A couple of expansions are coming to the innovative teacher preparation partnership that ESD 105 and Toppenish’s Heritage University have been coordinating since the fall of 2010.

Through the HU105 program, students at Heritage who are pursuing a bachelor’s or master’s degree in teaching are able to engage in real-setting classroom lab experiences four days a week at elementary and middle school sites in the Mabton, Toppenish, Yakima, and Grandview school districts. ESD 105 staff members provide most of the primary content instruction to the Heritage students, and some specialty content areas are instructed by teachers at other schools in the region. All graduates from HU105 obtain a K-8 Washington residency teacher certificate and a highly marketable ELL endorsement.

And now, agreements have been finalized earlier this year that will to take the program beyond the borders of ESD 105 and into two elementary classrooms in the Richland School District starting this fall. Additionally, special education is being added as an optional endorsement for enrollees.

HU105 has grown from 36 participants during the 2010-2011 launch year to 95 this year. With the addition of the Richland sites, enrollment is expected to grow to about 120 participants during 2014-2015.

“Around 90% of the graduates have ended up teaching at a school here in the ESD 105 region,” points out Mark Cheney, the HU105 project co-director at ESD 105.