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Unique Teacher Training Program Shows Promise

Sep 6, 2007 | Campus News, School of Education

Henderson, Nev. In January 2007, Nevada State College (NSC) and the Clark County School District (CCSD) partnered to create the Multilingual Individuals Training to Become Teachers (MITT) program.
The program, which targets professionals with four-year degrees from other countries and for whom English is a second language, provides intensive English immersion training coupled with teacher education coursework leading to a Nevada teaching license.
NSC and CCSD developed the program as a response to two major challenges Clark County currently faces within its K-12 education system: a chronic shortage of qualified, motivated teachers, and a critical demand for bilingual, bicultural teachers who can communicate with a large and growing number of English Language Learners, especially Spanish-speakers.
We have already started to observe the commitment and dedication to the MITT program among the first group, said Dr. Lori Navarrete, who serves as associate dean for NSC’s School of Education. The requirements are rigorous. They include daily, online English language development instruction as well as college coursework in language and literacy development and pedagogy. Teaching-related content is embedded in the curriculum. Through various activities students regularly share experiences about their own schooling in other countries. The dialog often expands to global issues in education, school reform, and equity in education. These future teachers will be able to connect with students in a unique way given their own experiences as culturally and linguistically diverse educators.
Since MITT’s inception, 23 participants have enrolled in the program forming the first cohort with degrees and achievements in a variety of fields, including business, accounting, K-12 and higher education, law, human resources, engineering and speech therapy. The future teachers came to Clark County from Argentina, Cuba, Egypt, El Salvador, Iran, Mexico, Peru, the Philippines, Romania and Vietnam. The participants are serving as NSC and CCSD’s pilot group for the program.
We want to ensure that the curriculum is effective for facilitating the development of English skills as well as providing new teachers the foundation they need to be successful in the classroom, Navarrete said. As MITT matures, we will incorporate lessons learned for future classes, sharpening its focus and increasing students’ opportunities for success.
Participants will complete licensure courses in an alternate route to licensure program in either K-5 Elementary/TESL, K-12 Special Education, 7-12 Secondary Math or 7-12 Secondary Science. The first cohort has until December this year to complete the language proficiency component of the program. Once completed, participants will be placed in a classroom with a mentor teacher and begin licensure coursework.
NSC and CCSD are working to serve these students and build a stronger education system for Southern Nevada through the MITT program, Navarette said. We’re already seeing great progress with the program so far, which is very encouraging as their education will have an overall positive impact on our entire community.
Nevada State College opened its doors to students in September 2002 after the Nevada Board of Regents and Nevada State Legislature determined the need for enhanced educational opportunities in Southern Nevada in 1997. The college currently enrolls 1,950 students.
NSC’s main campus is located on over 500 acres in the foothills of Henderson and provides progressive bachelors programs in several in-demand fields of study. Nevada State College offers a low student-to-professor ratio and competitive tuition rates.
For more information about the MITT program, contact Dr. Lori Navarrete, Associate Dean of the NSC, School of Education at 702-992-2519.