JACKSONVILLE, Ark. – Jacksonville North Pulaski School District (JNPSD) is thinking of every way to make sure they have teachers on the first day of school by having a business relationship and hopeful future partnership with the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) allowing them to financially cover student teachers.
This possibility of a partnership started between UCA’s College of Education and JNPSD when the college wanted to help a student teacher reach his goals of becoming a teacher.
Now the school district is hoping it can become a long-term solution to hire future teachers after they graduate, filling their vacancies and in turn help financially struggling college students studying education.
First year chemistry teacher at Jacksonville High School, Wyatt Luchtenburg says his dream almost didn’t happen because he was financially stressed as a student teacher doing unpaid internships while trying to finish his degree at UCA.
“I looked at my money and realized if I do the [student teaching] internship I’m going to run out of savings in February which means I have to keep on working,” said Luchtenburg.
He says his bills were piling by the minute but after talking with professors at UCA, he adds they spoke with the JNPSD about an opportunity.
“I was like oh there are schools that are hiring college students I didn’t think that would be a thing,” said Luchtenburg.
JNPSD Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jeremy Owoh says after interviewing Luchtenburg he was hired as a teacher of record. He adds they wanted to hire someone that would be a licensed educator and knowledgeable person.
“Which means they’re names are listed with the students on the roster.” Dr. Owoh goes on to say he earned full salary and benefits, “which is $41,080 dollars and so they receive that starting teachers’ pay.
Dr. Owoh says the funds for the teacher of record position comes from an account the school already uses.
“It comes from our operating fund, just as the same funding source that our regular certified teachers receive their fund,” said Dr. Owoh.
The school district is now looking into making this opportunity for teaching interns at UCA widely available. Dr. Owoh says they will be starting the paperwork for an official Teacher Residency Program this semester and the student teachers who partake in the hopeful future program would not be obligated to teach at JNPSD after the graduate college.