ADE Director's Communication Memo Form


Memo Number : COM-08-016

Date Created : 10/03/2007

Attention:

Superintendents
Co-op Directors

Type of Memo: Informational
Response Required: No
   
Section:   Communications - Julie Thompson, Director
Subject:
AR AmeriCorps Future Teacher Recruitment Initiative

Regulatory Authority:
N/A

Contact Person:
Julie Johnson Thompson

Phone Number:
501-683-4786

E-mail:
julie.thompson@arkansas.gov

All superintendents are asked to take this opportunity to consider participation in the Arkansas AmeriCorps Future Teacher Recruitment Initiative (Initiative). The Initiative addresses the teacher shortage issue and is an excellent opportunity to address the needs of at-risk students, thereby, positively impacting student achievement.

Arkansas has made significant student achievement gains in recent years, and to maintain this progress, a way must be found to recruit and retain good teachers across the state. Unfortunately, finding certified and qualified teachers in several areas in Arkansas is extremely difficult. This void has been filled in recent years through the non-traditional programs; however, the numbers of new teachers coming out of these programs are beginning to decline. Traditional teacher education programs are also at an all-time low in regard to the number of graduates going into education. To sustain progress, a method must be found to encourage more people to enter the teaching profession.

The teacher shortage issue is a problem that negatively impacts all administrators throughout the entire state. Subsequently, the teacher shortage is at an alarming level in the Arkansas Delta. The well-documented struggles in the Delta negatively impact the overall economic growth and vitality of the entire state, and therefore, affect the quality of life for all Arkansas citizens.

Building a pool of highly qualified teachers should have a significant impact on student achievement; research illustrates that highly qualified and effective teachers strongly correlate to student achievement. To this end, the vision and foresight to develop long-range teacher recruitment and development strategies are important. Understandably, the highest priority is to meet immediate staffing needs, but the significance of investing in the future is vitally important. The AmeriCorps Future Teacher Initiative provides an opportunity to annually recruit 1,000 prospective future teachers. Obviously, not all of the 1,000 will enter the teaching profession, but a reasonable expectation is that, if wisely recruited, 500 members per year could become future teachers. Achievement of this goal would positively impact the teacher shortage issue and provide impetus for continued academic growth.

Increasing membership recruitment is possible only by working together and developing a statewide approach. Specifically, all superintendents are asked to consider placing at least one AmeriCorps Future Teacher member in each school building. Superintendents in severe teacher shortage areas are asked to consider recruiting multiple members for each building. Participation of all districts in this project would not financially overburden any district and will enable the accomplishment of this statewide goal.

Attachments:
    None

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