Academic journal article Education

Paraeducator Career Ladder: A Valuable Means If Increasing the Teaching Force in a Large Urban School District

Academic journal article Education

Paraeducator Career Ladder: A Valuable Means If Increasing the Teaching Force in a Large Urban School District

Article excerpt

With 33,000 teachers at 670 schools spread over 707 square miles educating 878,000 students, the Los Angeles Unified School District is faced with enormous challenges, as are all urban school districts, but one does not have to look very far to find excellent programs serving our students. Early literacy, parent and community involvement, dual immersion language acquisition, and dropout prevention programs abound, and have a tremendous positive impact. The Los Angeles Systemic Initiative brings cutting edge mathematics and science teaching techniques to elementary and secondary. schools. 134 magnet programs, the most in the nation, offer students focused instruction in everything from medical careers to the performing arts. Our students excel. They have won the state Academic Decathlon nine times, and the national Academic Decathlon four times, and the national Science Bowl twice.

It is, therefore, not surprising the an outstanding model for paraeducator to teacher programs which has received national recognition was developed here: the Paraeducator Career Ladder program. The concept of supporting paraeducators who declare an interest in pursuing careers in teaching, and guiding them towards the district's areas of greatest need is simple, elegant and very strong. Nationally, 40% of new teachers leave the profession in the first five years, but 99.5% of the teachers from the Career Ladder are still teaching. In only three years over 700 Career Ladder participants have become K-12 teachers. Three-quarters of these new teachers have gone into elementary classrooms. They have been critical to the district's efforts to fully staff class-size reduction classrooms. …

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