NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Three seniors in Stephen F. Austin State University’s James I. Perkins College of Education were selected for a new paid clinical teaching/internship program launched this spring by Brazosport Independent School District. Only 10 students from multiple colleges were chosen for the program.
Noelle Benavides and Kristen Truitt of Pearland and Ashali Carter of Houston underwent a thorough application and interview process for the paid clinical teaching positions at BISD.
“This approach not only allowed the district to get to know each candidate during the selection process but also enabled the candidates to embark on a real-life hiring experience with a school district,” said Andrea Dickson, talent acquisition coordinator at BISD. “Our candidates from SFA were selected due to their sense of preparedness, dedication and passion for working with children, and overall knowledge of best teaching practices.”
Benavides, Truitt and Carter started their clinical teaching at BISD schools at the beginning of the spring semester. Students obtaining teaching degrees from SFA are required to complete 15 weeks of full-time clinical teaching in a public school classroom.
“Our clinical teachers from SFA have had a successful start to their semester,” Dickson said. “Brazosport ISD is invested in their success and will continue to help them thrive.”
Benavides and Truitt, who were placed at Rasco Middle School in Lake Jackson, are pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies with an early childhood through grade 6 concentration.
“From the beginning, all of the BISD employees have been welcoming and supportive of our career paths,” Benavides said.
“Even before I came to campus, my mentor teacher was so welcoming, and the staff who assisted me through the process of becoming a clinical teacher at BISD were so nice,” Truitt said. “I’ve had every opportunity to learn and succeed thanks to my mentor teacher and all the other teachers on the team and the department. They’ve been great examples for me.”
Carter, who was placed at Bess Brannen Elementary School in Clute, also is working on a BSIS with an EC-6 concentration. She’s been teaching since an early age; as a little girl, she held school for her dolls.
“I can be having a bad day, and the kids turn things around for me,” Carter said. “And the faculty are so flexible. They are open to letting me see how they’re running their classes.”
Carter is grateful for the paid clinical teaching position she earned.
“I couldn’t imagine being able to do this any other way,” she said. “I spend a lot of money on gas to get here, so the paid position really helps.”
Benavides drives to Lake Jackson from Pearland every day.
“It is definitely a bonus that we are getting paid,” she said. “I believe that clinical teachers should get paid, and this partnership will help inspire other school districts to do the same.”
Truitt emphasized that clinical teaching is a full-time job.
“It’s really helpful to get paid for this,” she said. “That allows me to truly focus on school and my clinical teaching in order to give my students my all.”
In addition to a paycheck, support from both the campus and district levels, and multiple opportunities for feedback and growth, clinical teachers in this program receive access to employee discounts and benefits. And they are eligible for reduced rental rates through BISD’s preferred employee partnership with East Bank Apartments at Richwood Village.
Their positive BISD experiences with both the students and faculty members have led all three clinical teachers to consider possible employment with the district.
“The environment at Bess Brannen is so welcoming,” Carter said.
Benavides and Truitt are enjoying their time at Rasco as well.
“I absolutely love everyone at Rasco,” Benavides said. “I am extremely grateful I have great cooperating teachers to guide me through this journey.”
“Rasco has a fantastic atmosphere and is highly focused on the success of the student,” Truitt said.
“BISD is working hard to become a destination district for clinical teachers,” Dickson said. “We believe nurturing and developing future educators is both our greatest responsibility and honor. Following a clinical teacher’s successful internship, it is the district’s goal to retain and hire eligible candidates for vacancies.” Keeping homegrown talent in Texas also is a goal of SFA.
“These types of programs help attract teaching talent to Texas schools,” said Dr. Christina Sinclair, associate dean of the Perkins College of Education. “SFA is happy to work with districts like Brazosport on finding and developing talented applicants for these programs.”
To help BISD junior and senior high school students interested in becoming teachers explore their college options, SFA held information sessions for them on its education degree paths and BISD’s new paid clinical teaching opportunity.
To learn more about the program, email Dickson at firstname.lastname@example.org.