- East Chapel Hill High School
FOCUSED on TA 2 Teach
TA 2 Teach is a “hidden gem” of a program that received a spotlight in our October 27 FOCUSED Friday Feature, when Superintendent Dr. Nyah Hamlett visited TA 2 Teach participant, Madeleine Salazar, in her third grade classroom at Rashkis Elementary School (RES).
TA 2 Teach is an innovative and successful recruitment and retention program at Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, in partnership with North Carolina Central University (NCCU). TA 2 Teach provides financial and relational support for teacher assistants who are already employed by CHCCS; they participate in a two-year licensure program and then serve in their own classrooms, as novice teachers but often long-time staff members in the district. Currently there are 21 TAs enrolled in the program, with a cohort of 12 scheduled to graduate in May 2024.
Mark Bailey, coordinator of recruitment and employee engagement, said, “The best thing you can do is help grow from within. What we believe is that our teacher assistants are set up to be extremely effective first year teachers. They know our kids, they know our schools and they know our system. It’s a huge win for our district.”
Salazar worked as a TA at Rashkis for six years before enrolling in the program. “It’s been something that I’ve wanted to do, and luckily with my administration pushing and encouraging me to apply for TA 2 Teach, I was able to finally go and take that leap into going back to school.”
Salazar noted, “It’s definitely a lot of juggling between being a new teacher and the school work, but it’s just been great all around– the school support and the university support have been incredible.”
TAs who are interested in Elementary or Exceptional Children licensure can apply to the program, as long as they have a principal recommendation, a bachelor’s degree in a non-education field or an associate’s degree or 60+ hours of college credit, with a 2.7 GPA or higher. The program pays $5,000, which covers participants’ full tuition and fees, and in return, the newly licensed teachers commit to completing their education within two years and working in the district for at least four years.
Bailey said the program is a major part of the district’s teacher recruitment and retention plan. “It really connects directly to the Strategic Plan in empowering, equipping and investing in our people.” He pointed out that EC teachers, in particular, are increasingly difficult to recruit and retain throughout the state. “With this program, we have an opportunity to identify and develop EC teachers within our district.”
Dr. Hamlett said in her FOCUSED message, “During a time where public education is underfunded and underappreciated, I am appreciative that so many of our employees are invested in ensuring CHCCS is the absolute best place to learn, work, live, and grow.”