By Sara Tischauser
The Seymour Community School District is looking to offer students a new opportunity starting the fall of 2019.
Anne Van Schyndel, Seymour family and consumer science teacher, will be the advisor for Seymour’s Educators Rising.
Jenny Pierre, Seymour’s director of curriculum, said they first heard about Educators Rising from school board member Greg Leisgang. Leisgang had heard about Educators Rising when he attended the state school board convention when another district spoke about the organization. Leisgang asked Pierre to research the organization and Pierre said when they started looking into what the organization is and what it does, they thought it would be a good organization to bring to Seymour.
“As we researched we saw a lot of advantages to it [Educators Rising],” Pierre said. “I definitely think it’s a hole, it’s not an area that we addressed. We address careers in agriscience and in business and many other areas but we don’t really have anything for educators. So when we learned more about it we thought yeah this is definitely a career we don’t really address in high school and one of our goals is for kids to be college and career ready.”
Preparing students for the future is something the school strives to do.
“It really fits in with our academic and career planning that we are doing in the district and giving students the opportunity to explore the education pathway,” Van Schyndel said.
Van Schyndel has been doing research on the organization and has found it is rather new to Wisconsin. Wisconsin Educators Rising had its inaugural state conference and summit March 7, 2018.
Students in Educators Rising have the opportunity to compete in various contests like impromptu speaking, lesson planning and delivery, job interviews and other contest areas.
Educators Rising has a classroom component as well as a community service component. These components will help give students a better hands-on experience of what an education career might be like for them.
“I think the real world experiences and better knowledge of their career choice [are benefits] which will help them when they get to higher education; know their career options,” Van Schyndel said. “It will give them direction.”
Through the organization students will have the opportunity to have a mentor teacher in the district and get real experience working in a classroom. This networking may help students in their future careers as they look for guidance and references.
Pierre said one of the interesting things that Leisgang said one school was doing was offering future career options to students. Leisgang said one school guarantees that if a student in Educators Rising goes on to get a degree in education the school district will guarantee that student an interview for something the student is certified to teach. This is something Pierre said the district is considering to help SCHS recruit more teachers.
One of the driving forces behind starting this organization Pierre said is the ongoing teacher shortage that is happening throughout the state.
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction website recently posted statistics that show the number of students enrolling in prep programs in Wisconsin is down 35 percent. So there is almost a third less students going into the education field.
Of those going into the education field for post-secondary education 28 percent less are completing the education program.
Pierre said having less teachers entering into the education field has led to some of the teacher shortages many schools are experiencing.
According to an article on Educators Rising website that was published in 2016 more than 60 percent of teachers work within 20 miles of where they attended high school.
Pierre said the hope with Seymour having the Educators Rising organization in the district is that more local students will go into the education field. Ultimately the hope is that some of these students will come back to the district to teach.
“We are always looking for great teachers and someone vested in the community,” Pierre said.
Van Schyndel said any students interested in Educators Rising should come talk to her or speak with the school counselors.