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LSU Shreveport, Caddo Schools ink deal to create pipeline for new teachers

Kate Archer Kent

LSU Shreveport and Caddo Parish Schools have inked an agreement that will streamline the process to secure a teaching job in one of the district’s 62 schools.

The memorandum of understanding was signed Tuesday morning in front of an audience attending Shreve Island Elementary’s kindergarten graduation.

LSU Shreveport chancellor Larry Clark said education majors will get preferential hiring treatment in Caddo Schools and will be privy to district hiring trends so they can tailor their degree program early on and become highly employable upon graduation.

“Because of human resources and legal reasons, Caddo Parish cannon and is not willing to guarantee it [a job], but it’s close to it as what the students could ever have. If they do their job on their end, Caddo Parish is prepared to offer them a contract of teaching,” Clark said.

The district has dozens of vacancies and hires about 300 teachers each summer, according to Caddo Schools superintendent Lamar Goree.

He says the district is trying to stay ahead of a wave of retiring teachers. This, as a stagnant population base makes it more difficult to fill vacancies. He says the partnership with LSU Shreveport will help student teachers gain practical insights into their chosen profession.

“There’s a three to five year [period] where we actually lose a lot of new teachers. I think a lot that is because the practical world is so very different from what they learned in the classroom,” Goree said, following the signing ceremony. “Through this partnership we provide those practical opportunities that will make the teachers more aware or prepared for what they’ve gotten themselves into. That will make them more successful in the long run.”

The district told Red River Radio: of its 5,600 employees a quarter of them hold degrees from LSUS. Once this model is vetted, the district and LSUS want to replicate it with other universities and school districts, respectively, in coming years.

Chuck Smith brings more than 30 years' broadcast and media experience to Red River Radio. He began his career as a radio news reporter and transitioned to television journalism and newsmagazine production. Chuck studied mass communications at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and motion picture / television production at the University of California at Los Angeles. He has also taught writing for television at York Technical College in Rock Hill, South Carolina and video / film production at Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport.