Texas Association of Future Educators Competition

TAFE national winner

RISD had 22 students compete at the TAFE state competition, and six Pearce students have advanced to nationals: Carlen Cannon, Madelyn Steele, Bella Evans, Cambelle Hawkins, Madeleine Griggs, and Taryn Clasby.

Richardson High School seniors Casey Jennings and Emily Verriere won a gold medal with a perfect score in the Project Visualize – Leadership category. They created a project based on their leadership at RHS, their internships, and the Principles of Education classes they took in RISD. 

RISD students excelled across multiple categories with Carlen Cannon winning the differentiated lesson competition, as Zoe Kunovich and Grace Justice won a gold certificate in chapter yearbook and Nicole Salas and Hailey Hawthorne received a gold certificate for their work regarding an interactive bulletin board.

Layla Benhalim, Caroline Jeffrey, and Keira Usher finished in the top 5 in the professional development competition.

TAFE provides students an opportunity to connect with current educators and administrators and to attend workshops and conferences where they can learn about teaching strategies, classroom management, and other skills needed to be a successful educator. TAFE encourages students to deepen their teaching skills by offering over 30 competitive events in various areas of teaching.

“Long before the Texas Education Agency began offering Grow Your Own grant programs to assist districts in strengthening the teacher pipeline, RISD created our teaching internship program at all four high schools,” said Caitlin Zancana, Pearce CTE Teacher and Teaching Internship Coordinator. 

“This program gives juniors and seniors the ability to intern as an assistant to an elementary or junior high teacher three or four days each week. These future teachers gain first-hand experience working with students and gaining skills imperative to running a classroom. 

“In addition to interning in a traditional grade-level classroom, we’ve also had students intern with special education teachers, fine arts teachers, performing arts teachers, and PE teachers in order to tailor the experience to the student’s interest area. Upon graduation, students who have successfully completed the Teaching Internship program receive a letter of intent from RISD HR, stating that once they become a certified teacher, they are guaranteed a teaching position in RISD if all other district employment requirements are met,” Zancana said.

“Beginning with the 2023-24 school year, RISD will offer the Grow 2 Teach Academy, which presents incoming freshmen with an opportunity to graduate high school with an associate’s degree in Teaching through Dallas College, with no cost to the student.”

Congratulations to these future educators, their teachers and coaches! #RISDBelieves

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