Schools Partner to Help The Next Generation of Teachers in Pearl River County
As part of a plan to solve the teacher shortage in Mississippi, local schools are coming together to give the next generation of teachers a head start.
“There is a teacher shortage affecting the whole country right now, not just Mississippi,” Pearl River Central Teacher Academy instructor Stacy Reese said. “So it’s more important than ever to help anyone who wants to be an educator, succeed.”
The Teacher Academy is a Career Technical Education program at Pearl River Central High School designed to give students interested in education the opportunity to develop classroom skills and experiences to better prepare them for a career as a teacher. Reese explained that the program, now its second year, has recently received some exciting news.
According to Reese, students who complete the program and choose to further their education have grants and scholarship available to use at Pearl River Community College or William Carey. In fact on Wednesday, the two colleges announced a new partnership for education students that will now allow those interested in receiving their Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education to do so at Pearl River’s Poplarville Campus.
For the students at PRC high school this partnership is great news. Many of the students taking part in the program have decided they want to continue their education and become teachers. Now they can go to school in Pearl River County all the way through college, and if they choose to stay in Pearl River County to teach for five years after graduating they will receive additional scholarships, Reese explained.
“These scholarships and now the partnership with the colleges are a huge deal to my students,” Reese said. “It’s a relief to them to know that they don’t have to worry about how they are going to pay for school or where they will go, now they can focus on being the kind of teacher that Mississippi needs.”
Reese said her students feel like they have a real goal to aim for now and that the support from the colleges, and the personal interest superintended Alan Lumpkin has shown the students, motivates them to continue down this path to be educators.
Pearl River Central hopes that with the educational incentives and scholarships available the program will continue to grow and that with in a few years these students will return home to be a new generation of teachers in Pearl River County.
“When I found out that partnership was going to happen and these kids were going to receive these scholarships, it honestly brought tears to my eyes,” Reese said. “These are great students and I know the ones who want to will be great teachers. Now they have every opportunity they need to become excellent educators and if they come back home to teach one day we will be blessed to have them.”