Margaret “Maggie” Gurewicz will graduate from Husson College subsequent spring with a whole lot extra hours of expertise in elementary school rooms than a few of her friends due to a program that pays faculty college students to work in colleges earlier than commencement.
She is a participant within the Educator Accelerator program at Regional Faculty Unit 34, which serves Alton, Bradley and Previous City. It launched in 2021 when it employed a cohort of school college students to work in school rooms below the supervision of mentor lecturers and as substitutes. They’re paid as part-time staff whereas gaining additional discipline expertise.
The district final week started a brand new college yr with its fifth cohort, together with about 10-12 members from Japanese Maine Group School, Husson College, the College of Maine and the College of Maine at Augusta’s campus in Bangor.
The Educator Accelerator program has helped meet fast staffing wants, and a few graduates have gone on to work for the district, Assistant Superintendent Jon Doty stated. He referred to as it a “win-win-win” for the district’s pre-kindergarten via twelfth grade college students, pre-service educators and college companions, notably throughout a nationwide scarcity of lecturers.
“Educator shortages have been a rising concern in our nation for a handful of years. We have to work aggressively as a state to carry individuals into the sphere and put together them for the steep studying curve that occurs throughout the first few years of the career,” Doty stated, which incorporates eradicating monetary limitations.
RSU 34 depends on federal COVID aid cash to fund this system. When these funds run out in a couple of yr, each penny will depend for varsity districts, Doty stated. He and program companions are in search of different sources of funding, together with an apprenticeship grant via Maine’s schooling and labor departments.
The COVID-19 pandemic additional exacerbated staffing shortages and was additionally when many college students fell behind academically, socially and emotionally, Doty stated.
That’s evident to Gurewicz, an “educator accelerator” at Previous City Elementary, who has discovered that instructing takes a workforce as a result of college students are at completely different ranges with various wants, she stated.
Final yr she labored with fourth graders, whereas this yr she was employed once more and assigned to Michelle Miller’s fifth-grade classroom. Having a mix of assignments — someday instead and the subsequent in Miller’s classroom with acquainted college students, for instance — has taught her to adapt shortly and preserve calm when circumstances are past her management, she stated.
Juggling this work with two different part-time jobs, faculty courses and different commitments is difficult, however Gurewicz stated she “wouldn’t commerce this expertise for something”. The abilities and instruments she has gained for her future classroom are invaluable, she stated.
“I’ve labored a number of jobs in the previous couple of years, and this one is my favourite,” she stated. “This program has proven me the place I wish to take my profession as a result of there’s a lot past your four-year instructing diploma.”
Gurewicz, 21, hopes to land a job on the district after commencement, when she will likely be licensed to show kindergarten via eighth grade. Then she needs to pursue a grasp’s diploma at school counseling or particular schooling.
RSU 34 has a minimum of two full-time lecturers who participated in this system, Doty stated. The district welcomed them, the members received to know district workers, they usually may hit the bottom working as full-time hires, he stated.
Educator Accelerators use this system to satisfy their rigorous necessities for commencement, however some become involved, even surpassing hours, as a result of they need genuine experiences and mentorship, stated Shelly Tennett, chairperson of Husson’s schooling college and an assistant professor.
This can be a mannequin that may be replicated and have a constructive impact on the career, she stated. Space colleges like Middle Drive Faculty in Orrington, the place Husson college students are additionally concerned, have drawn inspiration and created an identical program, stated Evan Mooney, an assistant professor and medical director of trainer schooling.
“The district has invested in a considerate method,” he stated. “That is the way in which trainer schooling must be.”