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WE Expect Excellence: Teach for Beaverton Program

Students learn better when they have teachers with whom they can identify and who are prepared to meet their learning needs on their very first day in the classroom. This is the vision behind Teach for Beaverton, a program in partnership with Oregon State University. "It is an opportunity for us to invest in selecting and preparing candidates to work in Beaverton and for master teachers to play a critical role in the development of their profession," says BSD Chief Human Resource Officer Sue Robertson.

The program is a blended format, combining fully online courses, hybrid courses and practicum/internship requirements in Beaverton schools. Participants work side-by-side with experienced BSD teachers. "The program provides a powerful opportunity for future teachers. They will benefit from the expertise of OSU College of Education Faculty and the wisdom of practice from expert Beaverton School District teachers during two years of work in classrooms," says Matt Nyman, M.A.T program coordinator and instructor at OSU.

This year, six BSD teachers are working with eight graduate students. Next year, the District hopes to have 11-13 teachers working with approximately 24 graduate students. Several of those students will be in their 2nd year of the program.

Emily Reberry, a 5th grade teacher at Hazeldale Elementary School, says she chose to participate in Teach for Beaverton because it provided a different opportunity for leadership. "I've been teaching for 17 years. This is a great opportunity in that I have that mentoring role, without having to go and leave my building. I didn't want to leave, I just wanted to try something different.

Maydra Valencia is one of two student-teachers Emily is mentoring. Maydra, who works in OSU's Juntos Program, always wanted to be a teacher. She chose to be a part of Teach for Beaverton because of the hands-on nature of the program. "I love coming into the classroom and working with the kids, having someone there by my side, helping me improve," says Maydra. The flexibility of the program is another plus. Maydra lives in Tillamook and commutes two days a week to work at Hazeldale. The program allows her to keep living in Tillamook and keep her job with the Juntos Program. "The Teach for Beaverton coordinators made it very accessible for me," says Maydra.

Emily says the extra support has made a big difference in the classroom. "It's amazing. We do centers for math almost every day. We are able to work in smaller groups. The student focus and engagement in the lessons has improved," says Emily.

Maydra says she's grown a lot, thanks to the structure of the program. "It's so one on one. I am actually applying everything I am learning every day to my students."