FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jennifer Wallace, (360)725-6275, Jennifer.Wallace@PESB.wa.gov
Olympia, Washington – February 11, 2016
Professional Educator Standards Board Approves First Community College to Offer Teacher Preparation Program
Well-timed to help address the state’s increased demand for teachers to achieve K-3 class size reduction, Pierce College has been approved by the State Board of Community and Technical Colleges and the Professional Educator Standards Board (PESB) to offer a Bachelor of Applied Science in Education degree with preparation for teacher certification and dual endorsements in Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education. In partnership with Sumner, Clover Park, Steilacoom and Puyallup School Districts, this Alternative Route program will target paraeducators with Associate Degrees (AAS) in Early Childhood Education who will be fully employed while completing online, evening and weekend coursework followed by a classroom-based residency where they will co-teach with a trained mentor teacher.
This type of program reflects increased interest by school districts in “growing their own” teachers, with a tight pipeline from recruitment to preparation to employment. Prospective teachers with AAS degrees can face barriers and difficult transition with more traditional programs. Pierce’s direct pathways from AAS to BAS and certification all within the community college system provides familiarity and supports to help ensure successful completion. AAS students also represent greater racial/ethnic diversity than AA direct-transfer students, thus furthering the state’s goal of a teacher workforce with demographics more closely resembling that of its students.
Program cost is projected at $7,500 / year for two years, with some candidates eligible for future teacher conditional loan scholarships of $8,000 / year and/or other forms of financial aid. The program will begin accepting applicants in the fall of 2016 for a winter 2017 start. Two additional community colleges will be seeking teacher preparation program approval later this year.