Jackson State University College of Education celebrates inaugural class of first Mississippi Teacher Residency program

JACKSON, miss., November 9, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — from Jackson State University College of Education and Human Development (COEHD) welcomed 15 graduate students to its first Mississippi Teacher Residency (MTR) program this fall. The MTR program aims to prepare educators to teach in geographically critical shortage areas. To celebrate the founding group, the COEHD, the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) and the Jackson Public School District (JPS) celebrated the admission of the students with a signing day, similar to the commitment of aspiring athletes to a sports organization.

“We are happy for you. This is an amazing opportunity that you have seized and we want to support you in that by providing the support you need, the coaching and love you need to help you succeed in this program and Get Out and do what you were trained to do – teach all students,” he said Jerry HaynesEd.D., COEHD Dean.

in the December 2021received JSU $2,038,589a $9.8 million Grant from MDE to address shortage of primary and special education teachers. The program is supported by the primary and secondary school emergency aid fund (ESSER).

JSU is one of five participating universities. The funds will be used over a two-year period to cover tuition and expenses for graduate students participating in the program. MDE recently expanded the residency program from three to five universities serving over 20 school districts nationwide. JSU is in partnership with JPS. Each facility works with one or more school districts that have critical teacher shortages. The goal is to ensure everyone Mississippi Students have access to licensed, diverse and effective teachers.

Tommy NalsEd.D., Head of Recruitmentdescribes this possibility as mutually beneficial for the residents and the district.

“A lot of our teachers were there Jackson Public schools, graduated from JPS, then attended Jackson State University. After receiving their bachelor’s degrees in education, many returned to serve in the schools they attended,” explained Nalls. “We want to grow that because who would have a better investment in JPS than people who have attended schools in JPS and are from the city of Jackson?”

The MTR program is designed to provide holistic support to prospective teachers pursuing degrees in elementary and special education. Nalls said the MTR program has resulted in JPS certifying 34 teachers over the past four years while reducing job vacancies in the district and improving teacher retention. According to Nalls, an estimated 65% of teachers working for JPS have a JSU background.

Upon completion of the residency, doctoral students can earn a master’s degree along with dual certification in elementary and special education.

JPS currently employs students in the MTR program as educators and more.

Kimberly Armstrong, a Pre-K teacher at Smith Elementary School, has worked in education for nearly two decades. This opportunity was a godsend for the prospective special education teacher.

“I want to touch students’ lives, see them grow and reach their full potential. I’ve always wanted to teach special education. When I saw that, my cue was to keep teaching special education,” Armstrong said.

A teacher at Dawson Elementary School’s Lower Elementary Alternative Placement (LEAP), Jonah Thomas is the first and only male student in JSU’s first MTR program. He decided to follow in his mother’s footsteps and become an educator.

“I would love to return to Provine High School, where I attended school, while teaching economics and coaching soccer, and this program puts me in a great position to achieve my goal. We can do our Masters in a year without going there and going into debt along with the other materials they pay for. I’m glad I was accepted into the program,” said Thomas.

SOURCE Jackson State University

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