The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Program at Iowa City schools aims to address teaching shortage

Educators Rising, a program in the Iowa City Community School District, is beginning its second year guiding skilled students who show an interest in teaching in the field.
Emily Nyberg
Carmen Gwenigale-Ogoli poses for a portrait on Friday, Aug. 25, 2023. Gwenigale-Ogoli is the current Director of Curriculum and Instruction at Iowa City Community School District. She is also the Director of Educators Rising, a curriculum for students to explore teaching as a profession.

A program in the Iowa City Community School District is continuing to guide K-12 students who show an interest in teaching.

The program, Educators Rising, aims to partially solve the national teacher shortage and inspire a new generation of teachers by helping students determine what kind of educator they want to be.

The program comes at a time when the U.S. faces a teacher shortage in schools, with the Iowa Department of Education seeing teacher shortages across the state in over 20 school subjects.

In the U.S., researchers from the Annenberg Institute at Brown University estimated that the amount of vacant teacher positions in the U.S. is over 36,500. Even further, there are over 163,500 teachers in positions that they are not fully qualified to teach.

Students in the program visit colleges at universities in Iowa and receive hands-on teaching experience. In its second year, the program will have 359 students from five different schools in Iowa City.

During the year, students in the program are assigned a teacher who integrates the program’s curriculum during the school day to create an equitable space for students who may not have transportation to or from school.

Michelle Curry, a teacher involved in the program at Elizabeth Tate High School, decided to join Educators Rising after becoming a teacher herself at 38.

“I want to make sure that other people have the opportunity and the chance to be a part of this program. They get to try it on without making the commitment of making a huge life change,” Curry said.

The program’s director is Carmen Gwenigale, who has been in education for 21 years as a Spanish teacher and is now the director of curriculum, assessment, and instruction for Iowa City schools. She said she aims to ignite the same passion she has for teaching and making a difference in education in these high schoolers.

“It’s about teaching kids to see what education looks like in our world right now, and how they can be that voice for change,” Gwenigale said.

School board member Maka Pilcher Hayek said at the Aug. 28 school board meeting that the program is going to make a difference in the district.

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Board member J.P. Claussen said the program’s approach can combat the negative stereotypes that have come to surround a career in teaching.

“A lot of times, we don’t promote ourselves very well or our career, and I think this is an example of how you do that in a robust way,” Claussen said.

In the past school year alone, the state of Iowa had a shortage of teachers in positions such as science, English, art, world languages, physical education, and gifted or impaired education.

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About the Contributors
Julia Rhodes, Reporter
Julia Rhodes is a first year student at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism and Mass Communications and minoring in Dance. She loves writing as well as presenting that work on screen and is hoping to be equally a Daily Iowan reporter as well as a DITV reporter. She enjoys writing about all topics from crime and politics to arts and public health.
Emily Nyberg
Emily Nyberg, Visual Editor
Emily Nyberg is a second-year student at the University of Iowa double majoring in Journalism and Cinematic arts. Prior to her role as a Visual Editor, Emily was a Photojournalist, and a News Reporter covering higher education.