Hiring staff that reflects our diverse student body is a priority for the Wenatchee School District. Feedback from stakeholders and data collected as part of the District’s Equity Program Review underscores this work's importance in delivering on our promise to students. WSD’s HR department has taken action and is in the early stages of building a clear pathway and support for classified staff to become teachers.
“We need to support staff who want to become educators and those we see that have potential to become classroom teachers with alternative routes to earn their teaching certificate,” said WSD HR Director Katie Batson. To make this happen, Batson has been working with Eastern Washington University to connect WSD staff with the Transition to Teaching (T2T) program. Through EWU’s T2T program, employees can earn a K-8 teaching certificate through flexible hybrid instruction based in Wenatchee and Moses Lake.
Since 2017, 55 people in North Central Washington have become credentialed teachers through the T2T program. The program has provided school districts with an equitable strategy to recruit, hire and retain qualified teachers who are representative of their communities.
One of the biggest advantages of this program is that employees can continue working while they complete the required coursework. Batson explained that employees no longer have to decide between earning their teaching certificate and quitting their job. Offered as a 2-year cohort model, students complete their coursework online and attend in-person classes one weekend per month on Friday afternoon and Saturday. Employees can also earn practicum hours and complete their student teaching at the school where they currently work. To help offset tuition costs, WSD has grants available for select candidates that can reduce tuition by roughly half. The next Cohort will begin this summer.
A representative from EWU will host a T2T information session on February 7 at 4:00 PM at the Wenatchee School District Central Office. WSD employees are encouraged to attend and learn more about the pathways to teacher certification and the application process.
More information about EWU’s Transition to Teaching program is available on their website ewu.edu/t2t or by calling (509) 290-7311.