KSDE Weekly

Accountability, Accreditation and Assessments

Topeka USD 501 taking a unique approach to address its teacher shortage

Topeka USD 501 taking a unique approach to address its teacher shortage

Nine Topeka Unified School District 501 high school students recently signed letters of intent to pursue teaching careers. In addition to the letter of intent each student a signed contract, guaranteeing them a teaching job in the district when they graduate from college. 

Topeka Center for Advanced Learning and Careers (TCALC), Topeka USD 501, held a graduation ceremony for the first time to honor these future teachers to coincide with Educators Rising National Signing Day. Educators Rising Kansas is a network of students, teachers and education leaders who are working together to recruit and prepare the next generation of highly skilled teachers.  

Eight students signed with Washburn University, in Topeka, and one signed with Emporia State University, in Emporia. Representatives in attendance from Washburn offered the future Ichabods a $1,000 scholarship for their first year of school. 

Not only did the students sign their letter of intent, but USD 501 also had employment contracts on hand, an initiative that was started eight years ago. When students get to their sophomore or junior year, they can receive a contract that guarantees them a teaching job in the same district they grew up in.  

“We’re letting them know well in advance we believe in them, we’re committed to them and this is where they belong,” said Dr. Tiffany Anderson, superintendent of Topeka USD 501. 

Along with their contracts, the students received certificates for completing the Educators Rising program. 

Teaching as a profession is one of several pathways TCALC offers. In their second semester, students can take a teaching internship course, giving them a chance to experience what it’s like to be at the front of a classroom. 

Savannah Bailey, a Topeka High School senior and a future Emporia State University student, spent time her junior year helping teach at a middle school in Topeka USD 501. She decided she fit better in early education, so she helped teach preschool at Shaner Early Learning Academy last semester. This semester, she helped at Lowman Hill Elementary School. 

“The main reason why I want to go into teaching is because I want to teach early education and get them ready for their future education,” Bailey said. 

Ann McCain, a senior at Highland Park High School and a future Washburn University student, plans to teach high school art. She originally wanted to become an illustrator, but after hearing from teachers that she’s good at helping her classmates learn and keeping them focused, she decided to pursue teaching. 

“I would like to be the teacher who is engaged and likes to teach their kids,” McCain said. “If you like teaching the subject and like helping kids learn about it, they not only learn from you, but they can teach you something in return that they looked up on their own time.” 

Dr. Anderson said through the teaching as a profession pathway and the contracts offered, 15 former students have come back to the district so far. 

“We’ve had a 100% success rate,” she said. “We believe it’s why our teacher shortage gap has declined for multiple years since we’ve started that process.” 

* * *

Dodge City USD 443 also held a “National Future Educator Signing Day” on Tuesday. They posted pictures on Facebook at this link: Dodge City Public Schools proudly... - Dodge City Public Schools | Facebook


Posted: May 9, 2024,
Comments: 0,

Theme picker

Copyright 2024 by Kansas State Department of Education | 900 SW Jackson St. | Topeka, KS 66612 Privacy Statement  |  Terms Of Use  |  System Maintenance Notices  |  Open Records (PDF)

The Kansas State Department of Education does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, or age in its programs and activities. (more information...)

To accommodate people with disabilities, on request, auxiliary aides and services will be provided and reasonable modifications to policies and programs will be made. To request accommodations or for more information please contact the Office of General Counsel at gc@ksde.org or by 785-296-3201.