The William Carey University School of Education recently received a $296,200 grant from the Robert M. Hearin Foundation to create a Science and Mathematics Alternate Route Teacher, or SMART, program at the main campus in Hattiesburg and the Tradition campus in Biloxi.
The SMART program will provide an opportunity for non-education graduates to enter the teaching profession by obtaining new job skills and will also provide licensed teachers in critical teacher shortage areas in mathematics and science, said Dr. Ben Burnett, dean of the education school.
"There will be a dual benefit from this program in that we increase the number of qualified teachers in these shortage areas while also ensuring more students have access to qualified mathematics and science teachers," said Burnett.
The Hearin grant will be distributed to Carey at $98,000 per year for three years and will fund scholarships for students entering the alternate route program at Carey. The program will work with Carey's current Master of Education degree in the art of teaching and will utilize current admission requirements for the art of teaching degree, including completion of two courses in classroom management and tests, measurements and evaluations. Candidates are also required to have a passing score on both the Praxis Core and Praxis II examinations.
Upon completion of the admission requirements, candidates are eligible to receive a three-year interim educator license and can be employed by a school district in the appropriate mathematics and science subject area. Program participants are then enrolled in an internship course in which they are monitored in their classrooms and attend planned Saturday learning sessions. After completion of the one-year internship course, participants will be eligible to receive a five-year educator license.
Funds from the grant will allow up to 20 scholarships to be given throughout a school year for a total of 60 scholarships during the life of the program. In addition to covering the cost of 12 semester hours for each participant, textbooks and other supplies will also be covered under the grant. Additional funds will be used to provide workshops for participants prior to the Praxis examinations and to pay the cost of the examinations.
"The Hearin Foundation has been generous to Carey in providing general scholarship grants, special grants for the nursing program and now this education program to meet critical needs in our state," said Dr. Tommy King, Carey president.
Burnett said the new program was great news not only for Carey but also for local school districts.
"We are thankful to the Hearin Foundation for their support of Carey's mission and their desire to fill teacher vacancies in these shortage areas," said Burnett.
The SMART program will begin in July. The application deadline is June 22. Applicants must have a 2.75 cumulative undergraduate grade point average. Interested candidates may email Burnett at firstname.lastname@example.org
, call the School of Education at (601) 318-6600 or visit www.wmcarey.edu
. The program application can be viewed at www.bit.ly/wcusmart
The Hearin Foundation, which supports Mississippi higher education as well as economic development, was established in the will of the late Robert M. Hearin Sr., a former chairman and chief executive officer of Mississippi Valley Gas.