Teacher Assistant Program (TAP)

A Proposed Teacher Assistant Program (TAP) for Lee County Public Schools
June 2024 by William Bronson MA, MTS, DMin
Executive Summary

Due to staffing challenges in the public schools, there is a need for an innovative approach to meeting these challenges.

The Teacher Assistant Program (TAP) that follows is based on a small and brief pilot project partially implemented at The Success Academy in Fort Myers last year (2022 – 2023) by Enlighten Education Co-op, a 501c3. Participants included Oswaldo Russian, Chris Ruhnke, Margaret Morris and others. The program was intended to be provided free to the District but for various reasons had to be discontinued due to a shortfall in funding.

The vision was to access a rich pool of educational talent consisting of retired teachers and veterans in our area. It was determined that this talent pool could be activated by offering part time employment at $20- $25 per hour to retirees who would bring their experience and assistance to the aid of full-time teachers who requested such assistance.

In fact, current teachers would be encouraged to assist in the recruitment of their assistants by reaching out to their senior friends, neighbors, and relatives who would be interested in participating.

Currently the District has a volunteer program that could be expanded to include this new category of modestly paid staff of part time seniors who would fit in the space between the current paraprofessionals and regular teachers. They would be designated as TAs (teacher assistants senior) whose credentials would justify a $25/hr compensation. Another category would be TAj (teacher assistant junior) who might be younger persons who are contemplating or studying for a career in education. Finally, TAv would be drawn from retired or disabled veterans. Their targeted compensation would be about $20/hr. All TA would not receive the normal employment benefits considering that seniors may already have pensions and Medicare, etc.

This program would be a WIN, WIN, WIN. The students would receive more individual care. The teachers would receive much needed support. And the seniors would have a place to use their hard earned skills without the stress of full time employment.

For more information contact William Bronson at 239 940 6080 or willbronson7@gmail.com

Or visit our website at www.EnlightenEducationCo-op.org

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