Training program

WDE launches teacher training program

The Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) announced in a press release that the Wyoming Teacher Apprenticeship Initiative will launch a pilot program in the spring of 2023.

The initiative is a partnership with the Professional Teaching Standards Board (PTSB) and the U.S. Department of Labor, which will have three pilot school districts to begin accepting applications.

In July of this year, the three pilot districts were chosen, Laramie County School District #1, Teton County School District #1, and Fremont County School District #24.

Chad Auer, Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction, said in the statement:

“This is an important step in Wyoming’s educational journey,” Auer said. “I have no doubt that the Wyoming Teacher Learning Initiative will make an extremely positive contribution to our state.”

The WDE will begin talking with other school districts in the fall of 2023 for apprenticeships that will be open in the spring of 2024.

From a FAQ page on the WDE website, the program will last up to three years, depending on previous experience, and the program will provide some kind of financial support to teachers enrolled in the program in the form of salaries which increase as some parts of the program are completed.

The program aims to provide higher quality teachers to school districts to “fill positions that will be needed in the future.”

The WDE also states that “the program will take one to three years to address the current teacher shortage issues due to the time required for participants to complete the apprenticeship”, it does not provide further details on the impact of the teacher shortage in Wyoming. initiative.

This is especially relevant due to the issues in the Natrona County School District, as well as most other districts in the state and across the countyhave to recruit and retain teachers.

For the NCSD in particular, according to a staffing report in August, the district was missing dozens of classified and certified positions, and it is unclear if they have been able to fill any of those positions since then.

The program also has mentors, teachers who have at least three years of experience and are good at teaching, who help guide teachers through the program and who receive some form of stipend.

Mentors will undergo an 18-month training at the University of Wyoming program launched in June this year.

It is unclear how much teachers or mentors enrolled in the apprenticeship program are paid or how much funding the WDE allocates to the program.

The WDE and PTSB began work on the Wyoming Teacher Apprenticeship initiative in the spring of 2022.

The initiative will have a three-phase approach, with the first phase focusing on staff currently employed in the district who have an associate degree.

The second phase will connect staff currently employed in the district who do not have an associate degree, as well as individuals outside the district who wish to become teachers.

The third phase will focus on creating pathways for high school students interested in teaching.

It’s unclear when the second and third phases will begin, how long they will last, or what exactly they will entail.

PTSB Executive Director Brendan O’Connor said in the statement:

“The apprenticeship is an opportunity for school districts to support and develop future teachers and educators within the school district and community,” O’Connor said. “Apprentices will be mentored through the Educator Preparation Program that meets PTSB licensure requirements. Apprentices will finish with more classroom experience than those in a traditional preparation program.”

The program has several requirements, including that the teacher be an employee of the district, have worked in the district for at least one year, have completed an application with a letter of recommendation from a district administrator, be interviewed by district staff district, complete the work-based learning and obtain the Wyoming PTSB teacher certificate.

School districts can add any requirements or qualifications they deem necessary and assess applicants based on the needs of each school.

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