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UA launches new program to support Southern Arizona teachers

1st Grad
Posted at 6:42 AM, Jul 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-03 10:04:11-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Danielle Swartz loves her job as a 1st grade teacher at Innovation Academy in Oro Valley.

"I love just watching them grow. They come in almost readers. They leave really being able to read and connect with the world. It's a pretty magical year of growth," said Swartz.

Swartz has taught in Tucson for eight years, but unfortunately, not all Arizona teachers choose to stay in the field.

"50% of teachers that start are in the field after three years. That's a big turnover," said Tucson Regional Educator Collaborative Director, Jen Kinser-Traut.

Kinser-Traut believes the high teacher turnover rate could change if educators had more support. To provide that, she, and others at the University of Arizona College of Education, created the Tucson Regional Educator Collaborative (TREC).

"The focus is to support professional learning opportunities for teachers that are meaningful and to increase teacher retention. We want to build a thriving teacher profession in the region," said Kinser-Traut.

This week, TREC launched a website that teachers can visit to find resources for continued learning.

"Teachers had to move hybrid, online, and now, they're coming back in-person. The situation for teachers is always changing and they need the support to adapt to that," said Kinser-Traut.

Swartz plans to be involved with TREC and said she is looking forward to, "connecting to more teachers, connecting to partners in the community and creating an educational environment that is best for Tucson's kids."

TREC is hosting a launch event on Friday, July 30 from 4-6 p.m in the Catalyst space at Tucson Mall. For more information, click here.