At San Jacinto Elementary school, mentoring is important for new teacher preparation. Principal Pam Walker is enthusiastic about the Tech Teach Across Texas 2+1 Fast track Program which combines preparation and class time with mentor teachers at Ector County Independent School District.

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The program is the result of collaboration between ECISD, Odessa College, and Texas Tech University.  Coordinator Cinthia Salinas says that currently there are nine teacher candidates.

The two in the name refers to students needing to earn an associate degree in teaching from Odessa College.  The plus 1 is a year of intensive training and classes, at the end of which students receive a bachelor’s degree and are certified to teach early childhood through sixth grade.  They can choose from various certifications such as bilingual education, special education, general education, or English as a second language.

The district wants to grow its own teachers, having faced teacher shortages in the current year and in the past few years.

Three of the teachers who graduated in August are not working in San Jacinto, according to Salinas.

“As part of this program, they have to be placed in lower grade level one semester and an upper grade level the second semester — lower grade level meaning kinder through second and upper grade level grade (meaning) three through five,” Salinas said.

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