Midwestern State University is working with a grant from the McCoy Foundation, for the Step Program. They hope to fulfill a big problem in the area, a lack of teachers. "The idea is to take students that have a degree or adults that have a degree already in a content area and provide a way for them to become certified teachers in high need areas," said Dr. Matthew Capps, Dean of West College of Education at M.S.U.
These high need areas include Math, Science, English-Language Arts, History and Spanish. Dr. Capps says schools are desperate to find high quality teachers. "There's a high need in every part of the state and actually every part of the country for math and science teachers. And that's really where this emerged from. It's trying to create an avenue to get more math and science teachers into the school system," said Dr. Capps.
The program begins in May and runs throughout the summer. Much of the course work is online, so students are able to work while taking classes. With a few extra courses, students can also earn their Master's Degree, in Curriculum and Construction. "They're able to get through certification this summer and they can either student teach in the Fall. Or if they can find a position they can do an internship that lasts all year," said Dr. Capps. A paid internship, as a real teacher, earning a real salary.
Students in the program are given tools to help them in the process, such as a mentor, time in a Hirschi High School classroom, prior to getting certified, and a free i-Pad. The idea is to use techniques and technology that can be utilized with their students. "We wanted to try this to satisfy a need for the school districts. And also, help people out who are ready to make a career change or needed to make a career change, and needed to get through that quickly," said Dr. Capps.