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South Dakota Redesigns Rural Teacher Recruitment Efforts

One South Dakota university has changed the way it's training rural teachers and hopes to see higher test scores by placing better-prepared teachers in high-need communities.

A story about GoTeach South Dakota is featured on the Web site of the Center for Midwestern Initiatives, a relatively new project that's dedicated in part to improving teacher recruitment in rural areas. Gary Funk, who leads the center, was the force behind the Ozarks Teacher Corps, a nationally recognized program that offers scholarships to rural Missouri college students who return to their hometowns as teachers and school leaders.

GoTeach won a federal Teacher Quality Partnership grant in 2009 and aims to prepare 75 teachers to serve in 45 high-needs schools in five years.

The story describes how the University of South Dakota has changed its teacher preparation program and includes interviews with students in the program. The first students to complete the program will do so this year.

"The year-long student teaching experience has taught me so much through allowing me to experience teaching in a real school. I was the first one to go through the program, so it has been a lot of trial and error," said Tiffany Buehner in the story. "The biggest surprise has been how much time in and out of the classes that you put in."

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