JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - The numbers make it clear: Mississippi needs more teachers. The state issued 2,002 fewer teacher licenses in 2018 than it did in 2011.
“We’ve seen a decline in the number of folks who are going through traditional ed prep programs, and we see this as one of many opportunities to on-board additional candidates into teaching education," said Mississippi Department of Education Director of Educator Talent Acquisition and Effectiveness Phelton Cortez Moss.
That’s where the Mississippi Teacher Residency program comes in as a new alternative to fill some of the gaps. There were over 400 people who applied to be a part of the program, and thirty-five were accepted. Thirty-four of those are native Mississippians.
“Essentially it changes, what we believe, is the development of an educator,” noted Moss.
They will be working and training in four districts around the state: Jackson, Sunflower County, Gulfport and Ocean Springs. They’ll also make a commitment to stay in that district for three years after the residency.
“This is an opportunity to one pay for the education for folks because this residency program does that," noted Moss. "To really focus in on actually being able to work with kids and being in a school setting everyday, as opposed to just having one semester of clinical experience which is what happens in many of our programs.”
And having that co-teaching experience is by design.
“First year teachers often leave the teaching profession because of a lack of support/lack of mentor-ship. So if we embed that in their program early on, we believe strongly that it will impact the retention of Mississippi’s teachers.”
For more details on the program, click HERE.