LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - For years, the Las Cruces Public School District has suffered from a teacher shortage. Friday morning, the District, partnering with NMSU and the state, addressed that very issue in a news conference.
New Mexico State University is playing a big role in the major investment by the district into hiring and maintaining teachers. Many of the students who attend the university are from the Las Cruces area and plan on working in the district.
“New Mexico is 49th in education, so I think these are the kids who need it the most," Alex Andrabustillos, a current education student at NMSU, said. "I plan to stay."
With LCPS being in dire need or teachers, NMSU is a major partner in fighting the teacher shortage which is partially cause by the difficulty of the job.
“Research that shows many people leave the profession in the first 5 years,” Wendy Miller-Tomlinson, the LCPS associate superintendent, said.
She says one of the main reasons — a lack of mentorship and support for the teachers. So, the District is partnering with the State and NMSU to put a mentoring program into place.
"I’m most excited about is the mentorship because when you have people coming into the classroom, that turnover rate is extremely high and it’s usually due to a lack of support," Karen Trujillo, acting superintendent for LCPS said. "The investment the board is making for the mentorship piece, it’s crucial. And if we can have the funds to do that one-to-one mentorship, that’s going to make a huge difference and hopefully reduce that turnover."
And it's a program NMSU students are looking forward to.
“In a room with 30 kids and you’re the only adult…having people who have already done this before would really help me see like what they’ve done,” Andrea Triviz, who is studying education at NMSU, said.
The partnership is also addressing some cost and debt concerns of becoming a teacher.
“With this very important new partnership…we could potentially offer as many as 700 of our students additional financial aid that we were not able to offer them without this program,” Carol Parker, the NMSU provost, said.
“As a teacher, you’re always learning anyway, so it’s just good to have a full support system,” Andrabustillos said.
All partners in the initiative seeking to give aspiring teachers all the support they need.
Watch the entire announcement in the video player below...