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Grow Your Own NH K12 Educators: Making Lemonade from the Shortage Crisis

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NCDE is committed to competency-based learning, performance assessment and credentialing, in partnership with Convergence.Tech
(Download Case Study PDF Here)

On June 21st NCDE launched a K12 Apprenticeship Program

In collaboration with the U.S Department of Labor, NCDE is mobilizing partners to co-develop sustained strategies in Manchester and across New Hampshire to make serious quantities of lemonade from the mounting national K12 educational workforce shortage crisis by:

  1.  Diversifying NH’s K12 workforce to better serve NH’s diverse K12 learners.
  2.  Strengthening modeling by preparation program faculty and their school partners (cooperating educators, mentors. clinical supervisors, etc.) of competency-based learning pedagogy and assessment.
  3.  Strengthening the preparation of educators to foster a positive and inclusive learning climate in their classroom, school, online forums and other learning venues.
  4.  Restructuring preparation so that even the lowest-income candidates can complete their program mostly or entirely debt-free while earning a living wage and being free of “benefit-cliff” loss of public benefits.
  5.  Equipping future educators and school leaders with the tools and skills they need to recognize when their students (and staff) are facing digital divide barriers to learning at home, school, online and in the community and know how to access systemic digital equity resources to overcome these barriers.

Featured Presenters and Panelists:

Emceed by Jenelle Leonard, NCDE’s director of leadership development for inclusion, US Dept of Labor’s director of the NH state office of apprenticeship Lauren Smith provided an overview to federal USDOL funding available to support inclusive pathways into the education workforce for lower-income youths and adults. The webinar panel was moderated by Dr. Mary Ford, NCDE’s chief operating officer and director of inclusive career pathways, who brings 14 years’ experience as dean of education designing and administering affordable, competency-based preparation programs and Desh Bagley, NCDE’s director of learner engagement and leadership. Panelists included: Steve Appleby, director of educator support and higher education for the NH Dept. of Education, shared data on what’s known about the NH K12 workforce crisis, Dr. Irv Richardson, coordinator for public education and school support, NEA New Hampshire, and Dr. Carl Ladd, executive director, NH School Administrators Association.  NCDE’s executive director Dr. Robert McLaughlin provided framing remarks and briefly summarized next steps enabling an increasingly inclusive network of interested stakeholders to help shape local and statewide efforts to transform together how are schools are sustainably staffed and educators prepared.

Partners with NCDE and the USDOL in this initiative include the National Center for Competency-Based Learning, Avid Products, Bangor Savings Bank, Community College System of NH, Convergence, Diversity Workforce Coalition, EnCube Labs, FIRST, Manchester Financial Partners, Manchester Proud, NH Charitable Foundation, NH Coalition for Business and Education, NH Dept. of Business and Economic Affairs’ Office of Workforce Opportunity, NH DHHS Whole Family Approach to Jobs, NH DHHS Community Engagement, NH Learning Initiative, NH School Administrators Association, NH School Boards Association, North Country Education Services, Service Credit Union, University of New Hampshire Center for Impact Finance, UNH Carsey School for Public Policy, UNH Cooperative Extension Service, and UNH Teacher Residency for Rural Education.

In addition to achieving the aims above, this growing alliance is committed to efforts that ensure every future educator:

  • Receives dual certification in regular and special education and at least an initial performance-based micro-credential affirming their understanding of the challenges faced by English Learners.
  • Recognizes when their students face digital divide barriers at home and knows how to connect them with the digital equity resources to overcome these barriers.
  • Knows how to develop their students’ financial literacy, digital literacy, and information literacy skills.
  • Knows how to help students and their families reduce the risk of device and social network addiction.
  • Knows how to use neurofeedback and other tools and processes to reduce their own and their students’ stress, to create a more engaging and supportive learning climate.

The K12 workforce shortage is indeed a crisis of unprecedented magnitude and is likely to get even more dire: as school morale has declined during the pandemic, more educators have left the profession, further worsening the school climate, inclining still more educators to leave the profession. All the while, enrollment in educator preparation programs nationwide and NH has declined as well.

We can continue watching individual preparation programs compete for candidates and districts compete for employees, or we can work together systemically not only to reverse these trends, but boldly, to make life better than ever before.  There’s a lot of lemonade just waiting to be made.

Come join us in making serious quantities of lemonade for our children and those who educate them!

For more information or to join us, please contact Dr. Mary Ford ([email protected]) or Dr. Robert McLaughlin ([email protected]).