Facebook Instagram Youtube LinkedIn Twitter

LETU Partners with PTISD for Fast-Track Teacher Preparation



To address the growing statewide teacher shortage, LeTourneau University and Pine Tree Independent School District have formed a new, innovative partnership to entice Pine Tree High School students to return to their alma mater as teachers in as little as two years after graduating high school.

Initial deadline for students to apply for the new pilot program is Friday, May 30, 2019. A screening on Monday, June 3, and interviews on Thursday, June 6, would follow with selections made by Monday, June 10.

Beginning in the 2019-20 academic year, this new program will allow Pine Tree high school students to take dual-credit classes during their junior and senior years and graduate high school with enough credit hours for an associate degree.

Those who successfully complete the first two years qualify to enroll directly into LeTourneau University’s online program to finish their Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies degree and qualify to take state certification to become teachers.

Students in this new program will receive guaranteed paid internships to work as student aides under teacher-mentors at PTISD making $10,000 per year during the two years they are taking online classes at LETU.  Each LETU class is a five-week course, taken one at a time, including summer, fall and spring semesters. 

The first PTISD students through the program could be qualified to take their places as classroom teachers as soon as the Fall 2023 semester.  

Pine Tree guarantees teaching jobs to those students who successfully complete this program.  After five years teaching with the district, these students could qualify for a student loan forgiveness program for teaching at a Title 1 school district. 

“Success is almost guaranteed for those willing to work,” said Darla Baggett, department chairwoman of Global Programs at LeTourneau. “It only means that you have to make your commitment to do the work.”

The program provides a total of 122 credit hours, 65 of which are taken as a dual-credit student at a cost of $90 per credit hour, adding up to just more than $8,000 while in high school.

Students can apply for federal financial aid once they begin classes at LeTourneau to help with the cost of the 57 credit hours they will need to complete their bachelor’s degree, the cost of which is estimated around $26,000 total, but which can be alleviated with the PTISD internships guaranteed to students.

“Students can complete their courses in an accelerated format while working alongside a seasoned teacher, being mentored to become excellent classroom teachers in two years after graduating high school,” said LETU Vice President of Global Operations Melanie Roudkovski. “LeTourneau’s global programs exist to provide opportunities for adult students returning for certificates and degrees, and for innovative programs such as this one. This new pilot program is a great way to develop a model for many industries in need of trained workers, and starting with dual credit is a wonderful opportunity for these students. Education is the perfect pilot program, because LeTourneau has a strong track record for putting the best teachers in the classroom.”

Pine Tree ISD Superintendent Steve Clugston said this new program will enable his school district to solve their teacher shortage issue by using their own students and get well-trained teachers at a faster rate. He hopes the program will attract five to 10 students the first year.

“It’s a challenging program,” Clugston said.  “But it’s a real win for a young person who wants to teach.”

LeTourneau University is the Christian polytechnic university in the nation where educators engage students to nurture Christian virtue, develop competency and ingenuity in their professional fields, integrate faith and work, and serve the local and global community. LETU offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs across a range of disciplines and delivery models at LETU’s residential campus in Longview, Texas, hybrid options at centers in the Dallas and Houston areas and fully online programs. For additional information, visit

Categories: Education