West Oso ISD says they need more teachers. They’re going to get help with that from Texas A&M University Corpus Christi.
It’s thanks to a partnership, paid for by grant money from the Texas Education Agency, to put new Islander graduates into West Oso teaching jobs.
The ‘Grow your Own’ grant will pay to train 10 Islanders who will step into full-time teaching roles, specifically at West Oso ISD.
“We’ve seen ourselves firsthand that when we place our students in districts that are in high need, they fall in love relatively fast,” said Dr. Carmen Tejeda-Delgado, an associate professor at TAMUCC.
Dr. Tejeda-Delgado, who is also the director of partnerships and clinical teaching, says the Texas A&M University system produces more state-certified teachers than any other system in Texas.
The ‘Grow your Own’ program is one of several ways student-teachers learn what a specific district like West Oso has to offer.
“‘Grow your Own’ helps us help them understand that these are amazing districts,” said Dr. Tejeda-Delgado. “These are amazing students.”
Students accepted into the program make a 3-year commitment to the district, in exchange for a guaranteed job upon graduation.
Conrado Garcia, West Oso’s Superintendent says, right now, the focus is on math, science, Spanish and bilingual instructors for 4th through 12th grade.
“We cringe every time we have a vacancy in bilingual education for example,” said Garcia. “They’re just so hard to find.”
For the district, it’s not only a chance to fill a needed position, it’s a chance to develop these young teachers professionally.
“We’ll be able to identify them early,” said Garcia. “Work with them, and be able to transition them into our school.”
The University says they’ll hold an informational session on Friday for students interested in the program. And teachers chosen for the program will be in the classroom by the 2020 school year.
Texas A&M also has the highest number of teachers who stay in the profession for the first five years of their career. It’s part of the reason the Texas A&M System recently began a new initiative called ‘We teach Texas.’
The focus of the effort is to recruit and train students to become school teachers in the state, and the ‘Grow your Own’ grant is a part of the effort. The University also says they hope to launch more programs in the near future that align with ‘We teach Texas.’