New Teachers Sought Among Area Professionals

COLUMBUS --- Degree-holding professionals considering a career change to teaching should attend a recruiting forum for Columbus State Universitys Teacher Alternative Preparation Program (TAPP) at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 25. The College of Education will host the event in the Lumpkin Center Presidents Club.

CSU has prepared nearly 70 teachers through the program since its 2001 inception. Half of these educators serve in the Muscogee County School District.

A Georgia Professional Standards Commissions initiative to address a critical shortage of teachers, the program targets degree-holding individuals with basic qualifications to teach subjects such as mathematics, science, English, special education and foreign language in middle grades through high school.

Selected applicants will begin summer-long, pre-classroom training in May at CSU focusing on curriculum planning and strategies and related teaching concepts. In fall 2005 they will enter classrooms as teaching interns, mentored and evaluated by senior teaching colleagues and faculty from CSUs teacher education department. Successful candidates earn certification with two years of internship and additional coursework.

Past TAPP candidates at CSU have transitioned to the classroom from positions ranging from fast food restaurant manager and television news producer to publisher and social worker. For example Rosa Shelton the lead seventh grade teacher at Marshall Middle School, entered TAPP at CSU in 2001after social work experience with disadvantaged children in Washington D.C. and Africa. She subsequently was recognized by then-Gov. Roy Barnes as an outstanding TAPP intern and went on to earn Muscogee County Middle School Technology Teacher of the Year honors.

Another CSU TAPP graduate (2003), Shaw High School history teacher Ammie Whitley, said the program produces a unique variation of teacher. (We) have real-life experience from previous careers and a wealth of stories, as well as resources, that traditionally trained teachers may not have, said Whitley who previously worked for the Georgia Department of Labor.

Charlie Cumiskey, who coordinates the program for CSU, said early questions about how non-traditionally prepared individuals could become effective teachers have been dispelled by these educators maturity, real life experiences and determination to succeed.

CSUs TAPP has been recognized as one of the most comprehensive and successful in Georgia. The major portion of that success is attributed to the on-site alternate weekly visits to each interns classroom by trained observers, and by required attendance at campus seminars the following weeks, Cumiskey said.

CSU will accept applications for the program through March 18. For more information, contact Cumiskey at (706) 565-7803.

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Contact: Charlie Cumiskey, (706) 565-7803, E-mail: cumiskey_charles@ColumbusState.edu