ENID, Okla. — Northwestern Oklahoma State University-Enid and Northern Oklahoma College Enid are working with Enid Public Schools to develop programs to address the teacher shortage in Northwest Oklahoma.

EPS Superintendent Darrell Floyd wanted to encourage his paraprofessionals and teacher assistants to become certified teachers if that’s what they wanted.

“We are struggling to find teachers, and we need to build our teacher pipeline,” he said.

Floyd contacted officials with NWOSU-Enid and NOC Enid, and the three entities now are working together on a Para to Degree program. This program will help students finish their associate’s and/or bachelor’s degree to help EPS and other area schools with training more teachers.

“Northwest Oklahoma is in need of well-trained educators,” said Jen Oswald, chair of education at NWOSU. “Together with NOC, NWOSU is committed to being part of the solution.”

Tiffany Meacham, NOC Enid academic adviser for elementary education, said the program will work with students’ needs.

“The partnership we have developed will allow us to work closely together to create an individualized plan that will best fit each paraprofessional’s needs to complete their degree,” she said.

This new program is the second NWOSU and NOC have instituted to address the teacher shortage.

Earlier this fall, NWOSU and NOC announced a fast-track course of study for completion of an elementary education degree developed for students at these two institutions. This program will allow Enid campus students to earn an associate’s degree and a bachelor’s degree in three and a half years, enabling them to be in the classroom and teaching more quickly than they could through traditional programs.

“As Oklahoma is facing a teacher shortage, this program allows students to obtain their degrees faster while still receiving the same great quality education for which Northern and Northwestern are known,” Meacham said.

A meeting with additional information about the programs will be 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 7, 2022, at NWOSU Enid, 2929 E. Randolph.

The meeting will have more information regarding all options to complete a degree — fast track, full-time, part-time with a mix of traditional, hybrid or online course options. Advisers will work to create individual plans for students. Financial aid and scholarship information, including the Inspired to Teach initiative, also will be discussed.

Article by: Suzie Byrd, Enid News & Eagle 10.30.22