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Program will guide students toward returning as teachers

Posted November 24

— Officials are working on a program to encourage Scottsbluff High School students to train to become educators so they will return to the area to teach future Scottsbluff students.

Justin Shaddick, an assistant principal at Scottsbluff High School, said the Grow Our Own Teacher program is being prepared because Scottsbluff struggles to retain teachers. Teachers from around the state often are recruited to Scottsbluff but stay only two or three years because they don't have ties to the area, he said.

"The best recruiting we can do is with the students who graduate from Scottsbluff or Gering or anywhere in the valley," said Shaddick, "Then it would be a greater likelihood for retention."

Isaac Bowman, a junior at Scottsbluff High, said he's interested in how teachers think and act. He thinks he would be best suited to teach elementary and middle school, he said.

"I like seeing how their brains work and how they interact with you," Bowman said.

Shaddick and other district officials are working with Western Nebraska Community College and Chadron State College to develop the pathway for prospective teachers. A student's curriculum would be geared from his or her junior year in high school toward graduating and then earning a college degree in elementary or postsecondary education. The program is scheduled to begin in spring.

District Superintendent Rick Myles told the Scottsbluff Star-Herald (http://bit.ly/2f2fgNm ) said incentives will be provided by the Scottsbluff Public Schools Foundation.

District officials think some of the best teachers are already in Scottsbluff as students, Myles said.

"We want our most gifted, potential teachers to stay here and be great teachers for us and for the next generation," Myles said.

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