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William Carey School of Education breaks school’s fall enrollment record

Updated: Aug. 26, 2020 at 7:15 PM CDT
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - William Carey University’s School of Education is touting a record-breaking start to the new school year this week.

Dr. Ben Burnett, dean of education and executive vice president, said the highest number for fall enrollment was 1,300, but as of this week, the school hit 1,600. Burnett said that’s good news not only for the school but for the state of Mississippi.

“As you know, there is a critical teacher shortage in Mississippi,” Burnett said. “So the more people we have on the roll, the more teachers we’re training and the more leaders we are training for the schools of Mississippi.”

Burnett said the School of Education offers programs like the Alternator Route Certification program, which has been helping the school gain momentum. But oddly enough, Burnett said the pandemic has just as much to do with the school’s boost in numbers.

“Number one: people are looking for jobs who might have lost their jobs due to the pandemic and the School of Education is nothing more than workforce training with our Alternate Route Certification, our undergraduate’s program,” Burnett said. “We are putting people back to work.”

Burnett said COVID-19 forced the Mississippi State Department of Education to make some changes to licensure guidelines that potential educators are taking advantage of this year.

“So, a couple of the exams that were required in the past is kind of a hurdle for people to pass, they have been waived until December of 2021,” Burnett said.

Burnett said it wasn’t that long ago when education programs were down by 35% nationally and looking the same locally. Now, this record enrollment of 1,600 future teachers at William Carey University is a promising sign.

“We’re most excited about that,” Burnett said. “We’re excited about the overall record, but to have a record number of undergraduate students, which that means those people are going through the four years of teacher prep, getting ready to be in the classroom, so we are excited about that.”

Burnett added it’s not too late if you are interested in being an educator and joining the Alternate Route Program. The next term starts the first week of November. You can contact William Carey University by email at education@wmcarey.edu or call 601-318-6600.

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