CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The first teacher-in-residence program created under a new state law and board policy adopted to address teacher shortages is proving successful, the West Virginia Board of Education learned Wednesday.
West Virginia State University collaborated with Clay County Schools to develop the pilot partnership that places a senior in the college’s education preparation program in a public school classroom when no other teacher is available to fill the vacancy. The program differs from student teaching where the college student spends 12 weeks in a class under a veteran teacher’s supervision.
The teacher-in-residence program allows the college student to lead his or her own classroom for the whole school year. To qualify for such a position, the college student must have completed the necessary content area coursework with a minimum 3.0 GPA and have met the proficiency score on the state competency exam. The teacher-in-residence earns 65 percent of a regular teacher’s salary, and is intensively supervised and mentored while gaining teaching experience necessary for certification. The participating county gets a qualified candidate to fill a posted teaching vacancy for which no other fully certified teacher applied.
“This program helps fill a void many counties face in trying to fill high need areas in their schools with a qualified teacher,” said state Superintendent of Schools Chuck Heinlein. “Educators and policymakers are continually searching for new ways to recruit and retain excellent public school teachers and this is but one additional way to do that.”
With nearly 11,000 of the state’s 24,000 public school educators eligible for retirement within the next five years, many counties already are struggling to find math, science, special education and foreign language teachers.
Allen Tanner, one of two student teachers in the teacher-in-residence pilot in Clay County, teaches high school math. In talking about Tanner’s class, one student said, “Mr. Tanner has taught me how math relates to what I do every day.”
Joanne Nine, a teacher-in-residence at H.E. White Elementary, is described by colleagues as, “a friendly face who delivers quality, caring instruction to her students. Clay County Schools is fortunate to have brought another teacher home.”
Under state Board of Education Policy 5100, once Tanner and Nine complete the teacher-in-residence pilot and earn a college degree from their institution of higher education, they can apply to the state Department of Education for full certification to teach in West Virginia public schools.
Also Wednesday, the board approved an application from Concord University to create a similar teacher-in-residence pilot in southern West Virginia that would serve several counties, including McDowell County.
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