The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) recently approved a new training pathway to equip both college and career-bound high school students interested in pursuing a career in education with the knowledge and skills needed to find success upon graduation.
The Pre-Educator Pathway, part of the state’s nationally recognized Jump Start career and technical education program, was submitted by the University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM).
“We are hopeful the newly-approved pathway will elevate the education profession as a career option for our young people,” said State Superintendent John White. “We also hope it builds a pipeline to fulfill the state’s need for diverse, capable, 21st Century educators.”
High school students who enroll in the Pre-Educator Pathway will take a special progression of courses to help them develop strong foundational academic knowledge and skills, as well as an understanding of diverse learners and the learning environment.
In addition to academic instruction, students may gain approximately 30-40 hours of practicum experience in the field to help them discover the K-12 teaching environment.
The practicum experience will include a combination of classroom observation and classroom assistance. Their pathway work may culminate in various regional and statewide credentials that will help position them for post-secondary success, be it in a college or career setting.
For high school students who are seeking a TOPS University Diploma and who plan to become a certified teacher, the Pre-Educator Pathway will guide them toward becoming accomplished educators, starting in high school and extending through college and into the profession.
Students who complete the pathway in high school and build on that foundation while in college will be prepared to ultimately pass required Louisiana teacher certification exams and master the General Teacher Competencies required for teacher certification in Louisiana.
For high school students who are seeking a Jump Start TOPS Tech Career Diploma and who plan to enter the education profession through a position outside of certified teaching, the Pre-Educator Pathway can open the door for them to take on various roles, such as child care worker, school system cyber security analyst, paraprofessional, professional tutor or substitute teacher.
“We are proud to offer this pathway for high school students who have an interest in serving their communities through the teaching profession,” said Amy Weems, an assistant professor in ULM’s School of Education, which was pivotal in the creation of the pathway and which will serve as the credentialing authority for students.
“This pathway was built through strong partnerships with our local school districts, and we look forward to helping those districts to train their best and brightest high school students who will return to serve future generations.
“It is the very best example of how ‘grow your own’ initiatives can exponentially improve the quality of education we can offer to our students to better our communities.”