Mississippi is experiencing a shortage of teachers in districts throughout the state. At the same time many teachers are nearing retirement, there are fewer and fewer new teachers being certified. In 2007 the Department of Education licensed 7,000 teachers. By 2017 that number had dropped to 700.
“William Carey University is committed to doing its part to help solve the teacher shortage crisis in the state of Mississippi,” said Dr. Ben Burnett, dean of the William Carey University School of Education. “While nearly one-third of all licenses issued in 2017 in the state were from William Carey, we still want to make a bigger contribution to help all of the districts in our area and across the state.”
As part of the new agreement with Pearl River Community College, Carey will provide education classes for third- and fourth-year students at PRCC’s Poplarville campus.
“Students will not have to leave; we will bring the program to them,” Burnett said. “To me this is the best example of growing your own faculty.” He added that most educators teach within four miles of where they grew up.
Students who graduate from the program will agree to teach for a minimum of three years in one of the three Pearl River school districts – Poplarville, Pearl River County, and Picayune.
“We think this is an outstanding opportunity for our students, for William Carey University, Pearl River Community College, and especially our local school districts,” said PRCC President Adam Breerwood. “We work closely with all of these superintendents on a daily basis. It shows that we as educators can work together and what we are capable of. We listened to the needs, and we came together with an outstanding plan. We know a lot of people are interested in this, and we see the benefits in this program.”
Burnett said the partnership with PRCC will serve as an example of how higher education institutions can partner with local school districts to get more certified teachers in the classroom.
“We have a tremendous amount of respect for President Breerwood and are proud to work with him as an alumnus of William Carey. In addition, as a former board of trustees member, it gives me great confidence to work with such a great community college such as PRCC.”
Below are the details of the Memorandum of Understanding:
Responsibilities of William Carey University
Provide approximately 16-18 classes for incoming eligible third- and fourth-year undergraduate students on the campus of Pearl River Community College;
Assist with marketing and recruiting for the cohort;
Advise potential students beginning January 2018 for entry to the program in the summer and/or fall of 2018 (including admission to teacher education);
Work with participating school districts to place students for practicum and student teaching experiences; and
Accept tuition for the cohort at a total of $40,000 for both years.
Responsibilities of Pearl River Community College
Provide a classroom for a maximum of two face-to-face class meetings per term;
Collaborate with William Carey University in recruiting and advising students; and
Provide campus services for students where possible (including, but not limited to, library, counseling, meals, and dormitories).
Responsibilities of Individual School Districts
Accept students in the cohort for practicum and student teaching experiences;
Hire graduates of the cohort program, when and where possible;
Assist with marketing and recruiting of potential cohort members.
Responsibilities of Students
Be eligible for admission to teacher education prior to being admitted to the program (based on GPA, Praxis CORE or ACT of 21);
Pay a $300.00 registration fee each trimester and apply for any eligible financial aid;
Be enrolled as a student of William Carey University;
Follow policies and procedures of William Carey University and Pearl River Community College; and
Sign an agreement to work in one of the three participating school districts, if positions are available, for a minimum of three years.