ABIGAIL KESSLER Journalist Sun
The Arizona Department of Education (ADE) on July 28 released a report on Arizona teaching staff in 2020 based on data that local education committees submitted as part of their request for contributions from teachers. The Arizona Teachers Academy (ATA) program is one of the ways universities try to encourage education students to become teachers in the state.
The report states that there were 58,293 active teachers in the state during the 2019/20 school year, and an additional 34,661 who had teaching certificates but were not currently teaching in public schools in Arizona. Of the latter group, 10,705 had never taught in the state.
Part of the reason, according to the report, is that “Arizona-based online teacher preparation programs …[often] educate teachers who live out of state and can receive certification in Arizona. These people often immediately apply for a reciprocity certificate in their home country, never teaching here. He also mentioned that out-of-state students return to another state after graduation.
The report also noted a high attrition rate for teachers early in their careers.
“Efforts to recruit new teachers,” the report said, “are hampered by Arizona’s ability to retain teachers in the early years of their careers. Teachers can leave the profession for many reasons – being a teacher in Arizona means a challenging and demanding job. Some never intend to teach for a short time, or some may have honored a grant or loan forgiveness commitment.
People also read …
The report then clarified that it did not seek to answer the question of why Arizona teachers are leaving the profession.
ATA is a program that helps cover the tuition costs of students who agree to teach in Arizona schools after graduation. It is offered by Arizona’s three public universities as well as community colleges in Scottsdale, Rio Salado, and Pima.
The ATA continues to develop its curriculum, both statewide and at Northern Arizona University.
“Starting in the fall of 2021,” Newberg wrote, “ATA at NAU has added more curriculum as well as content-related courses to meet the needs of in-service teachers who are upgrading their qualifications to teach dual enrollment courses “, which are high school courses that also count as university credits.
Newberg also said the ATA now covers the cost of certifying ADE teachers for its graduates.
More than 950 NAU students were enrolled in the ATA in the 2020/21 school year, according to Julie Newberg, director of communications for the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR). She said just under half (48%) were studying anywhere other than the Flagstaff Mountain campus of the NAU.
The program started with “nearly 60” participants in fall 2017, Newberg said. NAU’s first ATA students graduated in the 2018/19 academic year, 26 in total. Last year, Newberg said, there were 269. A total of 2,933 students received ATA scholarships in the spring semester of 2021.
One of these students, Victor Gastelum, is in his fourth year at the NAU. Originally from California, he visited the Flagstaff campus on a road trip with his grandmother and “knew NAU was where I wanted to go.”
Shortly after arriving on the NAU campus, he began studying part-time, working full-time as a bus driver at the university to reduce his tuition fees. He joined the ATA after its inception at NAU and was able to return to being a full-time student and part-time employee.
“It was certainly a great relief when this amount of financial assistance came into play for a career path that [I] wanted to do it anyway, ”Gastelum said. “It really makes you want to stay in Arizona and teach here. “
ADE’s press release on its 2020 report said the pandemic was having a limited impact on the size and average age of teaching staff in Arizona. Instead, there were fewer specialist teachers and more students enrolled in charter or online schools.
“Although the overall size of the workforce has not changed significantly, there has been a significant decline in the number of specialist teachers needed to help fill learning gaps,” the statement said. Press.
Being a teacher has “always been” one of Gastelum’s goals, and a second year high school chemistry teacher inspired him to pursue the science. After graduation, he said, he’s ready to go anywhere, but hopes to stay in Arizona, specifically teaching chemistry and math in Flagstaff.
“I’m quite anxious to get into class and my passion is definitely science,” he said, “as long as I can teach in a science class, I’m happy anywhere. “