SANFORD, Fla. - Seminole State College hopes to help fill teacher vacancies by training more teachers. The college is offering two new education degree track options this fall.
Students can enroll in the Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education degree track or the Bachelor of Science in Exceptional Student Education degree track.
"I think we have to chunk it up into small pieces and look at what we can do," said Ashley Navarro, Professor in the Education Department at Seminole State.
It’s not an immediate fix to the teacher shortage issue, but in four years upwards of 100 students will leave ready to teach - and each year after.
It's a welcomed teacher pipeline because a state report showed Florida has a limited pool of candidates. For example, in 2019 - 2020, zero Florida college students graduated with a Drama certification - even though 26 teachers were needed. Only 154 graduated with a reading certification, even though 469 vacancies were projected. About 479 graduated ready to teach Exceptional Students, but close to over 1,800 were needed.
On one hand, it could mean less people want to teach, but staff at Seminole State found some wanted more options.
"Looked in Seminole County and said are there any institutions that are currently preparing teachers. None in Seminole County. Then asked - will our students want to take these programs if we offer them," said Navarro.
Their survey of students found 90% of Pre-Education majors were interested.
Hannah Kraftchizk is one of the students who applied.
"To know there will be more teachers out there doing that. It's cool I'll be a part of that," said Kraftchizk.
She hopes to teach 1st grade.
"My mom says she’s going to retire when I start teaching so I’ll carry that."
The Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education is for kindergarten through 6th. The Bachelor in Exceptional Student Education is for kindergarten through 12th grade.
Both have an ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages) and reading endorsement.
To see the full report, click here (Critical Teacher Shortage Areas 2022-23 (fldoe.org)