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Texas Tech program strives to fill teacher shortage in rural West Texas

Published: Jul. 13, 2021 at 7:28 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - A collaboration between Texas Tech and other west Texas institutions strives to fast track aspiring teachers from the area into rural west Texas school districts.

Tech teach across rural Texas creates fluid degree programs and puts aspiring teachers into classrooms that they will stay in once they graduate the program.

Texas tech is partnering with 4 other universities, 9 community colleges and 45 west Texas school districts.

This means teachers throughout the region can participate at various schools with limited credit transfer loss. Hopefully, 200 teachers a year will fill the ongoing rural staffing shortages.

For the last year, she took a full course load and gained experience in the classroom four days a week.

With limited time to work, this program offers a stipend to keep teachers focused on the kids.

Deckard says she’s ready to hit the ground running in the fall.

“I had like four or five students request, like from third grade request to be in my classroom, which was like the biggest compliment ever,” Deckard said. “I know what the kids already have learned. And I know several of the students that are going to be my class, and it’s just so much stress gone, you know, I already have a really good idea of what I’m going to be doing under the teachers.”

Program director Doug Hamman says it’s not only easy for the teachers, but for the school districts.

“Rural school districts struggle, perhaps more than even the urban urban school districts to find teacher talent. And if we can, we can grow our own teacher talent from the community, then they’re more likely to stay,” Hamman said.

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