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As school districts confront the problem of a nationwide teacher shortage, Westminster Public Schools (WPS) has found a partial solution: Grow our own.
This spring, the Human Resources Department held the first of many meetings with current WPS Educational Support Professionals (ESP) to encourage them to go back to school and get their teaching license.
“We need to get creative, and we prefer to draw from our own great group of people,” said WPS Chief of Staff and H.R. Director, Kirk Leday.
The meeting, held at the Robert J. Landgraf Center for Teaching Excellence, included presentations from representatives of Front Range Community College (FRCC) and Regis University.
The hope is that employees will pursue various paths to get professional certificates and Associates Degrees at FRCC that will allow them to “seamlessly” continue their education at Regis. Regis students who go on to student teach within WPS are eligible for paid stipends as they work and learn in the WPS system.
In addition, there are state and federal loan forgiveness programs for students who agree to teach in certain districts for an agreed upon period of time.
First-year teachers in WPS are the highest paid in the state, making close to $61,000 in their first year.
Germaine Santistevan-Watts went back to school in her 50’s to get her teaching license and calls it, “the best decision I ever made.” You can read her story here.
WPS employees who are interested in becoming teachers should contact
Information about Regis University can be found here.
Information about FRCC Zero-Cost Early Childhood Education Program can be found here.
Information about FRCC Zero-Cost Elementary Education can be found here.