Heritage University is expanding a teacher-training program that gives students up to two years in on-the-job training.

Share story

Heritage University is expanding its innovative teacher preparation program into the Tri-Cities area.

The program trains students to become teachers by putting them to work in elementary- and middle-school classrooms for 1½ to 2 years of their undergraduate education. The student-teachers work in teams, with help from a faculty expert, and “they come out looking like teachers who already have several years of experience,” said Joanie Monroy, chair of teacher preparation programs for Heritage.

The program has been offered through Educational Service District 105 in Yakima and the Richland School District, and this fall it will expand into the Tri-Cities through Educational Service District 123. (Educational Service Districts are regional entities that serve school districts in their regions.)

So far, nearly 400 student-teachers have completed the program since it started five years ago, Monroy said. Some of those students have been community college transfer students, and others completed the first two years of their bachelor’s degrees at Heritage.

Most Read Stories

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks

The program has recently added classes so that student-teachers can be endorsed to teach special education. It also offers a bilingual education endorsement, Monroy said.

Heritage, a private nonprofit college with an undergraduate enrollment of nearly 900 students, is located in the Yakama Nation reservation and has one of the most diverse student bodies of any four-year college in the state. More than half of its students are Hispanic/Latino.