Aquinas College program addresses need for teachers

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Courtesy Facebook.com

A local college established the Accelerated Master in Education (AME) program, which aims to develop K-12 grade teachers.

Although COVID-19 has hampered the pace, Aquinas College’s AME program currently is in Year 1 of its three-year pilot.

The college is working in conjunction with local school districts so that individuals who qualify and hold a bachelor’s degree will be able to complete their initial teacher certification course work and clinical requirements in fewer than 18 months.

The program is modeled after “residency” programs, which allows qualified individuals to work full time in an approved school setting while completing the required evening and online coursework.

According to a February 2020 report from Public Policy Associates, there is a “marked decline in the number of aspiring educators, mounting departures by experienced and early-career educators, and an educator workforce that lacks diversity” that has resulted in a shortage of skilled teachers in Michigan.

“The AME program was developed to facilitate adult career-changers who wanted to enter the teaching profession and to address the growing need of school districts’ to find qualified teachers,” said Susan English, dean of Aquinas College’s School of Education. “Traditional programs require individuals to step out of the workforce, but this program allows individuals to secure a paid position in the education field while completing coursework and clinical hours. We are especially eager to recruit and prepare underrepresented minority candidates into the field.”

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