PHOENIX, June 25, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Schools are out for the summer, but more than a dozen devoted teachers are leading the efforts to recruit aspiring teachers to become certified through the Arizona Center for Teacher Preparation. Under the $1K for 1K initiative, the Arizona Center is offering $1,000 scholarships for 1,000 individuals to participate in the AZ TeacherPrep program, a route to teacher certification for career-changing professionals, returning veterans, subject-matter experts, community role models, and others with a Bachelor's Degree.
"As someone who is committed to the profession, there is nothing more rewarding than inspiring a student," said JERALD WATSON, an elementary special education teacher at Amy Houston Academy in Phoenix. "There are many Arizonans who have the knowledge and wisdom that would ignite learning in the classroom, and I want to help encourage those individuals to make a difference in their communities by becoming a teacher."
Arizona schools are facing a shortage of teachers, especially in math and science. Governor JAN BREWER has expressed her concerns. "Every student deserves to have teachers who are experts in their subject areas, but only 10 percent of eighth-graders in Arizona have math teachers who hold an undergraduate degree in mathematics." This is a national trend, and in 2011, President BARACK OBAMA issued a call to action, challenging the nation to prepare 100,000 science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) teachers over the next 10 years.
"We clearly need more math and science teachers in our state," said FRANK KISCHER, a math teacher at Challenger Middle School in Tucson, "And I am glad to be part of the solution by encouraging others to join the noble profession of teaching. There is no greater calling."
"Despite being one of eleven states fully aligned with the graduation requirements of Common Core standards in mathematics, Arizona school districts face a long road to improving student outcomes in the STEM subject areas," said SHAWN AREVALO McCOLLOUGH, former superintendent of the Nogales Unified School District who now serves as President and CEO of the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence, parent organization of the Arizona Center. "With more than 70 percent of Arizona eighth graders below proficient in mathematics, there is increased pressure for school districts to recruit and retain highly-qualified teachers in order to achieve the rigorous graduation requirements set forth by Common Core."
Watson and Kischer are being joined by a dozen teachers to canvass local venues such as community centers, libraries, coffee shops, and bookstores to recruit individuals to become teachers. They will also reach out to principals and superintendents.
"As a teacher, you truly make a difference for students, their families, and the community," said SHEILA CHASE, a marketing/business teacher at Buena High School in Sierra Vista. "The AZ TeacherPrep program is a great way to prepare locals who are committed to the community to become quality teachers."
Through the Arizona Center's $1K for 1K scholarship initiative, local school districts can send a local professional from their community through the AZ TeacherPrep program to earn certification. By providing an intuitive pathway to the teaching profession for qualified, degree-holding professionals with subject area expertise, the Arizona Center is aiming to fulfill the teacher recruitment needs for Arizona classrooms.
"For those who are looking for a career change or are out of job, the teaching profession is a great option," said Chase. "It provides good benefits with summers off, and most important, you're part of building the future."
The Arizona Center for Teacher Preparation will be hosting informational sessions and job fairs throughout the state.
Join the conversation about #1Kfor1K with the Arizona Center:
ABOUT THE ARIZONA CENTER FOR TEACHER PREPARATION
The Arizona Center for Teacher Preparation is a 501 (c)3 nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that offers an online teacher certification program for candidates that hold a Bachelor's degree. Providing the essential classroom management training for teachers to be successful, the Arizona Center for Teacher Preparation program is an affordable opportunity for qualified professionals to transition into the classroom and serve their local communities.
SOURCE Arizona Center for Teacher Preparation