HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - The William Carey University School of Education uses its Alternate Route Program to try and remedy the critical teacher shortage in the Magnolia State.
The program provides an opportunity for non-education graduates to enter the teaching profession. This unique program earned William Carey University’s School of Education two 2021 Governor’s Award.
The school of education staff and faculty gathered together Friday afternoon to watch the virtual ceremony, which honored top school-community partnerships, including the Alternate Route to Teaching Program.
“But the difference in this program is we come to you,” said Dr. Teresa Poole, deam of education. “We’ve decided that sometimes that’s a deterrent when a university is not near a community or not near the people that would like to attend. So we actually take that cohort to those students.”
Poole said it’s exciting to have the Alternate Route program recognized, but the real excitement is seeing the mission of the program come to life.
“We are now seeing an increase in teachers and that’s our main focus,” Poole said. “We want to make sure that we have an effective classroom teacher in every classroom.”
Executive Vice President of William Carey Dr. Ben Burnett said this past summer the school of education had a record number of more than 450 students enrolled in the Alternate Route Program.
“This fall, we had 265 Alternate Route interns across the state of Mississippi that are first-year teachers doing their internship with us,” Burnett said. “So, that’s 265 teachers that we put into the school system just this fall, and we’ve had people continue to come through the program this year. We are looking forward to bigger summer this coming summer.”
Burnett said the two Governor’s Awards would not have been possible without the districts the school partners with throughout the state.
The annual state-level awards are presented by the Mississippi Association of Partners in Education. They recognize school districts, universities and their community partners for the work they do to support K-12 education.