paraprofessionals, we are proud that we will be making an impact on their lives and their families’ future.”
The FAU Pathways to Teaching program will expand the number of fully certified teachers. This is in addition to the Palm Beach Community College 2+2 program, which is a collaborative effort by the community college, FAU and the Palm Beach County School District to help non-teacher-trained professionals with bachelor’s degrees transition into teaching careers in Palm Beach County.
For more information on the Pathways to Teaching program, contact the Department of Teacher Education at ext. 7-6588.