NEWARK, NJ (CBS New York) — With the nation experiencing a teacher shortage, East Side High School in Newark is working with Montclair State University to develop local educators.
CBS2’s Meg Baker spoke with aspiring teachers who see a full circle of benefits from this opportunity.
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These East Side High School students are part of Teacher Academy, a magnetic program aimed at educating, training, preparing and retaining future teachers, as well as diversifying the workforce.
“I feel like if I can do that, I can tell the kids to pursue my goal,” said Christopher Cruz, a junior.
“My parents are hardworking and all. So to be able to kind of take the stress out of paying for college is amazing,” said junior Alexis Ramos.
Students take 60 credits of college coursework at Montclair State University during their junior and senior years.
“What I find exciting about your future as a teacher is that you will be able to do something that gives meaning to your own life,” said Montclair State University President Jonathan GS Koppell. .
It’s a direct pipeline. Newark’s superintendent even issues teaching contracts for returning students.
“We have 110 vacancies in the system today,” Superintendent Roger León said.
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Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, visited the school and announced help for all students in the program so they can focus on their future instead of having to find a job after school.
“Each young adult, aspiring teacher will receive a $1,200 stipend for the spring semester and a $2,500 stipend for the summer semester,” Weingarten said.
Several current professors were students here.
“Now that I’m on the other side of that, I actually see other students who I can actually relate to and how they might process this whole experience,” said biology professor Andreia Resende.
“You go back to where you want to teach because you want to affect your neighborhood, you want to make it better,” said Alexander Diaz, a bilingual biology and earth science teacher.
The next generation of Newark educators now have more resources connecting passion, purpose, and opportunity.
Superintendent León said teacher salaries in Newark start at $65,000. The Teacher Academy is part of a larger plan to have different magnet high school options associated with each high school in the city.
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CBS2’s Meg Baker contributed to this report.