'Destination Teaching' Grant to Reinforce CSU Programs

A federal grant package to the University System of Georgia Board of Regents designed to spur teacher recruitment and preparation will bolster a Columbus State University alternative teacher preparation initiative already in its second year, said Thomas Harrison, CSU College of Education dean.

To be funded by $4.4 million over five years, the Regents' initiative, 'Destination Teaching: Customized Pathways to Get You There,' will be applied to CSU's Intern Team Teaching Program (ITTP) and its offshoot, Content Oriented Preparation for Educators (COPE), Harrison said.

Both programs recruit degree-holding professionals for a career change into the teaching field where they are mentored and monitored as teaching interns in regional K-12 classrooms. Within two years, these interns are expected to earn a clear renewable teaching certificate.

Under the Regents' initiative, CSU will collaborate with Georgia Southwestern State University. CSU Professor Polly Adams, chairperson for the Department of Curriculum Instruction said CSU - specifically her staff - will direct a new class of teaching interns for fall 2003 as the lead institution in the partnership with Georgia Southwestern. 'We have a track record in alternative teacher preparation. Our faculty have more than a year of experience in mentoring these teachers and accomodating their needs as 'nontraditional students'

The leadership experience to which Adams refers, began when CSU devised and administered ITTP in 2001, based on an initiative laid out to state colleges and universities by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission. CSU advanced the commission's framework, intensifying the summer-long pre-classroom training focused on curriculum planning and strategies, and related concepts. The initiative has produced 25 teachers from an original pool of 300 applicants. More than half of the 25 teaching interns have earned certification and include a former television news producer, publisher and social worker.

CSU in 2002 added a second, alternative educator preparation program called Content Oriented Preparation for Educators (COPE) in order to accommodate applicants who meet the state-standardized 2.50 GPA minimum requirement for entry. Under COPE, CSU has placed an additional 27 teaching interns in middle grades classrooms in the region.

Harrison said the 2003 teaching candidates will be selected according to a 2.50 minimum GPA requirement. 'The main intent is to find more high-quality teachers to place in 'high need' schools, and this new grant adds critical support for programs we have in place for that purpose.'

The Regents' announcement on Wednesday follows the recent announcement by the federal government that it is resurrecting the Troops to Teachers program that funds the teacher training of retired Fort Benning personnel who qualify for these same CSU alternative preparation programs.

For more information on CSU's alternative teacher preparation programs, including the Destination Teaching program, contact Charles Cumiskey at (706) 568-2255.

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Contact: Polly Adams, (706) 568-2255; E-mail: adams_polly@ColumbusState.edu
Charles Cumiskey, (706) 568-2255; E-mail: cumiskey_charles@ColumbusState.edu