Rise to Teach is a partnership initiative between PCC, Portland State University (PSU), Portland Public Schools (PPS), and Beaverton School District (BSD). With a special focus on recruiting culturally diverse, underrepresented students to the teaching profession, the program offers a supported, affordable college pathway to a career as a licensed K-12 teacher.
Building on the successful foundations of the Portland Teachers Program that began in 1989, Rise to Teach is committed to social justice, equity in education, and the development of culturally-responsive teachers with diverse backgrounds and experiences who will start their careers in Portland and Beaverton public schools.
The program offers full-time students committed to a teaching career a tuition-free path to a bachelor’s degree, starting at PCC and finishing at PSU. Students could complete either PSU’s elementary education, SPED, or bilingual teacher bachelor’s degree programs leading to a teaching license, or if they are interested in teaching other subjects, they can apply to PSU’s one-year Graduate Teacher Education Program and offered 50% tuition assistance for completion of a master’s degree and earn their teaching license. After successfully completing their degree, students commit to applying for a teaching position at either PPS or BSD. Scholarships are annually renewable, based on students meeting program requirements and available funding.
Interested in Special Education? Students could choose PSU’s bachelor’s degree in Special Education and earn a Preliminary Teaching License with an endorsement in special education, without needing to complete the graduate program.
What does it mean to be a part of the Rise to Teach program?
Beyond tuition scholarships, the program includes:
- Additional advising and academic support resources.
- Participation in a collaborative learning community and part of a supportive peer network. Students attend orientations, regularly scheduled workshops, and other program events.
- Development of professional skills and access to mentoring from experienced educators while a student.
- Leadership development and opportunities to gain deeper understanding of your own and others’ culture and identities, antiracist and anti-bias practices, and knowledge of education equity work.
- Additional support in preparation for the job search process from PPS and BSD.
Note: This program is for students who DO NOT have a bachelor’s degree yet. These are some of the eligibility requirements, please contact the Program Coordinator for more details and full program requirements.
- Student is a resident of Oregon, and a U.S. citizen or have permanent resident status or be a DACA recipient.
- Student is ethnically diverse or a heritage speaker whose first language is not English (using the definition of diverse from ORS 342.433). The RTT Program is aligned to the goals of the state’s Educator Equity Act in diversifying our teaching workforce by recruiting applicants who meet the definition below (from ORS 342.433):
(1) “Diverse” means culturally or linguistically diverse characteristics of a person, including:
(a) Origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa but is not Hispanic;
(b) Hispanic culture or origin, regardless of race;
(c) Origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent or the Pacific Islands;
(d) Origins in any of the original peoples of North America, including American Indians or Alaskan Natives; or
(e) A first language that is not English.
- Be enrolled or able to enroll as a full-time PCC student (students accepted in the program will need to be able to take a full-time student course load/minimum 12 credits per term).
- Be a high school graduate or have a GED®.
- Have a minimum 2.5 overall GPA at time of application. This will be the most current cumulative GPA if you have taken college courses; or your high school GPA if you have no college experience.
- Have some volunteer or paid experience working with children/teens, engaging in learning activities.
- Demonstrate a commitment to cross-cultural learning, and be an advocate for equity in education.
Starting the program as a PCC student: If students already have college credits, they are eligible to join the program if they have at least 3 more terms at PCC before transferring to PSU.
Contact Program Coordinator Kara Huynh Stone for more information.