Fifteen aspiring teachers are on their way to classrooms across the state with the help of the Kansas Registered Teacher Apprenticeship program.
The program kicked off Tuesday, July 25, at the W. Frank Barton School of Business on the Wichita State University campus. The 15 apprentices – sponsored by eight Kansas school districts – were introduced to the pilot program during a workshop held by the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE).
The registered teacher apprenticeship program combines the rigor and training of a registered apprenticeship with specialized education for individuals who want to become teachers.
During the four-year program, the aspiring teacher works alongside an experienced educator, serving as a paid apprentice in a real classroom setting while earning a bachelor’s degree in a teacher training program at a university or college accredited by KSDE.
“This is an important step to alleviating the shortage of educators we have in Kansas,” said Kansas Commissioner of Education Dr. Randy Watson. “It is a win-win situation for individuals who want to pursue teaching as a career, school districts that have a shortage of educators and our students who deserve a quality teacher in every classroom. The Kansas State Board of Education and KSDE are pleased to partner with the Kansas Department of Commerce to offer this opportunity.”
A teacher apprentice participates in lesson planning, curriculum development, instruction delivery and student assessments under the guidance of a paid mentor teacher.
A mentor teacher serves as a guide and role model for the apprentice throughout the program. This gives the apprentice an opportunity to observe experienced educators in action and collaborate and learn from colleagues. Gradually, the apprentice takes on more responsibilities as they progress through the program.
School districts participating in the pilot program are:
The pilot apprenticeship program will help ensure administrative processes are in place to open a statewide program during the 2024-2025 school year.
Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) funds allotted to KSDE’s Teacher Licensure team will be utilized to fund the pilot program. Districts participating in the pilot will be awarded grants to cover college/university tuition for the apprentice; half of the apprentice’s wage; and mentor teacher awards.
KSDE had a news conference at 9 a.m. Tuesday, July 25, on the WSU campus to announce the launch of the apprenticeship pilot program. Commissioner Watson; Assistant Secretary of Commerce Beene, Dr. Shirley Lefever, executive vice president and provost, WSU; and Kara Belew, an Andover USD 385 teacher and member of the 2020 Kansas Teacher of the Year team, offered remarks and welcomed apprentices.
Apprentices spent the day learning about the apprenticeship program, attending breakout sessions and touring the WSU campus.
“This is historic for the state of Kansas,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce Mike Beene. “The registered teacher apprenticeship is a good way to engage existing talent in the state and keep them here.”
Gov. Laura Kelly on Monday, July 24, announced that the Kansas Office of Apprenticeship launched the MeadowLARK (Leading Apprenticeship Results in Kansas) Initiative to expand the state’s registered apprenticeship opportunities even further. Funding for MeadowLARK was delivered through a State Apprenticeship Expansion Formula (SAEF) grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, which provides targeted support to state Registered Apprenticeship Programs. Kansas was awarded $6,331,847.
The Kansas Office of Registered Apprenticeship will utilize these funds to continue revolutionizing apprenticeship in Kansas, a news release from Gov. Kelly’s office states. MeadowLARK will expand the office’s efforts by developing Multi-Employer Intermediaries focusing on high-demand, high-wage occupations to meet industry needs.
MeadowLARK will invest nearly $5.7 million over the next three years to advance integration efforts with local Workforce Boards across Kansas and establish Statewide and Regional Multi-Employer Intermediaries.
The Statewide Multi-Employer Intermediaries, which ease the development of Registered Apprenticeship programs, include KSDE’s Registered Teacher Apprenticeship and the Justice Involved Registered Apprenticeship with local Kansas WorkforceONE.
Kansans who want more information on the Registered Teacher Apprenticeship can contact Dr. Joel Gillaspie, a coordinator on the KSDE Teacher Licensure team, by phone at (785) 296-1862 or by email at email@example.com.
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