Lakeland, Sheboygan Schools partner to address special education teacher shortage
As Wisconsin school districts scramble to hire special education teachers, the Sheboygan Area School District and Lakeland University have signed a unique new partnership to address the challenge locally while benefitting LU education students.
Lakeland students who successfully complete the special education program, including student teaching, will be guaranteed a job in the Sheboygan Area School District after graduation.
“We are excited that SASD is willing to offer our graduates a guarantee of employment, as long as the student meets the terms of the agreement,” said Lakeland Professor of Education John Yang. “The agreement further corroborates the quality of students that our education program produces, and the strong partnership that Lakeland has with SASD.”
Jami Hintz, SASD assistant superintendent of human resources, said the partnership is especially timely as the district’s special education needs continue to rise.
“This partnership is immensely important to be prepared to best serve the children of our community,” she said.
A goal of the Sheboygan Area School District Long Range Plan is recruiting and retaining exceptional staff.
“This new partnership with Lakeland supports that goal by providing a seamless transition to full-time employment for special education student teachers,” Hintz said. “It’s a great opportunity for the District to retain student teachers who have already built successful relationships in our classrooms.
“This agreement will make the Sheboygan Area School District a desirable location for Lakeland students searching for a special education student teaching placement and help the District fill much-needed positions with candidates who have already demonstrated quality teaching.”
The partnership further underscores the importance of the strong relationship between SASD and Lakeland.
“We recognize the importance of providing a welcoming and supportive environment for students entering the field of education,” she said. “Our cooperating teachers truly share their time, talent, and heart for education to help guide new student teachers. Through collaborative efforts such as this, we all win.”
This is the latest agreement between the two education entities.
Earlier this year, SASD and Lakeland signed an innovative agreement that expands access to free college-level coursework to eligible SASD students and teachers.
SASD students can graduate simultaneously with a high school diploma and a Lakeland Associate of Arts (A.A.) or Associate of Science (A.S.) degree, making them eligible to transfer to Lakeland – as well as other universities – as a junior.
SASD students have free access to Lakeland Concurrent Academic Progress Program (CAPP) courses, which provide high school and college credits simultaneously.
SASD teachers have access to free Lakeland credits as part of the agreement. SASD teachers can take up to 15 credits of coursework through Lakeland’s Teacher Development Institute, which helps teachers access professional development and complete coursework toward a master of education degree.
Lakeland will also provide access for up to five teachers to all coursework leading to a master of education with an education policy and pedagogy concentration. Teachers can tailor the program’s tutorial courses to address issues and topics specific to the SASD’s teaching and learning environment.