Solving shortage at tribal schools
Program to help those with B.A. become teachers
Condensed by Native Village
South Dakota: South Dakota’s Board of Regents believes it may have a solution for the teacher shortages at tribal schools. Regents will ask the state for $446,675 to train tribal members with non-ed/ bachelor degrees to pursue teaching as a second profession.
“Here in South Dakota, finding qualified American Indian teachers, or qualified teachers ... on the reservations is oftentimes problematic,” said Sam Gingerich from the Board of Regents. “But we also believe that if you look at where schools are for a highly qualified workforce, and what we have to do to meet that, it is not a huge gap at this point in time. This could provide an additional bump in the number of those qualified applicants.”
Their program would model a similar one Black Hills State University. For one year, candidates are placed in a reservation school classroom to work as an educator. At the same time, they would take coursework necessary to earn a teaching license. Their instructors would come to them from tribal colleges/universities (TCUs) or public universities.
The hope then is that
candidates will continue to serve as teachers in their
communities for long terms.
University (Rosebud Reservation)
about collaborating on the effort. Other public universities could make arrangements with tribal colleges as well
“That would allow them not to have to be employed during the 10 months they’re
taking the program,” she said.
Keith Moore from the Rosebud Sioux Tribe served as national director of the Bureau of Indian Education. He called this proposal “a great idea.”
Research has shown that “if you find folks who understand the circumstances and culture and where they’re going to be living, that there is a greater likelihood that you can fill that void of recruiting and retaining teachers and administrators,” he said.
Moore says candidates must be rigorously prepared to come in and teach with all the necessary tools to do the job. He also stressed the importance of selecting the best candidates.
“I would think you would want to be sure that what you’re trying to accomplish
is to recruit and retain,” Moore said. “I wonder how you evaluate whether folks
have the understanding and stamina to hang in there and teach?”
Village © Gina Boltz
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