KSDE Weekly

Accountability, Accreditation and Assessments

15 aspiring teachers join Registered Teacher Apprenticeship pilot

15 aspiring teachers join Registered Teacher Apprenticeship pilot

Brook Train and Chelsea Warner were two of 15 aspiring teachers who made history on Tuesday, July 25, with the announcement of the Kansas Registered Teacher Apprenticeship program.

The program kicked off Tuesday 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).

Train and Warner currently serve as paraprofessionals at Coronado Elementary School, Salina Unified School District 305. Train has worked as a para for six years. Warner for three.

Both were excited when they learned about the apprenticeship at the end of the 2022-2023 school year.

“We had 10 days to decide (whether to participate),” Warner said.

The Registered Teacher Apprenticeship program combines the rigor and training of a registered apprenticeship with specialized education for individuals who want to become teachers.

“This is historic for the state of Kansas,” Assistant Secretary of Commerce Mike Beene said during the news conference. “The registered teacher apprenticeship is a good way to engage existing talent in the state and keep them here.”

During the four-year competency-based 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.”

Tiffany Snyder, director of recruitment and retention for Salina USD 305, is also hopeful that the apprenticeship program can help alleviate teacher shortages.

“It’s not just 305 or the state of Kansas – it’s nationwide,” Snyder said of the teacher shortage. “This is huge. I’m excited. Anything we can do to help grow our own.”

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:

  • Salina Unified School District 305.
  • Wellington USD 353.
  • Lyons USD 405.
  • Dodge City USD 433.
  • Auburn-Washburn USD 437.
  • Tonganoxie USD 464.
  • Topeka USD 501.
  • Attica USD 511.

The pilot apprenticeship program will 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.

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, inc

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 jgillaspie@ksde.org.

If you are interested in joining a future registered teacher apprenticeship program cohort, reach out to your local district.

“I’m just thrilled to be a part of the apprentice program,” Snyder said of Salina’s participation in the pilot. “I can’t wait to watch them (Train and Warner) grow into educators.”

Posted: Jul 27, 2023,
Comments: 0,
Author: Ann Bush

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