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Amid Oklahoma Teacher Shortage, Tulsa Establishes Apprenticeship To Help Grow Its Own Talent

In just six months, the statewide teacher shortage has forced Oklahoma public schools to shatter their previous record of hiring underqualified individuals as classroom teachers.

But with no end to the shortage in sight, Tulsa Public Schools has a new plan for converting what some view as liabilities into assets.

With local school board approval, TPS created an apprentice program this fall for teaching applicants who aren’t yet fully qualified to teach the subject or grade level for which they are hired. Instead of working as substitutes for $65 per day, TPS offered its first-ever teacher apprentices a one-semester contract and a first-year salary of $25,000 with benefits.