TULARE COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Tulare County Office of Education is taking action to help provide free teaching credentials for future educators.
The New Teacher and Leadership Development Program, provides an alternative pathway to becoming a teacher in California. Applicants come from a variety of different backgrounds.
Thanks to a new state grant, applicants will now have the opportunity to complete their coursework for free.
Pleasant View Elementary teacher Gabriele Ibarra had a late start to her teaching career.
"I got married and had kids, so from then until my son went to school, I was at home," explained Ibarra.
After several years at home, she knew it was time to follow her calling.
"I took the plunge because it was a big deal to me to go from mom to student again and took the framework courses," added Ibarra.
That plunge was NTLD'S Impact program that gives people an opportunity to work towards their teaching credential at any stage of life.
"One of the amazing things about the Impact program is it recruits people from very diverse backgrounds," said program facilitator Michelle French. "We have candidates that are straight out of college, we have candidates that are career changers."
Participants can complete their coursework in the evening, with many working for the school district during the day.
"It's rigorous and hard, but they're making you into the teacher you need to be for these kids because they're our future," said Ibarra.
Thanks to the Golden State Teacher Grant, participants can now complete their coursework for free.
"Receiving this is going to help support our system at home, so I don't have to be worried or stressed," said Ibarra.
The IMPACT program takes roughly two years and is one of several credential pathways offered by NTLD. For details on how to apply, visit their website.
TCOE offers teaching credential program to aspiring educators
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