JCPS using creative options to recruit new teachers into the classroom
From boot camp, to books and pens, Jefferson County Public Schools is finding new teachers in unusual places.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- From boot camp, to books and pens, Jefferson County Public Schools is finding new teachers in unusual places.
The largest district in the state is using some creative methods to meet a critical need for educators in the classroom.
Beth Snowden's classroom became a mock courtroom Tuesday morning.
"You're a prosecutor, you're in court, and you have to prove to the jury that this is a dangerous instrument," Snowden explained to her students.
Snowden transitioned from lawyer to a pre law teacher at Seneca high school three year ago.
"I really felt like the career I was in wasn't challenging me or giving me a chance to give back to the community," she said.
Her career change was made possible by something called "Option Six."
"Option Six is for any candidate with a Bachelor's degree or higher who would like to become a teacher," explained Jose Alfaro, a JCPS recruiter.
Option Six allowed Snowden teach and go to school to earn her credential at the same time, in large part on JCPS' dime.
"A lot of people in the community don't know all the different pathways we have," Alfaro said.
The legislature also created a new pathway just for veterans. Those with a Bachelor's degree can teach in their field, without having to take any tests or classes.
"There's a huge need everywhere," Alfaro said.
With more than 100 open teaching positions, JCPS hopes to pull from a greater applicant pool. Pension concerns hit the largest school district in the state with a wave of mid-year retirements, and there are fewer candidates coming in from colleges.
"Math and science can be very difficult to fill," said Kim Morales, principal of Seneca High School. "We just collapsed a teaching position that was assigned to science because we couldn't find a qualified science teacher and then had to re-distribute those kids to other science classes in the building."
Snowden warns it's not easy.
"I walked into a position that I had not been trained to do, and I had to train myself and do it quickly," she said.
But she says the learning curve was worth the ride.
"Absolutely," she said. "Hands down."
Copyright 2018 by WDRB News. All rights reserved.