Brazos Valley Teach: New partnership with high schools and community colleges
In an effort to attract students from underserved groups in the Brazos Valley to become educators, Texas A&M University is launching Brazos Valley Teach. Thanks to a $729,000 grant from the Greater Texas Foundation, the College of Education and Human Development, with support from the Office of Public Partnership and Outreach, will provide funding for the initiative.
Since 2007, nearly 40,000 new teachers have been hired annually, and over 170,000 job openings are projected by 2024. However, experts are projecting a shrinking teacher workforce. Teachers are leaving their job at a rate of 7-34% each year in the Brazos Valley.
Over the next decade, the Texas Workforce Commission estimates there will be an increasing demand for new teachers due to a dramatic increase in P-12 enrollments and high attrition rates as an aging teacher workforce becomes eligible for retirement. Right now, there is a lack of Texas students completing the levels of education needed to fill the teaching jobs that will be available in the near future.
That’s where BVT comes in. It is an early college program in partnership with Bryan ISD, Caldwell ISD and Hearne ISD, with the cooperation of Blinn College and Education Service Center Region 6. The program will provide the resources, guidance and support necessary for high school students to complete job-readiness teaching credentials and become teachers who may return to their community to teach.
BVT will provide up to two years of career and technical education coursework with dual credit in high school, plus two years of coursework at Blinn College and two years in a teacher education program at Texas A&M.
CTE programs across the state are growing. The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act of 2006 has opened the door for high school learners to receive workforce credentials in 16 career clusters, including education and training.
“While not widely celebrated, the education and training cluster hold great promise in building college- and career-readiness specifically designed to grow teachers among Brazos Valley high school students,” said Dr. Valerie Hill-Jackson, Assistant Dean of Educator Preparation and School Partnerships in CEHD.
Because CTE programs offer free credentialing and dual credit support while students are in high school, a CTE-dual credit pathway into teaching represents a creative approach for students to pay for college with the support they need to be successful.
“Young people searching for a postsecondary pathway leading to a rewarding career need advising and mentorship, access to affordable college-level coursework, and real-world work-based learning experiences. Brazos Valley Teach is an innovative way to provide all three for students while meeting an essential workforce need in our region,” said Sue McMillin, President and CEO of Greater Texas Foundation.
The transition from high school to post-secondary institutions can be a challenge for many underserved high school students from rural communities. Often high school students experience losses in course credits when transitioning between institutions. BVT will work alongside our partners to develop a sustainable “postsecondary handoff” to support high school students’ postsecondary aspirations in teacher education.
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