The Wyoming legislature's Joint Education Committee received an update Tuesday from the University of Wyoming concerning efforts to better prepare teachers for the state's classrooms.
Ray Reutzel, Dean of UW's College of Education, highlighted a new initiative to encourage students to explore the possibility of a teaching career as early as high school through job shadowing and summer programs. Reutzel said this offers students a chance to get a taste of the work before committing fully.
"We have far too many students who are coming into education who have not invested enough to know if they really want to be a career teacher," said Reutzel. "We want to make this an opportunity for them to explore that prior to applying so they make a good career choice."
Reutzel said UW also plans to respond to a demand for special education teachers across the state by offering an undergraduate major in special education.
"We have heard that we do not produce enough special education teachers in the state of Wyoming, and we are proud to announce that beginning this fall we will begin a new undergraduate special education K-12 major concurrent with the elementary education major."
Reutzel said he's also heard feedback from districts that UW graduates lack the skills needed to use data to assess and respond to the needs of struggling students. That's something the College of Education is working to guarantee education students are prepared to do once they enter the classroom as teachers.