Training program

Fayette schools create training program for teacher shortage

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Students in Venecia Proctor’s 4th grade language arts class at SCAPA, the School of Creative and Performing Arts, on Lafayette Parkway in Lexington, Ky., on Monday, October 17, 2022.

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A local solution to the national problem of teacher recruitment and retention was introduced in Lexington on Monday.

A new program called “Grow Your Own” aims to recruit high school students exploring a career in education, Fayette employees interested in obtaining certification to teach, community members considering a career in teaching, and educators and Fayette staff who want leadership roles, district officials said. .

The program to help Fayette schools “develop” their own teachers will recruit, develop and retain educators connected to the Lexington community and who have “lived experiences” with Fayette students, officials said in a statement. .

Fayette School District “is taking the next step through Grow Your Own to live our mission and recruit the students, employees, and community members we need to build a workforce that truly represents Lexington.” and the students and families we serve,” said Superintendent Demetris Liggins. “We are excited to launch what we believe is a local solution to the national problem of recruiting and retaining talented educators.”

As of last week, Fayette County Public Schools had eight vacancies for special education teachers (seven elementary schools and one high school). Other teaching vacancies include six high school positions (two in math, one in science, two in social studies, and one in vocational training), three college positions (one in math, one in intervention, and one in a suspension prevention called SAFE) and an intervention station at the elementary school, said Fayette Schools communications director Katie Williams.

Governor Andy Beshear recently said Kentucky has 11,000 teachers vacant jobs.

“Grow Your Own” is an initiative to support education-related career opportunities for Fayette County Schools students, staff, and community members. The program is new website launched on Monday.

Research indicates that a diverse workforce can have positive effects on students’ academic achievement, behavior and social-emotional development, Liggins said. The Grow Your Own program provides solutions for future educators facing employment, financial and other challenges, and it paves the way for a diverse workforce, stronger schools and a connected community, a- he declared.

Liggins said the Fayette County Education Association brought him the idea of ​​Grow Your Own in hopes of seeing more diversity among teachers. He said some students walked through the school without seeing a teacher who looked like them.

Partnerships with Kentucky universities and organizations will provide program participants with access to scholarships, localized support and resources, and immediate practice at Fayette schools.

Representatives from Central Kentucky Educational Cooperative, Fayette County Education Association, Eastern Kentucky University, Kentucky State University, University of Kentucky College of Education and Western Kentucky University were at a press conference Monday afternoon, according to a news release.

Amanda Sewell, a teaching and learning educator at Tates Creek High School, said her students who want to become educators are already demonstrating strong skills.

“As we reimagine recruitment, support, and retention, the FCPS Grow Your Own program will advance the education profession to support student learning. This essential element will enhance our highly effective and culturally-appropriate workforce,” said Lori Bowen, director of educator development for the school district.

There will be a Grow Your Own launch celebration from 4:30-6:30 p.m. on November 7 in the cafeteria at Frederick Douglass High School, 2000 Winchester Road. Free entry. RSVP by noon on November 7.

Writer Valarie Honeycutt Spears covers K-12 education, social issues, and other topics. She is originally from Lexington with roots in southeastern Kentucky.