UC Scout: One answer to the teacher shortage

by Carol Kocivar | July 10, 2022 | 0 Comments
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Online goes mainstream

California schools have faced a persistent teacher shortage for years. The pandemic made it worse.

Shortages throughout California, from rural to urban classrooms, have led the state to declare a long list of high-need subject areas. Special education, mathematics, science, bilingual education, and career technical education have all been particularly affected. These shortages create ripple effects that make it extra challenging to put together a workable class schedule for all students — perhaps especially for those with college aspirations.

California's minimum requirements for high school graduation are not the same as the requirements for students to attend a college in the California State University (CSU) or University of California (UC) systems. To qualify for admission to a public four-year college, California students need their transcript to include at least the courses defined by the state's "a-g" requirements. To enable students to distinguish themselves as applicants, many high schools try to offer some of the courses that are aligned with the College Board's Advanced Placement (AP) system.

Not all schools have the staff and resources to do so. Few schools, if any, offer all of the course options available, and course scheduling realities further limit student access.

To address this problem, the University of California offers fully-accredited online courses through UC Scout, which has become an important, mainstream solution for high school course scheduling. A total of 65 courses are available for use by educators and students. All of them are approved by CSU and UC, including 26 AP courses approved by the College Board. These courses are aligned with the a-g requirements, plus computer science. In 2020-21, UC Scout supported more than 25,000 students and 800 teachers.

Free access for California public schools

In 2020-21, UC Scout supported over 25,000 students and 800 teachers

California public schools and educators can offer accredited UC Scout courses to their students free of charge by registering for the UC Scout Plus program. (There is a nominal fee for private and out-of-state schools.) The program includes complete online content that may be taught in person or used with a 100% online or hybrid model. Teachers receive access to high-quality video lectures, assignments, quizzes, tests, and teacher resources. UC Scout offers free monthly training webinars for Plus teachers. Webinar dates can be found on the dates page. Teachers using the Plus program can teach a course to one student or expand access to students across the district.

Short-staffed? Here's a solution.

If your school doesn't have an educator available to serve as a teacher of record using the Plus program, another option is to register through the UC Scout On Demand plan. Using this plan, UC Scout provides a California credentialed teacher for oversight, grading, and support. Upon completion, students receive an official transcript. There is a fee for this service. Scholarships are available for qualified students.

While the On Demand program is designed for students to enroll individually, schools can enroll a large cohort of students in a UC Scout course together as well.

How to learn more about UC Scout

Visit the UC Scout’s website, ucscout.org, to learn more about the program. Better yet, attend one of the upcoming General Information Webinars. If you have additional questions, contact Priscilla Marino, Outreach Coordinator, at ucscoutoutreach@ucsc.edu. Priscilla presented UC Scout at the Ed100 Academy for Student Leaders in 2021.

Priscilla Marino is the Outreach Coordinator for UC Scout. She began her own higher education in California's community college system, working full-time to support herself. After transferring to San Jose State University, she advanced to earn her Master’s degree in Communications Studies with an emphasis on education and at-risk youth. She has a passion for supporting underserved communities and ensuring that all students, regardless of background, are prepared for post-secondary education. She presented at the Ed100 Academy for Student Leaders in 2021.

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