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Grow Your Own Highlights Across New York

Early Recruitment Pipelines

Kenmore Town of Tonawanda Union Free School District

Ken-Ton School District, where close to 40% of its staff are Ken-Ton alumni, has been growing educators from within for many years. As a district, they investigated how to attract and retain teachers long term and leaned into local sourcing. Ken-Ton has terrific partnerships with 4-5 IHEs including University at Buffalo (UB), whose residents student teach 3 days a week and substitute teach 2 days a week in Ken-Ton schools for a full academic year, and are often hired by Ken-Ton when they complete their programs. Developing Take a Look at Teaching (TALAT) clubs at both district high schools was a natural step for the community, and an opportunity for 9th – 12th grade students to gain a deeper understanding of what goes into teaching and an appreciation for teachers’ work. In addition to regular meetings a few times a month after school, club members also work with district elementary schools, assist with after school events, and visit local institutions of higher education (IHE) to learn about the various pathways into the field of education. TALAT club members who are also enrolled in Erie 1 BOCES Education Pathways Academy (please see GYO Highlights Across New York: BOCES Programs for more information) all go on to teacher preparation programs. In Ken-Ton, the field of education is an established pathway that runs through each of its schools, where students gain experience at education conferences and earn college education course credit while in high school. Ken-Ton encourages other districts to look within their staff to lead the initiative in recruiting current students into education, particularly underrepresented students. Their passion for their work will lead the work in highlighting the successes of teachers and staff districtwide, sharing with students the fulfilling benefits of teaching.

Niagara-Wheatfield Central School District

Niagara-Wheatfield Central School District highlights the advantages of working with multiple partners. Upon creating their Take a Look at Teaching (TALAT) club, they partnered with four neighboring districts with differing demographics who also have TALAT clubs. Through combined events, Niagara-Wheatfield students learn from one another across district lines and have opportunities to engage in teaching activities with multiple populations. Niagara-Wheatfield also partners with their local Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) to host professional development activities and educational conferences where TALAT club members learn from keynote speakers and participate in analytical discussions about best educational practices. Niagara-Wheatfield has also built collaborative partnerships with Niagara University, Buffalo State College, Canisius college, and Niagara County Community College, multiple campuses that club members visit to engage in education course activities and listen to panel discussions that represent the whole teaching profession. Within Niagara-Wheatfield, TALAT club members partner with district elementary teachers to create bulletin boards for Niagara-Wheatfield schools with a diversity, equity, and inclusion focus, showcasing the world-wide locations district students hail from. They also partner with district and local librarians to create in-person and on-line reading activities for community children. TALAT club advisors partner with their colleagues to create short videos for club members about why and how they entered the field of education, highlighting the multiple motivations and pathways into and through teaching. Niagara-Wheatfield proudly hires their alumni for multiple educational roles, feeling their collaborative experiences shape them into the best candidates. Niagara-Wheatfield alumni returning to the district as educators is a great tribute to their grow your own initiatives. Once a Falcon, always a Falcon.   

White Plains City School District

White Plains City School District embraces their responsibility in long range planning and presents a wide, long view of the entire education pathway. Starting with generating an early interest in education for young students, White Plains elementary students are excited when Take a Look at Teaching (TALAT) club members work with them. They are drawn into the prospect of teaching by these passionate, young professionals. Capitalizing on this early interest, White Plains is opening up their TALAT clubs to middle school students so they may engage in teaching activities sooner. White Plains also removes barriers on the education pathway, making the field more accessible and feasible for community members. Working with college and university partners, White Plains chips away at the cost of licensure for their students by laying out a path from high school to 2-year and 4-year teacher preparation programs. On this pathway, district high school students can graduate with a Teaching Assistant certification, a tangible opportunity to be employed by the district, and earn an income while working towards teaching certification. White Plains encourages other districts to work with a network of partners, from district administration to university faculty, to align dual credit courses with college programs, to ensure coursework will be transferred into preparation programs. The district emphasizes that partnerships are key to generating ideas and seeing them through to fruition.

Windsor Central School District

Windsor Central School District highlights the connection teaching has to all other professions and the need for Take a Look at Teaching (TALAT) programs to prepare students professionally for the field of education and beyond. As a member district of the Southern Tier Teacher Academy, Windsor has developed partnerships with neighboring districts, Broome Community College, and Binghamton University to create experiential opportunities for students to grow as professionals. Windsor TALAT club members complete dual credit coursework sponsored by their higher education partners and participate in on-campus networking events with education students and program faculty. Club members also complete observation hours throughout Southern Tier Teacher Academy school districts to gain experience in multiple demographics and practice networking and professional communication skills including post-observation messages of appreciation. These observation experiences occur within and beyond the classroom to include an array of leadership and business roles as well. Windsor TALAT Club members also create resumes and cover letters, participate in mock interviews, and network at annual spring events where they share their observation experiences throughout the year, mingle with alumni currently enrolled in educator preparation programs, and celebrate the field of education. Windsor proudly hires their TALAT club alumni, sometimes as teaching assistants in anticipation of projected educator positions, because they know each of their club members is future ready for any career path they choose.

BOCES Programs

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Higher Education Programs

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Community Organizations & Consortia

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