Mark Laurie, superintendent, Niagara Falls Public Schools, the Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., president of Niagara University, and Dr. Michael LaFever, superintendent of Schools, Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, signed partnership agreements May 23 that will better allow these districts to fill current shortages in substitute teaching and teaching associate positions in conjunction with Niagara’s new “One Year to a Teaching Career” program.

Niagara University’s highly accredited College of Education is addressing the impending teacher shortage in Western New York by adapting long-standing, teacher education programs so that those interested in transitioning to teaching can do so quickly and affordably.   

“The ‘One Year to a Teaching Career’ program and the demand for teachers make this a great time for anyone who has ever thought about changing their career to become a teacher,” said Dr. Chandra Foote, dean of the university’s College of Education. “Our programs have a legacy of preparing the highest quality teachers, and students in this program will learn from dedicated and highly experienced faculty who lead the way in their teaching, research, and service in their profession.”

The college’s “One Year to a Teaching Career” program is open to individuals with a bachelor’s degree in virtually any field, and can be completed in as little as three semesters. The program leads to New York state teacher certification at the elementary (grades preK-6) or secondary (grades 5-12) levels in English language arts, math, biology, chemistry, French, Spanish, social studies, or business and marketing.

Flexible scheduling allows students to attend class in the late afternoon and evening, and even take some courses online. Candidates in the program can also earn money while they complete paid field experiences in local partner schools.

On May 23, Niagara University signed partnership agreements with the Niagara Falls School District and the Catholic schools of the Diocese of Buffalo. The university also has an agreement with the West Seneca Central School District, and is finalizing an agreement with the City of Buffalo School District. These partnerships will better allow these districts to fill current shortages in substitute teaching and teaching associate positions.  Niagara University is continuing to work with school districts across the region to finalize additional partnerships to address the teacher shortage.

The incoming cohort for the “One Year” program will begin classes this summer and will complete the program in time for the university’s commencement exercises in May 2020.


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