This month’s blog post comes to us from NJACTE Executive Committee member, Dr. Julie Norflus-Good, on her work creating a TA to Teacher program.
Four years ago, Dr. Janet L. Fike, Superintendent of the Morris-Union Jointure Commission Board of Education, and Dr. Julie Norflus-Good, Director of Graduate Programs from Ramapo College joined forces to not only meet the demands of the teacher shortage, but rather to create a workforce development model for teacher assistants or paraprofessionals to become certified as teachers in the state of New Jersey. This now publicly recognized “TA to Teacher” program, cited by the Governor’s Task Force on Teacher Shortages, has expanded to other districts in different counties and has multiple cohorts running.
Our entrepreneurial partnership began in the summer of 2022 with thirty-nine teacher assistants/ paraprofessionals in cohort 1 and 2. During our pilot year and within one year thereafter, the students completed their coursework to obtain their New Jersey teaching certification. Eight-seven percent of the participants are now in their second year of the program and completing course work for their master’s degree in special education. Students are extremely eager to do well and be successful in the program. They bond together to share in their successes and support each other with struggles and challenges. Happily, Cohort 1 and 2 are on track to officially graduate in the Summer of 2024 with their Master of Arts Degree.
Many of these students, now educators, have already secured full time teaching positions in a variety of schools, grade ranges and school districts. They have begun to significantly impact the classroom and our future generation!
The “TA to Teacher Program” allows participants to thrive and excel in traditional classes, but in an “after work” model. Ramapo College believes in the highest expectations for its students and the “TA to Teacher Program” offers a robust instructional, social, and emotional lens into the life of a teacher. Students complete initial certification and then continue for their master’s in special education.
We currently have additional cohorts of students that have also begun their journey of becoming certified educators.
We are so proud of this initial partnership with Dr. Fike and the Morris-Union Jointure Commission as we create a pathway for certifying additional educators in the State of New Jersey and allow them to fulfill their passion of becoming an effective educator for our state’s children.
Dr. Julie Norflus-Good, NJACTE Executive Committee Member and Director of Graduate Programs, Ramapo College; and Dr. Janet L. Fike, Superintendent of the Morris-Union Jointure Commission Board of Education