WORTHINGTON — The Teacher Pathway program at Worthington High School continues to gain momentum and attention from others. The Teacher Pathway is a unique partnership between Independent School District 518, Minnesota West Community and Technical College and Southwest Minnesota State University.

During the 2017 school year, the Worthington High School introduced an opportunity for students to begin exploring a potential career in education. The goal of the project was to create a clear pathway for students to become a teacher, and hopefully stay within the region to make a positive impact. At the very onset of the program, our collaborative team took a purposeful approach to attracting and supporting diverse students who were considering the teaching profession. The district believes this is important because numerous studies show that students of all racial backgrounds benefit when their teachers reflect the diversity of their classrooms.

The Teacher Partnership program began by offering a three-credit concurrent enrollment Introduction to Education course. The program is now in its third year of implementation, and excitement around the pathway continues to grow. In the past few years, approximately 65 students have taken the Intro to Education class offered at Worthington High School. Students taking this class gain knowledge about the education profession, and have the opportunity to serve 15-20 hours of field experience at Prairie Elementary and Worthington Middle School.

This year, we have added another Minnesota West concurrent enrollment class to the spring semester. The Technology in Education class will give students an opportunity to continue developing their teaching skills by exploring computer applications as tools for learning, ethics of electronic communications and building a teaching portfolio.

Part of the success in generating interest in these classes is the Worthington High School’s Future Teachers of America club. FTA, which meets a couple times a month, offers students in grades 9-12 a variety of different exposures to the world of education. Mr. Patrick Mahoney is our FTA advisor and teaches both of our teacher pathway classes. Members of the FTA club recently gained invaluable experiences by attending the Aspiring Educators Day at SMSU, and providing tours of our Worthington campus to SMSU President Kumara Jayasuriya and Minnesota State Chancellor Devinder Malhotra.

The Teacher Pathway program is supported in large part by grant funding and resource sharing from the McKnight Foundation, the Greater Twins Cities United Way and the Southwest Initiative Foundation. These organizations, and our partnership with Minnesota West Community and Technical College and Southwest Minnesota State University, will help students earn their teaching degree without having to leave the city of Worthington. We are working together to increase the diverse pool of quality teacher candidates in the region. We are focused on what it takes to support students who want to teach, especially diverse students who want to give back to their community. The Teacher Partnership understands we can help eliminate barriers by working together, increase the diversity of our teaching pool, and ultimately make a long-term impact on the Worthington area and the southwest Minnesota region.

If you are interested in learning more about the Teacher Pathway in Worthington, please contact Josh Noble at josh.noble@isd518.net.

Josh Noble is the principal at Worthington High School.