CCSD finding teachers through online programs

LAS VEGAS - The Clark County School District needs to fill at least 1,000 teaching positions before school starts in 20 days. A growing number of prospective educators are earning their degrees online.

Thirty-year-old Jennifer Salinas recently moved from Texas to Nevada and still needs to find a place to live.

It didn't take her long to land a job, however; she already accepted a full-time teaching position for the Clark County School District.

"It sounds like an amazing opportunity, so I am excited to start," she said.

Salinas is among a growing number of educators who earned their teaching degrees online.

One local institution generating interest from education students is Western Governors University (WGU).

"It's able to produce more teachers at a quicker pace," WGU Chancellor Spencer Stewart said. "We look for very motivated and independent learners.”

Stewart says the curriculum is rigorous, and every student must get 12 weeks of real classroom experience before getting their license.

CCSD Chief Human Resources Officer Staci Vesneske says WGU and other online universities are helping to fill the teacher shortage.

"Any school that offers a program that would bring more teachers to Nevada that is going to be qualified and licensed, that is going to be a benefit," she said.

She says the real concern is ensuring these new teachers get support and continued training once they arrive on campus.

"I think the question is what's the quality of that training and is it ongoing?" she said.

Salinas says that support is critical for success.

"It has to be something you are committed to. If you have it, then it will be fine," she said.

CCSD also offers its Alternative Route to Licensure program in which professionals with bachelor’s degrees in fields other than education can train to become teachers. The training lasts less than one month, but in-classroom training is mandatory for at least three more years.


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