The state is expanding the Educators Rising Academy curriculum in ten school districts across Connecticut, giving high school students access to a program that encourages students early on to consider careers in education and diversities the pipelines the state’s teacher workforce.
Developed by teachers for teachers, with the support of the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers, and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, PDK International’s Educators Rising program emphasizes fundamental professional practices that are critical for the next generation of aspiring teachers to develop and take their first steps on the path to realizing their full potential.
The program, which includes curriculum, teacher training, and “Beginning to Teach” micro-credentials for students, is a centerpiece of a “grow your own” teacher recruitment strategy in a state where 60 percent of teachers work within 20 miles of where they attended high school. In-service teachers who aim to mentor and inspire high school students to teach in their own communities are critical to the program’s success.
The new cohort includes the school districts of Stamford, Hamden, Meriden, Hartford, New London, Danbury, New Haven, Waterbury, and Windsor. They will join the Consolidated School District of New Britain, which has been implementing the program for three years. The state plans to expand the program to the collegiate level so there will be a level of support and mentorship for students as they progress to postsecondary education, and has secured a commitment with Central Connecticut State University.
“This program is a much-needed catalyst for change and is a wonderful addition to our school communities,” Dr. Sal Pascarella, superintendent of Danbury Public Schools, said. “Danbury is one of the most diverse districts in the state and we can only benefit from this opportunity to encourage even more diversity among our teachers. While this will help to narrow that gap between minority students and educators, I believe that all students benefit from having diverse role models. Diversity should be the norm and programs such as this are the best ways to cultivate that growth.”