Georgia Responds: Preparing New Teachers

CSU Behind New Program That Will Prepare Employees Affected By Recession and the Sept. 11 Disasters For New Careers as Teachers

 

Columbus, Ga. --- Colleges of education at 15 Georgia public universities are collaborating on a fast-track teacher-training program that will offer Georgia professionals who have lost jobs in the economic downturn, or as a result of the Sept. 11 disasters, new careers as teachers in Georgia's critically short-handed schools.

Education deans representing university system campuses statewide gathred in the Capitol in Atlanta today at 11 a.m., to announce plans for 'Georgia Responds: Creating Teaching Opportunities.'

The program creates a bridge between two statewide needs: the severe shortage of qualified teachers to fill thousands of vacancies in Georgia classrooms and the swelling pool of unemployed professionals displaced by the downsized job market in other sectors. 'Georgia Responds' is an alternative teacher certification model which offers college graduates with significant work experience in another field the opportunity to prepare for a teaching career.

Georgia public schools hired 12,000 teachers this year, but the state's universities graduated only 3,500 with a projected need for 18,500 more teachers by 2009.

'In our current recession, and due to the Sept. 11 disasters, many Georgia companies and industries are being forced to dismiss employees and curtail customer services,' said Thomas Harrison, dean of the College of Education at Columbus State University. It was his idea that led to the program.

'Many of these displaced employees have college degrees and work experience that provide an excellent foundation for teaching. This program will build upon those strengths with a solid, but accelerated, preparation in teaching skills and competencies leading to certification,' Harrison said.

The offer also extends to former teachers and others whose certificates have lapsed or expired.

Harrison said the program is founded on 'an unwavering commitment to quality' while allowing a fast and flexible format for the course work and intensive supervised classroom practice. Georgia Responds will carry the full Board of Regents' Educator Preparation Guarantee and will operate with cross-university transfer and flexibility and with extensive collaboration among the University System colleges of education in offering course work in the various teaching certification areas.

A Georgia Responds Web site is online with information on the program and links to participating institutions at gcsu.edu/georgiaresponds.

The program opens in January for individuals with lapsed teaching certificates and no later than Summer 2002 for applicants with a bachelor's or higher degree seeking first-time certification. Participants will be eligible for full employment under an intern certificate in August 2002, and those who complete the program can obtain a renewable teaching certificate from the Georgia Professional Standards Commission.

All of the participating colleges of education are in the university system of Georgia: Albany State University, Armstrong-Atlantic State University, Augusta State University, Clayton College & State University, Columbus State University, Fort Valley State University, Georgia College & State University, Georgia Southern University, Georgia Southwestern State University, Georgia State University, Kennesaw State University, North Georgia College & State University, State University of West Georgia, University of Georgia, and Valdosta State University.

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For more information, please contact College of Education Dean Thomas Harrison at (706) 568-2212 or by e-mail at harrison_thomas@ColumbusState.edu.