November 23, 2021

Caddo Teacher Academy prepares selected district staff for classroom teaching positions

The Caddo Parish School District has launched an internal teacher certification program to address the teacher shortage. It is one of two districts in the state to create a one-year program that will accredit certain district employees.

Caddo Schools’ academic director Keith Burton said he needs to keep about 3,500 teachers serving the 41,000 students in the district. The new Caddo Teacher Academy has 12 new ones.

“At the start of the program, they showed they had the basic skills, intelligence and knowledge – the soft skills needed to be successful. We will provide them with the specific training they need in the area of ​​curriculum, pedagogy and assessment. Then they’re going to start teaching with a successful teacher, ”Burton said.

In August, each will be paired with a teacher mentor and content coaches as they complete a nine-month teaching internship. The Kinda Kilgore Academy participant in Shreveport has two master’s degrees. She has been a substitute teacher for nine years. Her teaching assignment is Grade 7 English, and she is thrilled.

“I know that with a mentor, I will learn all the ins and outs that I may not have seen or experienced as a substitute teacher. Therefore, I think this is quite the right step, ”said Kilgore.

Paraprofessional Teresa Williams changed careers when Johnson Controls closed. She had worked on the seat assembly line for GM vehicles. She will be teaching English language arts in fifth grade at Queensborough Primary School, where she has developed relationships with students over the past few years.

“It’s rigorous, but they give us everything we need. It’s fast, a lot of information is reaching us, but that’s what we need. Throughout the year they will come into [my classroom] to help and monitor us, ”said Williams.

Burton says the teacher shortage is a nationwide problem. This academy is supposed to be a tool for recruiting and retaining teachers in difficult to fill disciplines.

“We just couldn’t meet the high needs of math, science and special education. We wanted to think creatively of ways to do it, ”said Burton.

Only current Caddo District employees who worked as teacher substitutes, paraprofessionals and office workers were considered in the first year. The academy is made possible through a grant from the state education department.

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