High School teacher helping a student working on her laptop.
Credit: Getty Images

More than three dozen Spring ISD students are part of a new district partnership that will offer them the opportunity to graduate high school with an Associate of Arts in Teaching – at no cost to them and with guaranteed employment with the district.

The brand new Spring ISD Teachers College Academy – a partnership between the district, Lone Star College-Houston North, and Fallbrook Church – launched recently at the LSC campus at Fallbrook, with freshman students from Dekaney, Spring and Westfield high schools on hand to sign the inaugural class dedication.

The new program is one that Superintendent Dr. Lupita Hinojosa believes is vital to the success of not only the district but the community at large.

“The power of a good teacher to positively impact a student’s life is beyond measure,” Hinojosa said. “Our world will face challenges in the future. Teachers will be in an ideal place to help develop in students the exact kind of ingenuity, compassion, and creativity our world needs to see us all through to a future that we cannot yet fully imagine.”

The four-year program is available to students as a career pathway, which is selected by students in the 8th grade to follow throughout their high school career.

The Education-Teaching and Training career pathway allows students to graduate high school with an Associate of Arts in Teaching with Lone Star College-Houston North, as well as a high school diploma with a Public Service Endorsement. Graduates from the program will also have guaranteed student teaching opportunities while in college, tuition assistance or reimbursement at a four-year institution, preferred acceptance at partner colleges and universities, and an Educational Aide I certificate through the Texas Education Agency.

All of that comes with absolutely no cost to students, and includes courses and books. Officials with the Career and Technical Education Department at Spring ISD estimate this to be a savings of more than $16,000 per student.

For Spring High School freshman Darryl Nolan, the opportunity to become a teacher – and male role model for future students – is exciting. He wants to be a 7th grade math teacher, a subject and year he particularly enjoyed himself.

“I feel like we need more male teachers,” Nolan said. “It would have meant a lot to me (to have that as a kid). I feel like I would have understood a lot more things. I would have had somebody to talk to, when I had nobody else. That’s what I would like to be.”

For Lone Star College-Houston North, this partnership with Spring ISD was an easy decision to make, one that aligns itself with the mission of Lone Star College and its goals for students.

“The partnership between Lone Star College, Spring ISD, and Fallbrook Church is incredible,” Michael Stoma, Lone Star College Board Chair, said. “It’s just the pinnacle of what education should be.”

This new program addresses the current shortage of classroom teachers throughout Texas and the nation, as well as seeks to provide quality teachers for years to come. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there will be additional increases in the number of teachers needed – due to continued population growth – in Texas over the next decade.

The three dozen students a part of this inaugural class are already setting themselves up for successful careers, and making a major impact on their surrounding communities. It’s a fact not lost on Lone Star College-Houston North President Dr. Quentin Wright.

“You are choosing to invest in yourself. You’re going into a great career, and you’re gonna have a great future. But you’re also doing this for others. It may be siblings, it may be others in your class, it may be neighbors. But you’re setting an example,” Wright said. “You’re already changing lives before you’ve even started your career.”