The Salem-Keizer School District and the community should return to a progam of old: Grow Our Own. Grow our own teachers from the students at our schools.
Teaching is a wonderful profession that offers a wide variety of options, from elementary school to high school, from the arts to the sciences to athletics. By promoting teaching as a profession to those aleady in our schools, the district can develop the future of our schools.
Grow Our Own would create a pipeline of homegrown instructors who not only know the area, but more importantly, they would know the people. With more than 80 different languages spoken in Salem-Keizer schools, imagine how a future elementary school student can blossom if their teacher also speaks Farsi or Urdu or Russian.
Contemporary teachers and administrators can identify those who lean toward teaching and those with the aptitude for it, then offer those students the pathway to the degrees and certificates to a success in the education field.
Grow Our Our can result in a more diverse teaching staff. The program should not negate the opportunity for people from outside the region to apply for open positions. Diversity of educators is more than ethnicity—it is a diversity of geographical backgrounds and experiences. We can hire from outside, as always, but put an added focus on creating future teachers from people we know—today’s students.
To make it viable, such a program needs dedicated and committed stewards—administrators who recognize the value of both diversity and familiarity.
A program should be designed to entice possible candidates to consider teaching as career, such as promises fo financial help with education—Grow Our Own scholarships, perhaps, and a promise of where they would be assigned.
We have the best resource for future teachers sitting in our classrooms. Let’s help some of them grow into teachers of tomorrow. —LAZ