TA 2 Teach Supports "Homegrown" Teachers
TA 2 Teach is an innovative and successful recruitment and retention program at Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, in partnership with North Carolina Central University (NCCU). On March 16, a team from CHCCS Human Resources and NCCU co-led an information session for more than 50 teaching assistants (TA’s) who are interested in earning their licenses and entering their own classrooms as full-time teachers. The targets for recruitment are Elementary and Exceptional Children Education.
Latha Sabesan worked for 17 years as a kindergarten TA at Mary Scroggs Elementary School (MSES), and she is now completing her third year of teaching at the school. “I was nominated as a candidate for TA to Teach, and I graduated in 2017. I am so thankful to CHCCS for this amazing program and opportunity because I was able to fit into the teacher's role easily. I now feel like I have a superpower of being able to look at a child with two lenses, and I can tailor my instruction in an appropriate way. Being in my third year as a teacher, I feel more confident and comfortable and have adapted well to the intricacies of teaching. Thanks to CHCCS for this program that helped me in my transition from TA to teacher!”
The program pays for participants’ full tuition, and in return, the newly licensed teachers commit to completing their education within two years and working in the district for at least four years. Applicants to TA 2 Teach must be currently or recently employed as CHCCS teaching assistants and in good standing, with an associates degree or higher. Also required is a recommendation from the applicant’s current principal.
In recent years, a full cohort of teachers-in-training through the NCCU program was 10, but this year, the cohort will increase to 15. After being admitted to NCCU, TA’s will register for courses online and purchase their books. Reimbursement requests can then be submitted to HR. All employee benefits, plus the TA’s salary are retained, through their required full-time student teaching semester with CHCCS. If participants do not fulfill the four year teaching commitment, they will be required to repay all of the expenses covered by CHCCS for their licensure.
Graduates of the TA 2 Teach program will complete the CHCCS application process to be hired, and HR continues its support by assisting with placements when applicable. The phrase often used to describe the power of the transition is “home-grown teachers,” and it’s usually a win-win for everyone involved!
“The TA to Teach program is an incredible opportunity to make the transition from Assistant to Teacher,” said Kristen Perone, who now teaches third grade at MSES. “The coursework is done online and while demanding, it is mostly self-paced so you can complete the assignments around your work schedule. The staff at NCCU do their best to support and encourage the students.”
“Our cohort bonded over assignment deadlines and shared the many challenges of working while attending school,” Perone said. “I worked as an assistant while my children were younger and wanted very much to make the move to teaching, but couldn't figure out a way to get licensed with three children in college and while working full time. This program made that possible, and I am profoundly grateful that I was encouraged by my principal to apply and that I was accepted into the program.”
For teaching assistants who would like to apply for TA 2 Teach, please follow these steps.