The ADE Office of Educator Licensure and Department of Career Education are working to establish a pathway for high school students to enter the educator workforce. It begins with career-focused education in high school with participating students receiving an industry certification as a Certified Teacher Assistant (CTA) upon completion of high school career coursework, and passing the ETS ParaPro Assessment.
As a CTA, a student would be eligible for employment in public schools to work as a paraprofessional, gaining valuable experience while also attending a two or four-year college on a flexible schedule allowing the student to take classes and work at least part-time as a CTA. Once the CTA has earned enough credit to be admitted into a teacher preparation program, the CTA progresses to the level of a Teacher Intern with progressively increasing job responsibilities at the public school.
This on-the-job experience allows for higher education institutions to be flexible with students’ field experiences and student teaching credit, and combined with the rigorous coursework, promotes a learner-ready educator who is eligible for a standard license upon successful completion of the degree program and corresponding assessments.
To be successful, the ADE and ACE are working with school districts and institutions of higher education to promote opportunities for employment and flexible college course scheduling, as well as, sufficient support for the CTA/Teacher Intern throughout the educational path. It is critical that each step of the pathway be connected to promote success for this grow-your-own approach.