LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (News release) – From nurturing a student’s interest in the arts and sciences to encouraging all students to achieve their best, great teachers change the lives of their students. To encourage more Arkansans to consider teaching as a profession, the Arkansas Department of Education launched the Teach Arkansas campaign today. The campaign focuses on recruiting teachers into the teaching profession, supporting existing teachers and encouraging those who have left the profession to return.
Today’s announcement was made at the 2018 Impacting Tomorrow Summit at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway. Approximately 450 high school students in the Teacher Cadets program are attending the summit, where they have the opportunity to learn more about the teaching profession and network with ADE team members, teachers, education majors and college/university representatives.
“The job of a school teacher can be taxing and often demands more than the hours in a classroom,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said. “Teachers grade papers at home, arrange and take field trips, attend extracurricular events, talk to parents and give their hearts to a room full of students. If we ask our children’s teachers to work that hard, we must likewise work hard to support them in every way possible, which is the mission the Department of Education has embarked on. Teach Arkansas is the right program at the right time.”
“At an early age, I was inspired to become an educator because of passionate educators who instilled in me the value and promise of an education,” said Dr. Jeremy Owoh, ADE assistant commissioner of Educator Effectiveness and Licensure. “With the launch of the Teach Arkansas campaign, it is our hope that potential teachers are able to obtain valuable information and experiences that would impact their decision to enter the education profession, that current educators realize they are valued and needed, and that educators who have left the profession are inspired and reignited to return to the profession. It is imperative that we make a conscious effort to encourage individuals who have the disposition to become an effective teacher to share in the journey in transforming Arkansas to lead the nation in student-focused education.”
According to ADE’s Educator Preparation Provider Report, the number of students enrolled in educator preparation programs has dramatically decreased from 8,255 in 2008-2009 to 3,659 in 2016-2017. In addition, the report states that not only is there a high teacher attrition rate among the older teacher population (34 percent), the rate is relatively high among younger teachers (33 percent).
The teacher shortage results in a lack of licensed teachers in a variety of subject areas and in some geographic areas of the state. The 2017-2018 critical shortage subject areas are Art, Computer Science, Family & Consumer Science, Journalism, Library, Mathematics, Music, Physical Science (Physics, Chemistry), Social Studies, Spanish, French, English/Language Arts, Middle Childhood and Special Education.
Goals and Solutions
By strengthening partnerships with school districts, higher education institutions and education service cooperatives, ADE plans to achieve five goals for the campaign.
- Increase the number of candidates entering Arkansas Educator Preparation Programs by 20 percent in 5 years
- Increase the number of novice teachers in Arkansas public schools by 10 percent in 5 years
- Decrease the Arkansas teacher attrition rate by 15 percent in 5 years
- Increase the number of teachers re-entering the teaching profession in Arkansas by 5 percent in 5 years
- Increase the number of minority teachers in public schools by 25 percent in 5 years
To accomplish these inspiring goals, ADE will strengthen relationships with stakeholders and provide additional leadership, support and service to educators.
The ADE is planning to host regional sessions for educators who are preparing to take the licensure assessments. This will provide additional support for teacher candidates who may need guidance in preparing for the assessments. More information will be provided once details are confirmed.
Teachers with at least three years of teaching experience will have new opportunities for professional growth as teacher leaders through new licenses for a Lead Professional Educator and Master Professional Educator beginning January 1, 2019.
For returning teachers, the number of required professional development hours have been reduced to 36 hours. Free online professional development is available through the ArkansasIDEAS portal at http://ideas.aetn.org. Licensed teachers seeking to return to the profession can contact the ADE Licensure Unit at (501) 682-4342 to learn more.
Parents, students and teachers are encouraged to get involved in the Teach Arkansas campaign by posting pictures and videos on social media using #TeachArkansas. ADE welcomes stories of how teachers are inspiring their students, what made teachers want to enter the profession and how parents are engaging with their child’s teacher.
Schools and districts can use the hashtag to promote parent-teacher interaction and teacher successes and are encouraged to consider beginning a Teacher Cadets or Educators Rising program.
Click here to learn more about the Teach Arkansas campaign.