NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Stephen F. Austin State University’s James I. Perkins College of Education has partnered with Huntington Independent School District to staff three paid internships per semester.
Set to begin this fall, the internships, paid by HISD, will allow SFA students to benefit from paid positions as they finish their clinical teaching requirements while providing HISD with the strongest of the SFA teacher intern candidate pool.
“This partnership will show progress in the field of education by investing in future educators while they are completing their degree at SFA,” said Michelle Miller, SFA clinical experience coordinator. “This also will show Huntington and surrounding communities that HISD is going above and beyond to recruit highly qualified educators to the district.”
The proliferation of alternative certification programs, combined with documented teacher shortages, compelled HISD to explore this new way of recruiting teacher candidates from traditional programs like SFA’s. Research, according to SFA, is clear that students graduating from traditional teacher programs have a higher success rate than those coming from alternative certification programs.
“We want the best teachers in classrooms with HISD students, and we are excited about doing whatever it takes to get exceptional SFA teacher candidates interested in serving here,” said Walter Peddy, HISD assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction.
The fall cohort begins Aug. 1. While the partnership does not include automatic employment in the district after the internship ends, coordinators hope it will spark an interest for students to remain working in East Texas school districts after they graduate.
The paid internship program represents a new phase in a longstanding relationship between the university and HISD — one SFA hopes to replicate with other East Texas school districts.
“This partnership will hopefully be the tipping-off point of what clinical teaching will develop into for all our partner districts,” Miller said. “This will be the first in the area, and we are hoping more districts see how beneficial this is and follow Huntington ISD’s lead.”