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Letter From the Executive Director

Dear Friends of the Center for Future Educators,

Welcome back to a new school year and the promise of new beginnings, both for our future educators and advisors. Last year, we saw a tremendous amount of growth in NJFEA chapters. After starting last year with 21 NJFEA chapters, we were successful in getting the word out to districts about the benefits of CFE programs and increased our numbers to 75 chapters by May. We now count over 750+ NJ students as NJFEA members. During the 2023–24 school year, the focus will be on continuing the creation of more NJFEA chapters, especially in the southern part of the state and in those schools that already have a Tomorrow’s Teachers course. Additional efforts will be given to establishing middle school feeder programs and introducing our brand new 10-lesson NJFEA elementary curriculum for grades 4–6.

This summer, the CFE has been busy working with teachers and future educators to help grow the profession. In June, we hosted a training in the Tomorrow’s Teachers curriculum for the largest cohort of teachers since 2018. Many of the districts represented will be starting the course this fall for the very first time, and we even have a few schools who will be teaching TT as a bilingual course, thanks to new resources from the folks at CERRA. The CFE also hosted 25 students from across the state at a week-long residential camp known as the Future Educators Academy. The experience included teaching a STEM lesson to local ELL elementary students, who later reported to their principal that it was “the best day EVER!” and we agree. If you teach any of our Academy students, I encourage you to have them share their experience with your students to get them thinking about applying next year.

If you are wondering why you and your students should be a part of an NJFEA club, you only need to attend an NJFEA conference to understand the power of having students connect with other future educators from across the state. Attending one of our conferences is a fantastic opportunity to get students on college campuses where they hear inspirational speakers, learn from faculty and staff, and network with their peers. In the 2023–24 school year, we have four NJFEA conferences scheduled, with the first one coming up quickly on October 13 at William Paterson University. Others will be January 11 at Drew University, March 13 at Rider University, and May 21 at Rowan College of South Jersey-Gloucester. We hope to see you there! Don’t forget, you must be registered as a chapter and pay for your student memberships to attend NJFEA conferences. You can register your chapter for this year starting September 1. Membership cost is $10 per student but that cost can be covered by NJEA Pride funds. Contact your local NJEA building representative for details.

As you welcome back your future educators, you can let them know that things are looking up for preservice college students who will be student teaching this year. After examination of the financial difficulties of unpaid internships, which serve as barriers to certification for so many preservice students, the NJ legislature has responded with several bills to get new teachers in classrooms. Not only have certification fees for new teachers been suspended for the 2023–24 school year, but also, for the first time, student teachers will qualify for a $3000 stipend from the state during their full-time semester of clinical practice to cover some living expenses.

On our website, you will find valuable information including a flyer for our first conference and a calendar of events for the 2023–24 school year. In the meantime, we always welcome input from you about how we can get better. Please feel free to reach out at any time to to chat, ask questions, or set up a school visit so I can see some of the great work going on in your schools.

Have a wonderful September and teach on!

Yours in learning,
Dr. DelColle