OCCC launches new ‘grow your own’ teaching degree program

College, School District, Western Oregon UniversityTeacher
join forces to help more local students
earn teaching degrees

Visit the program web page

To teach is to help build a better community for future generations. For too many local students, though, the cost of the four-year degree necessary to become a teacher is too great, despite the attractive wages and benefits packages available in the profession.

Now, students who aspire to become elementary/middle school teachers right here at home in Lincoln County have a new pathway to follow to achieve their dream.

Thanks to a grant from the Meyer Memorial Trust, and through partnerships with the Lincoln County School District, Western Oregon University, and Tillamook Bay Community College, Oregon Coast Community College is launching a new elementary/middle school teacher education program this fall. The announcement follows the revelation last spring that the Fall 2018 would also see the launch of OCCC’s first Early Childhood Education degree and certificate programs.

“Ever since I came to Oregon Coast Community College four years ago,” said Birgitte Ryslinge, President of OCCC, “I’ve heard from county residents, employers, and agencies asking for better, more affordable, and more accessible teaching and early childhood education degrees and certificates. I’m so pleased that, after a great deal of work, we’re able to announce the launch of this program.”


Earn a teaching degree

The new program is designed to help Lincoln County “grow its own” teachers, by supporting local students as they work towards their teaching degrees and assisting them in student-teaching and eventual full-time job placement here in Lincoln County. The goal is to help the school district recruit and retain teachers who are familiar with and grounded in Lincoln County and, through targeted outreach to underrepresented populations, help increase the diversity of teachers in K-12 classrooms to better reflect the demographics of the student population.

“Through this program, students will be able to earn the first two years of a Western Oregon University bachelor’s degree in education, by earning an Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer Degree (AAOT) here at OCCC,” said Dan Lara, OCCC’s Dean of Academics and Workforce.

In the third year of the program, students will transition to Western Oregon, where they will study for an academic year.  In the fourth and final year of the program, students achieving minimum performance standards will be placed into student-teaching positions by the Lincoln County School District.  Upon graduation and certification by the state, program participants will receive preferential consideration for open teaching positions in the school district.

“By saving on tuition and housing by earning the first two years of this degree via the AAOT, and with the ability to commute to classes offered in Monmouth at WOU, this program slashes the costs one would traditionally expect for a degree like this,” Lara said, adding that some Lincoln County students may be able to arrange schedules so that they can continue living and working at home while commuting to courses at WOU.

“And,” he continued, “the automatic placement into student teaching positions in the fourth year of the program means this could be the quickest way for local residents to launch a brand new, immensely rewarding, and financially lucrative career. We’re thankful to the Meyer Memorial Trust for their support in delivering this innovative new option for local students.”

The Rural Teacher Education Pathway is available for high school graduates of all ages. Additionally, Juniors and Seniors in Lincoln County high schools can enroll via dual credit in core courses, further accelerating the program. Students interested in secondary education certifications should speak with their OCCC and WOU advisors.

The Meyer Memorial Trust grant also funded the two-year Early Childhood Education degree and one-year certificate programs that will launch in the Winter 2019 term. Both are designed to provide new career opportunities to county residents, while also raising the quality and availability of child care services throughout the county.

Registration is now open for these programs. To learn more, contact Ben Kaufmann, OCCC’s Navigate Program Coordinator. Visit the Teacher Education Pathway website, here, for complete details.