Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Teacher Prep Students to Benefit from New Collaboration

Earnest Palomino is an engineer who wanted to become a teacher. A move to Arizona and a distressed economy were the catalyst for him to enroll in Rio Salado College’s post baccalaureate teacher preparation program. Two years later Palomino will see his goal become a reality when he teaches math to students at Dysart High School this fall.

“The way Rio structures the program really prepares you for the next step. You begin with core classes, next practicums and then student teaching,” Palomino said. “They also go beyond academics and teach practical things like, control of the classroom.”

For more than a decade Rio Salado College has been a leading provider of teacher preparation in Arizona and has helped students with bachelor’s degrees prepare for certification. Recently the college joined together with the New York Times Knowledge Network to provide a premier post-baccalaureate teacher preparation program. The program will provide students with additional resources and nationwide networking opportunities.

“This collaboration brings together Rio’s proven Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Preparation Program and experienced faculty with the support of the Knowledge Network’s eLearning platform and student access to The New York Times’ content repository,” said Janet Johnson, faculty chair of education for Rio Salado College. “This is an added value to for our students.”

“I think it would be very helpful to have the back logs of The New York Times articles,” Palomino said. “Especially to see what’s current in math and science.”

Students will also benefit with opportunities to share experiences and network with other students from across the nation via blogs, wikis, forums, chats and private student groups.

“One of the things about teaching is that good teachers are always needed everywhere. It will be an advantage to be able to network with students from all over and find out where the openings are,” Palomino said.

According to the U.S. Department Bureau of Labor Statistics, prospects for careers in teaching are expected to grow nearly 12 percent over the next five to six years. The online program, combined with 48 start dates throughout the year, provide flexibility for re-careering adults.

Gary Light was semi-retired when he enrolled in and completed Rio’s teacher preparation special education program. This fall he joins the Scottsdale School District as a certified teacher.

“Although you never see them you feel like you know your professors,” Light said. “They are always online and always email you. You receive a lot of individual attention that you wouldn’t get from other schools. If there are any questions or problems, they listen to you.”

The new collaborative program will be available in August for students seeking certification in elementary, secondary and special education. The program can take from 18 to 24 months to complete, depending upon the pace of the student. Recruitment outreach will be piloted in Arizona with plans to expand to the national market.
“I would encourage people who think they are finished with work, to take a second look at this program, because being associated with young people keeps you keyed in to what going on in the world,” Light said.

The Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Preparation Program is approved by the Arizona State Board of Education and certification is accepted in many states nationwide. Admittance to the program and state certification are based on state-by-state requirements. It is the responsibility of the student to verify those requirements. More information about the program can be found at

Media Contact:
Delynn Bodine, PR Manager