The Humboldt County Office of Education (HCOE), Humboldt State University (HSU), and community representatives have formed a council to focus on the demand for teachers and other education related positions here in Humboldt County.
The council consists of administrators, teachers, HSU faculty, and local tribal leaders dedicated to supporting strategic recruitment efforts, and incentives, while identifying unique awareness campaign opportunities to highlight the teaching profession as highly rewarding to students as well as to members of the community who may be interested in a career change.
On October 30th, the 20 member council held their first meeting at HCOE. Teacher shortage is a very significant issue facing many communities throughout California and the attendees agreed that Humboldt County and our neighboring counties have certainly felt the effects. Over the past several years, there has been a drop in the number of young people pursuing a career in education locally, regionally, and across the country.
Attracting and retaining quality teachers in classrooms is a constant challenge and with about one-third of the teaching force nearing retirement, the teacher shortage is going to get more severe. The center for the Future of Teaching and Learning estimates that California will need an additional 100,000 teachers over the next decade.
“Our local schools are struggling to meet the demands for qualified teachers,” shares Dr. Chris Hartley, Humboldt County Superintendent of Schools. “We have to do more in order to recruit and provide options for prospective teachers to earn their teaching credential. Statewide there has been a drastic decline in the number of people pursuing their credential and we very much feel the effects of this here locally in Humboldt County.”
The council was formed when administrators from HSU and HCOE met in the fall to discuss strategies for creating pathways for interested students to earn a teaching credential. The decision to formalize the process has allowed for various stakeholder groups to come together to develop recruitment, credentialing, and awareness strategies. Hartley states, “Our partnership with HSU is absolutely critical to this process. The university has served as the primary institution for preparing folks for a career in teaching here locally for many years, and we are excited to see HSU diversify credentialing options, such as a four-year program and enhanced internship opportunities become a reality. It’s only through partnerships like the one we have with HSU that will start to move the needle forward.”
Dr. Manohar Singh, Dean of the College of Professional Studies at HSU reaffirmed the University’s commitment to being a partner and collaborator in addressing community needs, “…HSU is in the business of serving our community needs by preparing highly skilled and thoroughly professional teachers who are not only passionate about their careers but also realize their role as preparing future leaders that are contributing positively to our country. HSU faculty work diligently to continuously design cutting edge curriculum and to deliver our programs in a manner that is most affordable and accessible to our students. We are committed to partnering with the local community and HCOE in augmenting the teacher workforce by attracting, retaining, and preparing students for being successful teachers and by raising awareness in the community about HSUeducation programs and career opportunities in the local schools.”
Heidi Moore-Guynup, Assistant Superintendent, shares, “Increasing access to the teaching profession will likely lead to important diversification of those working with youth. We want to be better at delivering culturally responsive instruction and a strategic way to accomplish that is to ensure that we are encouraging people with unique experiences and perspectives to consider entering the profession. We want to better mirror the diversity of our students. On-line credentialing programs provide such opportunity
In addition to bringing more young people into the profession as well as outreaching to mid-career professionals who may be interested in a career change, strategies are underway to find ways to retain the quality teachers we have. According to the California Teachers Association, some 20 percent of all new hires leave the classroom within three years.
The teaching profession is a challenging profession and yet provides so many rich opportunities to truly impact the lives of scores of young people. The rewards that come with the job are immense. As more information becomes available about specific teacher credentialing opportunities available throughout the North Coast, the council will engage in a comprehensive marketing campaign to promote such opportunities.
Learn about current options for earning a teaching credential through HSU’s School of Education at www.humboldt.edu/education or by calling 707-826-5873.