WASHINGTON -- The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) and Howard University’s School of Education will sponsor a federally funded initiative to provide 300 new teachers to public schools in the metropolitan Washington area by recruiting and training recent non- education track college graduates and mid-career professionals.
Beginning in July, the program, known as Transition to Teaching, will offer the first of three one-year programs of study as an alternative path to acquiring the certification required to teach in the Maryland and Virginia public school systems. Candidates will attend graduate level courses during the summer at the Howard’s School of Education, and receive a three-year contract to teach in high-need school districts while they continue taking courses towards certification and a Master’s degree.
The 300 new teachers will work in Prince George’s County and the City of Alexandria. Other metropolitan Washington school districts may participate as the program continues.
“We are focused on preparing teachers for diverse, urban student populations that are underserved,” said Judith Davis, mayor of Greenbelt, MD; vice chair of the PREP Advisory Board; and member of the COG Board of Directors. “This program provides an innovative path for increasing the pool of talented individuals who can become teachers and serve as role models for disadvantaged youth."
During the school year, program participants will be required to enroll and successfully complete two graduate courses per semester toward a teaching certificate and a Master’s degree. In addition, participants will receive paid tuition for up to 18 credits and a stipend. The Transition to Teaching program also will provide support in the classroom for the new teachers and professional development training.
Federal and state education officials report that urban school districts across the U.S. are suffering serious teacher shortages, a trend that is expected to continue over the next 10 years as the student population increases and more members of the aging teacher force retire. Studies also indicate the nation’s schools are becoming more culturally diverse. The growing teacher shortage and the demand for multicultural education require that local officials and colleges of education do their part to ensure an ample supply of quality urban teachers, experts say.
The Prince George’s County Public School System is the 19th largest in the nation. It has 135 elementary schools, 28 middle schools, and 22 high schools, as well as a variety of other educational facilities. The City of Alexandria Public School System enrolls approximately 10,979 students within its 13 elementary schools, two middle schools, one high school, and one alternative high school.
For more information on the Transition to Teaching Program, visit www.transitiontoteaching. org or call toll free 877-922-6444.