FVTC hoping to help fill staffing gaps in education

Published: Jan. 21, 2022 at 4:13 PM CST
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FOX VALLEY, Wis. (WBAY) - Action 2 New has reported on the struggles of school districts surviving staffing shortages in the pandemic. On Thursday, the Green Bay Area Public School District moved Preble High school and Edison Middle School to virtual learning for at least three days because of critical staffing levels. Fox Valley Technical College has started a program to help fill the staffing gap.

School districts across the region, state and country continue to find themselves all in the same situation: not having adequate staffing.

“Even before the pandemic there was a high demand for substitute teachers, paraprofessionals. It’s worked its way into teaching positions as well - especially in those high demand, special education positions and some other positions as well,” says Todd Timm, District Administrator for the Hortonville Area School District.

Seeing the demand, Fox Valley Technical College launched the “Foundations of Teacher Education” program this fall to prepare people for jobs in the K through 12 world.

According to FVTC Associate Dean of Service Trent Sorensen, “It’s been in existence at the technical college system for a number of years, but we’re just adding it here at Fox Valley Tech this year because of the need out in education to help fill these paraprofessional positions.”

“Foundations of Teacher Education” is a two-year, associate degree program. It not only prepares students for paraprofessional jobs but also licenses them for substitute teaching positions while also laying the groundwork for other careers in education. And, starting in the fall, it will offer dual credit classes to high school students.

“It’s really important to get them aware of the opportunities for them and also get them excited for the profession. And sure, there’s lots of careers where they need people, but a very rewarding profession for them to be able to get into,” adds Sorensen.

While this program won’t immediately solve district staffing issues, it is a move in the right direction that will also help to expose the next generation of teachers to the profession. Todd Timm says, “Students are going into a variety of field in education, from that program, so we’re very thankful to the tech for beginning that program.”

And its first group of students will graduate in the spring of 2023.

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