Can school districts grow their own teachers?

Jenna Kahl, director of enrollment and outreach at ASU’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, recently spoke to KJZZ radio about a “grow your own teacher model that will redefine what teacher recruitment looks like in Arizona.” Aim2Teach is one of several strategies Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College uses to engage high school students and recruit tomorrow’s teachers.

Through the program, high school students in some Phoenix-area school districts can earn college credits while exploring whether a career in education might be right for them. For students, the program offers a deep-dive preview of life at ASU’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. For school district administrators in Mesa, Gilbert, Deer Valley, Peoria and Dysart, it offers an opportunity to address the critical shortage of teachers by building a pipeline of qualified teachers likely to work in their schools in a few years.

Aim2Teach was inspired by two statistics: 34 percent of new teachers nationwide are hired for their first jobs by the school districts where they attended high school, and 84 percent of teachers get their first teaching jobs within 40 miles of their hometowns.

“When you identify the right students and provide them with the right training,” Kahl told KJZZ, “they are retained longer in the field. That’s part of the issue as well. It’s not just about recruitment. It’s about retaining teachers in the classroom.”