As the last school year was ending in May, the administrators at my district asked me and another teacher Jennifer to apply to be part of the S.O.A.R. Initiative. They explained that our district would be allowed to have two candidates in the program. This program would pay for us and other teachers throughout Eastern Kentucky to achieve our next degree in Leadership and for our National Boards Certification. This program would be split up into four cohorts and our cohort would have classes an hour away two weeks each summer and 6 times each semester for the next 3 years. We would have to commit to attending all classes and completing all assignments and this initiative would pay for everything for us.
We would have classes paid for, admission into the National Boards Program, and all text books would be paid for. The Leadership program we would go through would prepare us to be teacher leaders at our school and would prepare us for each component of the Nation Boards process. At the end of three years we would complete the program and achieve another Master's degree and our National Boards Certification at no cost! This would then result in pay raises for our new degrees and a $2000 bonus each year for being board certified.
Needless to say, she and I jumped at the opportunity. It is an exciting opportunity for us both and it's amazing that we are in this together. Jennifer is one of my closest friends at work and I know I can rely on her and trust her for assistance and she can depend on me.
This came at a great time for me. I had completed a Master's in Literacy last summer and had taken a year off from college, but I knew in the Fall I would need to start on my next degree so that I can become a better teacher and reach a new pay raise at work. I had been thinking about how expensive classes are and how much money I had been out for my last degree. I saved and paid as I took classes because I did not want any debt. So no student loans for me.
Last week, we had our first week of a two week class this Summer. It went really well. The ladies over our cohort are so nice and helpful. They have all been through the National Boards Certification process and were successful, so it is great to know I have them for assistance. I am excited about this but so nervous at the same time. This is a rigorous process and will require a lot of work on my part. But in the end if I am successful I can open up a lot of new doors for my future.