Preparing Indigenous Teachers for Arizona Schools (PITAS)
Preparing Indigenous Teachers for Arizona Schools (PITAS) is designed for para-professionals, educational assistants, and others in Native-serving schools across Arizona who want to become certified K-8 teachers. You will earn either your bachelor’s or master’s degree in Elementary Education and teaching certification in two years, while you stay in your home community and continue working in your school. Classes will be delivered in a hybrid format that accommodates your work schedule; and you will participate in occasional weekend community residencies and a summer residency at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.
The first PITAS cohort began in October 2022, and it will end in June 2024. WE ARE CURRENTLY RECRUITING FOR THE SECOND PITAS COHORT, which will begin classes in early October 2023, and graduate in May 2025!
PITAS is designed to allow you to stay in your home community and school while also earning your degree to become a teacher! We are committed to ensuring each person’s successful journey through coursework, graduation, and into a teaching position.
PITAS cohort members will receive a small stipend and laptop. As an admitted student in the BSED/MED Elementary Education program, you are eligible to participate in the Arizona Teachers Academy (ATA) which will cover your tuition and mandatory fees after all other scholarships and gift aid are applied. To receive this funding, you will need to complete a FAFSA every year along with seeking ATA support, and remain in good academic standing at NAU. As a result of receiving this funding, you will commit to teaching at an Arizona public school for the number of years you receive the funding.
PITAS was developed because Indigenous leaders and educators requested a pathway for community members to become certified classroom teachers. Housed in NAU’s Institute for Native-serving Educators (INE), PITAS centers Indigenous educational approaches and knowledge. Our goal is to prepare culturally responsive teachers for schools serving Arizona’s 22 Native Nations.
Individuals working as Para-Professionals, Educational Assistants, etc. in schools on or bordering any of Arizona’s 22 Native Nations are eligible if they can provide a fingerprint clearance card and have the following:
For the bachelor’s degree pathway:
- 45 units of coursework
- ENG 105 or equivalent
- MAT 155 or equivalent
- 2 lab science courses
- EDF 200 or equivalent
- MAT 150 or equivalent
- Cumulative GPA of 2.5
- Fingerprint clearance card
For the master’s degree pathway:
- A completed bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
- GPA of 3.0 = full admittance
- Below 3.0 undergraduate gpa must petition the College of Education Admissions Committee to achieve conditional admittance with allowance to achieve 3.0 in graduate-level work with first nine (9) graduate credit hours
- College Algebra or equivalent with a minimum grade of C
- ENG foundation composition course(s) with a minimum cumulative English GPA of 3.0
- If the English composition GPA is not 3.0, the applicant can complete one of the following NAU courses (or an advisor approved writing course) with a minimum grade of B: ENG 105, ENG 205, 210, 211, 220, 270, 302W or 310W.
- One lab science with a minimum grade of C
- A copy of IVP fingerprint clearance card
For the full list of requirements, please refer to the “how to get started” tab.
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- Apply to Northern Arizona University.
- Undergraduate students wanting to pursue the B.S. in Elementary Education should submit a Transfer Application. For campus, select Statewide, then Organizational Partnership.
- Graduate students wanting to pursue the M.Ed. in Elementary Education with Certification should submit a Graduate College Application. For campus, select Online.
- Complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid and have it sent to NAU by selecting Northern Arizona University at the end of the application. If selected for verification, your file must be verified. You will receive an email to your NAU email if this is the case.
- Apply to the Professional Education Programs (PEP).
- Email us at email@example.com to express your interest in the PITAS cohort
- Deadline to apply to NAU and express interest is Sunday, September 24, 2023.
For help with the admissions process, contact Molly.Jisa@nau.edu or 602-298-4023.
The program is two years. Virtual synchronous classes on Zoom are held on Mondays and Wednesdays for PITAS 2.0 from 5-8 pm during Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters. The cohort has one required weekend in-person meetings in each Fall and Spring semester, and a required two-week summer in-person residency at NAU in Flagstaff.
Benefits of program participation
- The program is designed for para-professionals and others working in Native-serving schools
- You will remain in your community while completing your courses synchronously online (via Zoom)
- Cohort members are eligible to apply for ATA funding, which covers tuition and mandatory fees after all other scholarships and gift aid are applied
- Cohort members will receive a laptop and an $800 stipend each semester
- All education classes will be taken with the cohort, and classes will be designed for relevance to teaching in Arizona’s Native-serving schools
- Faculty and staff will provide mentorship and support