Hanover launches new program to combat teacher shortage
HANOVER CO., Va. (WWBT) - As school divisions across Virginia are still working to find teachers, Hanover County Public Schools is combating the teacher shortage with a new program that could help other divisions.
The Provisional Academy for Teachers in Hanover, also known as PATH, allows teachers to be in the classroom while earning their license.
The program launched this school year gives folks like Alan Myers a second chance.
“For somebody like me, I’m in my mid-50s switching careers [and] one of the real downsides of becoming a teacher is that you have to go back and get some certifications to be able to get your license,” Myers said. He adds getting that license can be costly and time-consuming.
After spending 31 years in IT with a paper company in Memphis, Tennessee, Myers moved back to his hometown in Central Virginia to find a career with a purpose.
“It seemed like a good fit for me,” he said.
Knowing the teacher shortage was worsening in just about every division nearby, he chose the PATH program to jumpstart his new career with students at Atlee High School.
“I think they’re getting the benefit of me being there right now, and as I learn and grow from learning how to be a better teacher, then they are going to get more and more from me,” Myers said.
Hanover County Public Schools said the program is the first of its kind in Virginia, getting teachers into classrooms now when they are most needed.
For the next three years, these provisional teachers will learn the curriculum required by the state, and how to teach, a skill Dr. Amy Thompson said isn’t always taught on the traditional path.
“Their homework, so to speak, for us is their lesson planning. It is the work with teacher clarity, things the division focuses on already - we are pulling all of that together for them,” Dr. Thompson, the learning coordinator with the program, said.
After passing the required tests, they will officially have their teaching license.
HCPS has less than five teacher vacancies, but they’re working on getting ahead of the teacher shortage with the new program.
“They have the opportunity and the time now - where they’re not worrying about those stressors, they’re not worrying about those financial barriers,” Chelle Quinn, HR lead for the program, said.
It’s an opportunity that could greatly impact students relying on teachers.
“It makes me feel good that I’m trying to make a little bit of a difference, and hopefully, it’s working for the kids as well,” Myers said.
Dr. Thompson said other school divisions are reaching out asking about the program to see if it could work for their classrooms.
Hanover County Public Schools will have an interest meeting in January 2023 for those interested in getting their license for the upcoming school year.
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