COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - The state department of education will use federal funds to expand two programs and add a third in an effort to combat the state’s teacher shortage.
The South Carolina Department of Education will use more than $2 million in federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funding for the projects.
“There is no profession more rewarding or more crucial to the future success of our state and nation than teaching,” State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman said. “If we are truly committed to ensuring every South Carolina classroom is led by a high-quality teacher, we must act now to address our growing teacher shortage. Whether you are in high school, college, or someone seeking a more fulfilling career, I encourage you to check out these proven programs and consider becoming a teacher and having a lifelong impact on current and future generations of learners.”
Officials say $1.7 million of the ESSER funds will go to national nonprofit, TEACH.
The TEACH South Carolina initiative will draw on a statewide coalition of schools, government, community organizations and nonprofits to recruit teachers and assist in the certification process of new teachers.
Officials see TEACHSC and its resource website TEACHSC.org as a way to address barriers to teaching and pair new teachers with programs that meet their needs.
The state is also allocating $1.2 million to the Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention and Advancement to expand their Teaching Fellows program to recruit high school seniors into teaching and help them develop leadership skills.
Education officials hope the partnership will address the shortages worsened by COVID-19 and stabilize and support the workforce.
The remaining $600,000 in ESSER funding is going towards Clemson University’s Call Me MISTER initiative.
Clemson’s Mentors Instructing Students Toward Effective Role Models program includes 18 four-year partner colleges and nine, two-year technical colleges in the Palmetto State to increase the pool of available teachers from diverse backgrounds.
Officials say the funds will support existing Call Me MISTER programs and support up to 60 additional MISTERs.
According to CERRA data, between 5,000 and 7,000 teachers retire, transfer or leave the profession early each year, while only 2,000 new teachers graduate annually in the state.
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