Anybody considering teaching as a career will want to keep an eye on Mohave Community College’s effort to help solve Arizona’s teacher shortage.
MCC Associate Dean of Instruction Dr. Stephanie Dieringer presented the college Board of Governors with new information surrounding MCC’s initiative called “Grow Your Own.”
The college has a goal of implementing a comprehensive plan to address K-12 teacher recruitment and retention issues in Mohave County.
In Arizona, 89% of teachers recruited from out of state leave the school district in which they were hired within five years, according to data from the Arizona Department of Education.
The department’s research also shows 80% of new teachers return to within 40 miles of the schools they attended. That’s a big reason why MCC wants to help our communities grow our own teachers -- because people may be more likely to stay at home, or come back home to help educate future generations.
MCC’s first step was to gather input from local school districts last Fall. The college is also working with its partner universities to help figure out ways to improve the process for students to earn college degrees in education.
MCC will work to get students set on the right path early. A student who wants to be a teacher would start at MCC and save thousands in tuition the first two years of the student’s four-year college plan. After the first two years, the student’s associates degree will transfer to MCC’s partner universities, where the student will be on a clearly defined path to receive a bachelor’s degree and teaching certificate.
“We’re continuing to coordinate with our transfer partners, such as NAU and local school districts with the goal of providing more opportunities in our dual enrollment programs and helping create that path for students,” Dr. Dieringer told the board last Friday.
The college will also be working with school districts to offer opportunities to any employee who does not yet have their degree or certificate, but wants to earn them, she said.
MCC is working closely with the Western Arizona Vocational Education Joint Technical District to find ways to help pay for tuition and books for people who want to become teachers.
“WAVE JTED invests in the future by supporting programs such as Grow Your Own,” said Rosemarie LeFebvre, WAVE JTED board member and MCC employee. “What better way to help prepare our students for college and a career than to provide tuition, books, and classroom supplies for education profession coursework?”
LeFebvre said WAVE JTED and MCC also have similar goals when it comes to working with business and industry to support the growing employment needs of the community. The teacher shortage throughout Arizona is one of those areas where help is needed.
“We invest in the future of our communities by investing in our youth today,” she said. “Along with Mohave Community College and local high schools, we know we need to invest in our students working on earning a teaching credential.”
MCC’s Grow Your Own campaign is part of college’s strategic plan to enhance its value to the community by strengthening outreach, involvement and partnerships.
“This is very important to us,” said MCC President Dr. Michael Kearns. “We see the need for teachers in our local school districts and we are in a position to help. This initiative will help map the path to success for those who want to be teachers, and in return will help the future of our communities.”