Adams State announces Boettcher Teachers Program in the SLV

(09-17-2012)

Adams State University announced initiation of the Boettcher Teachers Program in the San Luis Valley at a dinner on campus Sept. 11. Area school superintendents and principals joined university staff and representatives of the Boettcher Foundation and Public Education & Business Coalition (PEBC), who collaborate on the program.

The program's objective is to prepare more teachers for low-income, rural public schools. Participants will earn a master's degree in education from Adams State, as well as a Colorado teacher license. A focus is training teachers to work with culturally and linguistically diverse students. While completing the two-year master's program, participants will work alongside a mentor teacher for the first year, then assume a classroom of their own for the second year. Participants will then make a service commitment to San Luis Valley schools.

Boettcher and PEBC initiated the program on the Front Range nine years ago, resulting in 96 percent teacher retention over six years, in addition to statistically significant increases in student achievement. Their partnership with Adams State University and SLV schools is the first in rural Colorado.

Noting that Adams State was founded in 1921 specifically to prepare teachers for rural Colorado, University President David Svaldi said it can be difficult for rural school districts to fill certain teaching positions, such as those in math and science, and the Boettcher program will help address those needs.

"This program is an extra step to ensure the quality of teachers in the San Luis Valley. It is all about an investment for our kids and our grandkids. A campus program like this will attract intelligent individuals who will come to appreciate the San Luis Valley, and they will stay."

Center, Alamosa, and North Conejos school districts will serve as training districts for the program, providing about 24 mentor teachers. Details will be refined in coming months.

In a prerecorded message replayed at the dinner, Lt. Gov. and head of the Colorado Commission on Higher Education, Joe Garcia, said, "What we are doing is bigger than us. We want to make sure all of our kids have an opportunity . These are the kids that are going to be the future of our country and state. We know we can change the future of your community, our community, and the state." Garcia will visit the valley Oct. 22 to celebrate the Boettcher Teachers Program.

"The single most important person in a young person's life is a teacher," said Boettcher Foundation President Tim Schultz at the kick-off dinner. "This is a wonderful opportunity to provide funding. We are honored and humbled to be a part of it."

Rosann Ward, president of the non-profit PEBC, said, "In our teacher residency program, participants work side-by-side with effective teachers who inform, encourage and model great instruction."

ASU Teacher Education

By Julie Waechter