BOISE — Teacher retention and the overall shortage affects the entire state of Idaho, especially in rural parts. However, the College of Southern Idaho is making sure the quality of our educators isn't lowered to try and get the numbers up.
"I think it's a little bit of a band-aid approach; we're trying to fix the bigger problem that we do have a shortage of teachers, but that's not going to be fixed overnight," said the instructional coach in Twin Falls Peggy Hoy.
The College of Southern Idaho's program gets more professionals, some already working in the classroom, certified as teachers.
"if you're a certified teacher, it opens up many more opportunities and many more doors, especially pay," said Hoy.
The shortage particularly hits the Magic Valley.
"We don't have four-year degrees that are feeding into the Magic Valley, so we don't get the student teachers to come there, so we do have a problem, and our college recognized that so they put together this program," said Hoy.
Applicants must have some education experience or a bachelor's degree. This accelerated certificate program works well for people who are experts in certain concepts, like scientists, but need to learn how to deliver their subject in a school setting. It also helps teachers who need to get additional certifications or endorsements to teach other grades.
"if you're certified K-8, let's say you're a math teacher for 6th grade or in middle school and you want to teach at the high school, then you have to go back to school to get that math certification, and this program will offer you a way to get that content-specific," said Hoy.
Still, this isn't a perfect solution to the larger problem at hand.
"I work with alternative certification teachers as an instructional coach, and I find their retention rate is not very good; they don't stick around because it's very hard," said Hoy.
The program hopes to address that problem with the mentoring and face-to-face time, which isn't offered at other alternative board certification programs. That way, their graduates are prepared before they step foot into their new roles.
"Before you can be a teacher, you have to understand how to teach," said Hoy.
Under the Office of the Governor, the Workforce Development Council granted over a million dollars for the program.
To qualify for an interim certificate, candidates must hold a bachelor's degree, meet a content area qualifier, and be employed by a district or charter in a K-12 school. You can find the full list of requirements and details about the program here.