Centralia High School Superintendent Chuck Lane says several bills will be considered by the State Legislature this year to address the teacher shortage.
Lane, who serves on a statewide task force, says the goal is to make it easier to get into the teaching profession, especially for those who have a bachelor’s degree and want to change careers.
“Traditionally they would have to quit their job and go back to school for two years. No one can do that. No one can afford that. What we are working on is making it easier. Maybe get these people hired into the buildings first and let them become certified as they work at the school. That is what the Golden Apple program comes in. But even without the Golden Apple, streamline the process to become certified to teach. We have to be able to give people that want to change careers and have bachelor’s degrees who either can’t find a job or don’t like the job they are in a way to get into the classroom. There has to be an easier way and that’s what we are working on.”
Lane says two paraprofessionals at Centralia High School are applying for the Golden Apple program. The program provides $30,000 in reimbursement to participants to attend college classes and work with a current teacher for a year before teaching a class on their own. Schools must also guarantee a job after graduation. At Centralia High, the participants would become physical education and special education teachers, two positions the district has not been able to fill. Those wanting to apply for the Golden Apple program to start this summer need to apply on the program’s website by early February.
Lane reports Centralia High will also offer six hours of dual credit classes to students who are interested in becoming teachers to give them a headstart on college credits.