The Connecticut State Department of Education and Central Connecticut State University are working together to launch NextGen Educators, an effort to allow students studying education at Central Connecticut State University to get into elementary, middle and high school in Connecticut to ease pressures on current teachers.
A news release from the governor's office says the initiative is designed to be flexible to provide future educators with experience and mentorship while addressing districts' staffing needs.
“Connecticut’s public schools are among the best in the nation, but there’s more that we can do to close achievement gaps so that we can provide more of our youngest students with the tools they need to achieve careers in leading fields when they become adults,” Gov. Ned Lamont said in a statement. “Creating a pipeline like this that encourages our college students to explore careers in K-12 education will not only increase the amount of talent in our schools, but it will also greatly enhance the diversity of those who teach within our school system. The NextGen Educators initiative is a direct investment in the classroom and in student success.”
The pilot program is underway in the Bristol Public Schools system and officials said Cromwell, Newington and Windsor have also expressed interest in the program.
Last week, 18 CCSU students in the NextGen Educators program from the classes of 2022 and 2023 began orientation and will be supporting classrooms in-person and virtually through the end of the 2020-2021 academic year.
School officials said the goal is to attract a highly qualified and diverse staff that represents the student population and the community.
The program will put an emphasis on attracting candidates from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds, according to the governor's office.
Lamont, who is in quarantine after his communications director tested positive for COVID-19, will hold a news conference through Zoom at 11:30 a.m.
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He was joined by Connecticut Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona; Central Connecticut State University President Dr. Zulma Toro; CCSU Dean of Education and Professional Studies Dr. Kimberly Kostelis; Bristol Superintendent Dr. Catherine Carbone; and Dr. Samuel Galloway, director of talent management for Bristol Public Schools.
This comes after an announcement in October that the Educators Rising Academy curriculum, which encourages students to consider careers in education, would expand to 10 school districts across Connecticut.
The governor said the program will allow young people in high school and above to get incentives and tutoring to consider pursuing a career in teaching.