New Schools for New Orleans: "We've been looking for this"
Updated: May 1
Below you'll find excerpts from New Schools for New Orleans' original story:
"In many cases, tomorrow's teachers are already working in schools -- Reach University helps support staff to earn bachelor's degrees and become classroom educators," writes Reach's partner, New Schools for New Orleans (NSNO), in its most recent feature, "We've been looking for this."
Across the country, applications to traditional teacher preparation programs have plummeted. In order to help our schools address this trend, NSNO committed funding through a federal SEED grant to help create a longer “runway” into the profession, and to help recruit and prepare teachers from our very own community. Some of our partners for this are local high schools and networks, like KIPP New Orleans Schools, Warren Easton Charter High School, and McDonogh 35 High School.
Another key partner is Reach University. Reach looks to adults already in school buildings–like paraprofessionals, bus drivers, cafeteria staff, coaches, or support staff–who often play a huge role in children’s lives. These team members have strong relationships with students and are integral parts of the school community. Some may want to be classroom teachers, and they’d be powerful ones–but they don’t yet have the college degree they need to become one.
Ross and his team believe that can, and must change. Reach University is built to help school support staff members earn the bachelor’s degree they need to teach. Their courses are “job-embedded,” which means students get credit for learning on the job, and additional coursework is flexible, online, and offered on evenings and weekends. Thanks to federal grants and financial aid, it costs just $75 a month for books, fees, and materials for each person who enrolls. Depending on whether if students have existing credit or an associate’s degree, they can graduate with their bachelor’s degree in two to four years. They can also earn an elementary education teaching certification through Reach, or move on to one of the strong local teacher certification providers in our area, like Xavier University, Tulane University, or TeachNOLA.
There are nearly 600 students enrolled with Reach across Louisiana, but the university has only recently expanded to recruit students in New Orleans. They started with 41 educators in New Orleans last year, largely at FirstLine Schools and Crescent City Schools. Now, they hope to enroll 150 future educators next year from across the city’s schools and networks. "
Read the full feature: