This morning, on behalf of Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), Field Deputy Cynthia Morales presented 25 graduating seniors with Congressional Certificates of Recognition for completing Project Tomorrow’s YouthTEACH2Learn program, the culminating course in Thomas Jefferson High School’s Teacher Prep Academy. The students celebrated their accomplishments, and their imminent graduation, with representatives from the school administration, Los Angeles Unified School District administration, and Project Tomorrow.
YouthTEACH2Learn is a high-impact science and math education program in which high school students are enrolled in a full year elective class to learn about teaching math or science. As part of the class, the students develop a series of hands-on science or math lessons and in turn, teach these standards-based lessons in local elementary school classrooms on a regular basis throughout the school year. The Jefferson High School students taught twelve science lessons at neighboring Nevin Elementary, to students in Kindergarten, First, Second, and Fourth grades. As a result, the elementary students had additional, hands-on instruction in science that was highly engaging. One of the cooperating elementary teachers shared the impact of the program, noting: “The Jefferson students have been a great motivation for my students. My class has looked forward to the science lessons with great anticipation.”
Of course, the students at Jefferson High School benefitted as well, gaining the opportunity to experience teaching first hand, while developing the content knowledge, pedagogical skills, and college and career readiness skills they will need to successfully pursue a teaching career. At this morning’s celebration, the students reflected on their time in the class, and one concluded: “This experience has inspired me to pursue a career with kids and has definitely made me more interested in becoming a future educator.”
Recruiting tomorrow’s teachers today, starting with high school students, is more important than ever. The impending retirement of the baby boom generation (1/3 of California teachers are over the age of 50), coupled in California with a precipitous drop in the number of students enrolled in teacher preparation programs (a 70% decline in the last decade), means that the chronic shortage of qualified STEM teachers has become much worse, and expanded to all subject areas. In fact, according to the California Department of Education, the 2015-16 school year began with 21,500 open teaching positions, while only 15,000 new teaching credentials are issued per year. Project Tomorrow is pleased to share that we are addressing this problem through our Tomorrow’s Teachers Initiative programs, YouthTEACH2Learn and Educators Rising California. Participation in both grew tremendously last year, and is on track to do so again in 2016-17.
In the meantime, we hope that you will join us in offering our congratulations to the YouthTEACH2Learn students at Jefferson High School. We hope that they will continue on the path to becoming teachers, and we wish them the best of luck in all of their future endeavors.
YouthTEACH2Learn is a career exploration program where students explore teaching as a career. During the course, the students gain practical experience by observing elementary school classrooms, learning how to teach, developing and teaching standards-based lessons to younger students in neighboring elementary schools and participating in local community service projects. In addition, students also have the opportunity to meet local educators, attend career panels, and visit local college campuses in order to determine if teaching is a “good-fit” for their professional goals. To learn more about YouthTEACH2Learn, visit http://www.tomorrow.org/programs/yt2l.html.