ULM working to expand educator’s pool

ULM's pre-education program recruits teachers through a high school program.
Published: Jul. 6, 2022 at 6:01 PM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - (introduce the program -- what it is called and what it is doing, briefly. One sentence, maybe)

Amy Weems, director of the Educators Rising program at ULM, has been recognized with the Champion’s Award at this year’s annual meeting. Weems said she was honored to win the award, but knows there is a long road ahead.

“I’m just so honored to be recognized by Educators Rising National organization with a Champion for Education award, and the work is not done,” Weems said. “We have many miles to go, but we’re very encouraged by what’s happening now.”

Nationwide, teachers are scarce. The selections are limited for the districts and small districts are struggling to keep teachers in the classrooms. Serena White with the Monroe City Schools said she has seen many teachers come and go.

“Students that we had -- many were not from this area,” White said. “So even if they taught with us for a few years, they would gradually return to the area from which they came.”

The program has recently moved out of the pilot phase that started in Wossman, Neville and Oak Grove high schools and is now being expanded to five parishes.

“We’ve added Richland Parish and Caldwell Parish; and then next year we’ll also have as far south as Livingston Parish, Ouachita Parish, and some other districts that we are so pleased to work with,” Weems said.

The program allows the participants to experience more about teaching than just numbers.

“The ULM school of education focuses heavily on rich field experiences for our teacher candidates who are in our program, but to also get high school students who have already had field experiences when they come to us has put them so far ahead,” Weems said.

Students in the program tend to have more rounded knowledge than other students who are studying education.

“We find that students that are completing those programs and enrolling with us feel more confident and understanding not just about the content aspects that go into good teaching, but the relationship pieces that go into good teaching,” Weems said.

White says that they also have knowledge of the district they come from, helping retain them.

“They know our system and are willing to invest themselves in that,” said White.

Students in the Monroe City Schools are helping at school summer camps and have already begun to recruit other students into the program.

“They were recruiting other students during that time period and on one of the days that I visited, they were excited to introduce me to another student who had decided to give the class a try because they really wanted to impact the community and our world.”

The program hopes to create a more diverse set of candidates with higher qualifications for the future.

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