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Idaho teacher-prep programs vary across state universities, NNU at top

Posted at 4:45 PM, May 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-03 18:45:34-04

NAMPA — The entire nation is suffering a teacher pipeline shortage, but the quality of teachers still matters.

"We want to do the very best job of educating Idaho's children, and the way we do that is by having the very best teachers that we can," said chair of the education department for Northwest Nazarene University Lori Sanchez.

The National Council on Teacher Quality's most recent teacher-prep results per state only list one alternative program in Idaho, which earned a low score of just 31%.

However, in last year's ranking, Northwest Nazarene University reached 94 percent in secondary education and a 99 percent in elementary level in 2016.

"They go to class, and they learn content, they learn methodology, they learn new ways of doing things, then we send them out into the classroom at the same time, and so they can see those happening," said Sanchez.

The hands-on component to their curriculum starts in their freshman year, Isaac spent his first year in a sixth-grade classroom.

I'm a secondary education major and being able to work with middle schoolers gave me that ability to know if I want to be in a high school setting, a middle school setting," said freshman education student Isaac Casebolt.

It also helps them work through the real-life obstacles teachers face, which written tests can't always teach.

"I got to work with students who had different reading levels and different math levels, there were some that were more advanced and some that were definitely, you could tell they didn't work much at home, so combining those all together into one group and seeing how they could help each other and how I could help them," said sophomore student Melinda Stillman.

The university also has an accelerated program to expedite the timeline, but they only recommend 50 teachers a year to the state department. All their graduates fulfill license requirements.

Click here for the full list of rankings in our state.