Long Island school district fights teacher shortage with self-build program

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BALDWIN, NY — The teacher shortage in the country leads to creative solutions.

A school district in the Nassau district that interests students as young as 8th grade in teaching careers.

As Carolyn Gusoff of TSWT reported, it’s a new form of home growing.

They teach the next generation of high school teachers. Future educators get a head start.

“I know this is where I will be happy and this is where I am going to make my difference in the world,” said 11th grader Samantha Cruz.

Cruz enrolled in the Baldwin School District’s Education Academy, a unique program that offers electives from eighth grade, encourages interest in teaching, and helps achieve it.

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The 120 young people have registered as student teachers in the district and are taking courses, in collaboration with Molloy University, where the future teachers can enroll as sophomores.

“These teacher academies serve to grow your own, have this kind of building-from-within-the-community. So it really feels like a calling to them,” says Dr. Linda Kraemer, professor of education at Molloy University.

It is considered an innovative approach to a crisis.

“Nationally, we see a dire shortage of teachers. There are school systems in rural communities that started the school year with empty classrooms,” said Dr. Shari Camhi, Superintendent of the Baldwin School District.

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In New York, demand exceeds supply, as 180,000 new teachers are needed in a flurry of retirements over the next ten years.

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The shortage is caused by low wages and morale.

Camhi said by starting them young, “I think we’re solving two things at once. Not only are we increasing the pool of highly talented teachers, but we’re also increasing the diversity of the teaching profession, and I can’t think of two more important things we need to do.” “

Students say they are not put off by low morale. In fact, it’s just the opposite. They learn how essential great teachers are.

“They are part of preparing our next generation to vote, to learn about our government, to know how our government works, to be involved in politics, which are all important things in our society. right now,” said 11th grader’s Brendan Kaminski.

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District officials said they would be happy to welcome Molloy graduates back as new teachers.

Camhi, who is also president of AASA, the National Association of School Overseers, said teacher shortages on Long Island are not as severe as elsewhere in the country because of higher salaries. However, there are local shortages in many areas and instances of teacher poaching from one district to another.

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