FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Finding and retaining teachers has been a struggle for districts throughout the state.
Kings Canyon Unified School District is working to change that by utilizing a mentor program to help guide new teachers in the classroom and to ensure they get their credentials on time.
Inside Anthony Soria's classroom, he's making sure his fifth-grade students fully understand the math equations they're given.
Step by step, they work out the problem to find the answer.
Outside of class, Soria is doing the same thing, going step by step to earn his teaching credential.
He was initially a Physical Education Tech but was encouraged to become a full-time teacher.
"Instantly fell in love with the job - it's just so nice being around kids," Soria said.
Now, he's working through an intern credential program that allows him to teach at Dunlap School while he completes his required testing.
Thanks to Kings Canyon Unified School District's Instructional Coaches program, he gets help along the way.
His mentor is Katie McCandless.
With multiple test requirements, McCandless makes sure Soria stays on track.
McCandless, who trains the district mentors, says the program can be crucial to a new teacher's success.
"One of the biggest jobs for the mentors in our district is to help the new teachers handle the rigor of testing with the rigor of classroom teaching," McCandless said.
It's also crucial to the district's success.
"Our goal is to retain those great new teachers, they're full of enthusiasm. They've got great ideas, but if they don't get their credential then, unfortunately, we might lose them. "
The coaching includes more than just one-on-one time.
Once a week, there's a group study session in Reedley.
It gives teachers access to resources and allows teachers time to connect and study with others who are also working toward their credentials.