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UA Little Rock announces Jacksonville teacher training partnership

UALR sign
Chris Hickey
Little Rock Public Radio
An entrance to the UA Little Rock campus is seen in this file photo.

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock is partnering with the Jacksonville-North Pulaski School District to provide an intensive program for teachers in training.

Officials with UA Little Rock and the school district announced the program at a press conference Thursday morning. The program will consist of a year-long paid teaching residency, where students will be mentored by longtime teachers at Jacksonville Middle School.

UA Little Rock Chancellor Christina Drale said many students can’t afford an unpaid training commitment, and turn away from a career in teaching because of this barrier.

“By providing students paid teaching residencies, the ability to learn with expert national partners and the opportunity to collaborate with a local school district… we will attract more individuals to the teaching profession, and our teacher candidates will be prepared for the classroom like never before,” Drale said.

Drale said it’s important to invest in young people seeking to become teachers and find ways to minimize potential burnout in early careers. Jacksonville North Pulaski School District Superintendent Jeremy Owoh expressed his excitement for the program, saying he hopes to keep students who train at Jacksonville teaching in his district.

“We’re changing the face of the way teacher preparation will look moving forward. We’re going to improve teacher retention, and I’ll be selfish and say that I am going to recruit every single one of these teacher candidates when they complete the program,” Owoh said. “Not only are we increasing the teacher pipeline in the State of Arkansas, we’re going to increase the teacher pipeline here in Jacksonville.”

The residency program will be funded by a grant from Forward Arkansas, a nonprofit that seeks to improve educational opportunities and outcomes across the state.

Little Rock Public Radio is licensed to the Board of Trustees of the University of Arkansas System and is housed at UA Little Rock, but maintains editorial independence.

Maggie Ryan is a reporter and local host of All Things Considered for Little Rock Public Radio.
Daniel Breen is News Director of Little Rock Public Radio.