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Program Gives Students an Early Start on Teacher Prep

From guest blogger Hannah Rose Sacks

Starting this fall, Mississippi's Ocean Springs High School will offer a two-year academic track for students interested in teaching as a profession, reports WLOX-TV.

The program, Teacher Academy, provides firsthand experience and skills-based learning opportunities to prepare students for a teaching career. The objective is to better prepare students so they not only enter the teaching profession, but remain long-term educators, according to the State Secondary Teacher Academy.

A framework document cites Mississippi's projected demand for elementary, secondary, and community college teachers greatly exceeding the number of students enrolled in teacher-preparation programs as the motivation to attract more students to the profession.

Teacher Academy is expecting to:

• Recruit high-quality high school students for the teaching profession.
• Give qualified high school students an opportunity to begin a career path to teaching.
• Provide a framework for developing solid partnerships with area institutions of higher education and offer new options for the district's students.

The program will allow students the opportunity to shadow and assist teachers. Academy enrollees will also learn some of the fundamental skills required for teaching, including lesson-planning, in addition to the two-year curriculum.

The curriculum covers three major areas of study: Teachers as Professionals; Principles of Teaching, Learning, and Assessment; and the Learning Environment.

According to the academy's framework document, the program is based on the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, the Praxis standards, and the Mississippi education department's Subject Area Testing Program, as well as college-readiness and technology standards.

Entrance to the Teacher Academy will involve a selection process that includes an evaluation of students' academic and behavioral records, reports WLOX-TV.

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