Recruiting Washington Teachers (RWT) is a high school teacher academy that recruits and supports diverse future teachers as they explore and prepare for careers in education, especially in endorsement and geographic shortage areas. RWT uses a “grow your own” approach, growing future teachers from within local communities to help to address teacher shortages across Washington State. RWT programs work to align the diversity of educators and students and eliminate the opportunity gap for students from underserved groups, with a specific focus on multicultural and multilingual students and students of color. The Washington State Legislature authorized the RWT program in 2007 and provides ongoing funding.
PESB supports grant-funded sites with a focus on recruiting and preparing diverse high school students for future careers as educators. Programs aim to address teacher shortage areas including mathematics, science, Special Education, early childhood education (P-3), English Language Learner, and bilingual education. RWT programs provide an opportunity to test new resources and strategies and to study program outcomes. View annual RWT evaluation reports.
The following districts have been awarded funding for 2021-23:
Bethel Teacher Academy - Bethel School District
Partners: Bethel School District, Pacific Lutheran University
Ferndale Teacher Academy - Ferndale School District
Partners: Ferndale School District, Ferndale Education Association, Western Washington University
MVHS Careers in Education – Mt. Vernon School District
Partners: Skagit Valley College, Western Washington University
Mount Vernon High School CIE (2012 to present) is a comprehensive program that recruits students of color and bilingual students who have expressed an interest in a career as a teacher and supports them in pursuing and achieving their dreams. This year-long course aims to teach students the pathway to becoming a teacher in Washington State as well as the principles of being an effective educator who serves all students from a variety of diverse backgrounds and experiences. Students observe a variety of classroom environments and then have the opportunity to work as an intern with a mentor teacher in one of our elementary or middle schools. Students who are interested in a career in serving migrant, bilingual, and/or ELL students have the opportunity to work in the district’s dual-language elementary school, Madison Elementary, or to work with their dual-language program at LaVenture Middle School. The program’s goal is to identify students from diverse backgrounds interested in teaching and to provide a seamless program of support from middle to high school to college and hopefully back to a career in teaching within the local community.
In this program, students not only learn about what it takes to become an effective educator but also receive immense support, including help with applying to colleges and financial aid and tips on how to be successful in college. The class attends conferences on education and social justice as well as takes trips to colleges. College visits help students make an informed decision about the best place for each of them to pursue higher education. As a part of the Skagit Valley Maestros Para el Pueblo program, the program has a strong partnership with Skagit Valley College and Western Washington University, which provides students support in high school as well as one-on-one academic advising and support if they decide to attend one of these colleges. Program leaders are proud to prepare and support future educators who not only serve the needs of ALL of the students in the community but who also reflect the diverse backgrounds, languages, customs, and traditions of students in local schools.
Recruiting Washington Teachers – Burlington-Edison School District
Partners: Skagit Valley College, Western Washington University
Founded in 2009, this longstanding teacher academy program continues to model excellence. It is comprised of a diverse group of Juniors and Seniors from the beautiful Skagit Valley region of Washington State. In this innovative bilingual leadership program, students learn a strong set of foundational skills that prepare them to be effective tutors, role models, and potential future educators in the district and community.
Beyond preparing students for experiences in education, the program’s mission is to eliminate bias, stereotyping, and discrimination in local schools and communities through service and leadership opportunities in education. Program leaders have presented at local, regional, national, and international conferences furthering those ideals. From spending time with leaders such as Dolores Huerta to mentoring local elementary school students, teacher academy students continue to work tirelessly, achieving for themselves and the program’s broader mission.
Renton Teacher Academy – Renton School District
Partners: Central Washington University
Renton teacher academy (2007 to present) was established as the result of a collaboration between Renton School District, Central Washington University, and the Professional Educator Standards Board. This is a model program aimed at recruiting and supporting students of color in becoming high-quality educators in high need content areas: science, technology, mathematics, special education, bilingual education, and ELL.
Renton teacher academy, which includes Hazen, Lindbergh, and Renton high schools exists to:
- Inspire student vision and understanding of the value of a teaching career;
- Introduce careers in education and the educator professional code of conduct;
- Demonstrate college readiness through placement tests and college admissions;
- Provide learning opportunities and classroom experiences in collaboration with P-12 teachers, two and four-year faculty members and community organizations;
- Introduce and develop cultural competency and a variety of culturally responsive and appropriate strategies used to engage students.
Tacoma School District - TEACH 253
Partners: Pacific Lutheran University
TEACH 253 (2012 to present) is a partnership between Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) and Tacoma Public Schools (Lincon and Mt. Tahoma High Schools) to support students from diverse backgrounds in becoming teachers. The program allows students to “try-on” the career of teaching. Students are assigned practicum experience in a partner elementary classroom and work with students one-on-one or in small groups under the direction of an elementary mentor-teacher and their TEACH 253 instructor. Students examine issues relevant to education: special education, ESL, cultural differences, equity in education, current trends, learning styles, etc.
Students in Tacoma’s TEACH 253 program complete a minimum of 50 hours of practicum experience in the elementary classroom. They also have the opportunity to receive industry certification through the ParaPro Assessment (paraprofessional certification). Students receive extensive instruction and guidance in the college application process as well as promoting college access and success. Students visit the campus of PLU multiple times during their course and participate in a summer academy and in education courses with undergraduate and graduate students.