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Navigating The First Year - CenterPoint Energy New Teacher Academy Update

The shortage of qualified teachers is still one of the top education topics of 2022.  Specifically for Texas, it’s been reported that while the state employed a high of about 376,000 teachers in the 2021-22 school year, about 12% left the profession that same year. That’s up two percentage points from the previous year. In addition, more than 8,500 teachers retired in 2021, about 1,000 more than in 2020. 

To address these challenges and better prepare STEM teachers for the classroom, the CenterPoint Energy Foundation awarded the National Math and Science Initiative and the University of Houston a $100,000 grant to launch the CenterPoint Energy New Teacher Academy. 

During this inaugural year of the academy, a mix of pre-service teachers and recent graduates are taking part in NMSI’s Laying the Foundation (LTF) training. The program provides educators with the resources to authentically implement curriculum and develop advanced levels of thinking and learning for their students. After completing preparation courses during the summer, the teachers are now working with students in grades 6-12 at sixteen school districts in and around the Houston, Texas metro area.  

Throughout the school year, field supervisors from the University visit the teachers to see their classrooms. There’s also a blend of in-person and virtual networking opportunities available so that teachers can share their experiences and get support when they need it most. Recently, the teachers returned to the University for brunch in October 2022. 

NMSI recognizes the needs of early career teachers are incredibly diverse.  “Some of the [teachers] seem to feel like [the training] was very beneficial,” and they are well on their way to success shared Amanda Campos, New Teacher Induction Coordinator with University of Houston. “Then, we have some who attended that still need that little extra support to help implement what they learned.”   When asked if there were any common issues the teachers wanted more support on, Campos replied, “The hot topics or demands were for strategies to connect with special student population groups and how to motivate the unmotivated.” 

This is why NMSI, together with the University of Houston, extends their support efforts throughout the school year - supplying resources, curriculum, best practices and people to help navigate their journey. Esmerelda Vega, an Academy participant who originally waited a few months after she graduated to start teaching, shared, “I was feeling lost when I started this process, but the Academy has given me valuable tools and it's only made me more excited about my first year.”  

NMSI is launching the New Teacher Academy in other communities including in 2023 in Atlanta. To find out how to support those efforts or bring a New Teacher Academy to your state, connect with us here