In an effort to solve local teacher shortages, Teton County School District 1 applied for and was selected as one of three districts in the state to participate in a pilot program through the Wyoming …
In an effort to solve local teacher shortages, Teton County School District 1 applied for and was selected as one of three districts in the state to participate in a pilot program through the Wyoming Department of Education and Wyoming Professional Teaching Standards Board.
The district “has experienced an unprecedented amount of teacher and staff turnover across our school district,” wrote Superintendent Dr. Gillian Chapman in her application for the newly created Teacher Apprenticeship program. “This has led to staffing shortages that cannot be adequately and effectively addressed through substitute teachers. In order to ensure all classrooms and courses have a highly qualified teacher, we are in desperate need of a systematic and sustainable hiring and recruiting plan.”
Joining Laramie County School District 1 and Fremont County School District 24, the local school district is tasked with developing a framework for the program often referred to nationally as “Grow Your Own.”
The program seeks to tap into local talent by providing hands-on teaching mentorship and financial support to district employees and community members who have a desire to be on the front lines in the classroom.
“Teton was selected as the medium-sized pilot school district,” said Linda Finnerty, spokeswoman for the education department. “They identified a clear need for multiple teachers in various areas. The district’s need for a strong form of a Grow Your Own Program is even greater given the difficulty Teton has had in attracting new teachers based on the cost of housing.”
At the end of the spring semester, the public school district faced 66 staff resignations — with only six citing retirement. District leadership has continually pointed to the need for more stable housing.
Additionally, a March 2022 survey conducted by the Wyoming Education Association and University of Wyoming found that 65% of Wyoming teachers surveyed said, “That if they could quit, they would but cannot quit due to financial or other reasons.”
Another 12% of the 700 educators who responded to the survey said they were “quitting teaching by the end of the school year.”
While funding is still being hashed out on a state level, Finnerty said the department is working with districts to determine what the costs will be.