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New Dual Enrollment Program to Create Affordable Pathway to a Teaching Degree, Prepare Highly-Qualified Teachers for Johnston County

From left, David Johnson, Johnston Community College president; Ross Renfrow, superintendent of Johnston County Public Schools; and Mary Ann Danowitz, dean of the NC State College of Education, signed a memorandum of understanding Monday, Jan. 14, launching the Associate in Science (Teacher Education Concentration) dual enrollment degree program.

SMITHFIELD, N.C.—Johnston County Public Schools, Johnston Community College and the NC State College of Education are establishing a dual enrollment program and piloting an Associate in Science (Teacher Education Concentration) degree to create an affordable pathway to earn a teaching degree and to supply highly-qualified teachers for Johnston County.

“We need to continue to strengthen the talent pipeline for North Carolina teachers. The Associate in Science (Teacher Education Concentration) offers a seamless teacher preparation pathway that begins in high school,” said Lisa Chapman, senior vice president and chief academic officer with the N.C. Community College System. “This Johnston County Schools, Johnston Community College and NC State College of Education partnership will engage potential teachers early in their high school career, will ensure they understand the available teaching opportunities specifically in Johnston County, and understand what those opportunities require in terms of preparation and what they provide in terms of a career. The planned support from all three partners provided throughout the Associate Degree (including the dual enrollment coursework) will help students stay on track, maintain momentum, and complete their baccalaureate with minimal debt.”

Through the partnership, Johnston County residents will complete their Associate in Science (Teacher Education Concentration) from Johnston Community College. If they complete the program with at least a 3.0 GPA, they will matriculate into a teacher preparation program at NC State University. As the students work toward completing their bachelor’s degree, they will receive field-based experiences in Johnston County.

The Associate in Science (Teacher Education Concentration) is the first of its kind within the North Carolina Community College System, and will serve as a pilot to help prepare teachers who serve rural communities in the state.

“Whether we want to acknowledge it or not, there is a teacher shortage nationally and we cannot continue to do the same things over and over again. We have to tackle this ourselves,” said Johnston County Public Schools Superintendent David Ross Renfrow. “We need Future Teachers of America clubs at elementary, middle and high schools to groom anyone who wants to be a teacher. Thanks to this program, we can now start growing our own teachers in Johnston County.”

In its initial phase, the dual enrollment program is recruiting high school students and employees in the Johnston County Public Schools, as well as current Johnston Community College students.

“Johnston Community College has trained early childhood educators for many years, and we are excited about the opportunity to now partner in this dual-enrolled program and grow our own highly-qualified teachers in Johnston County,” Johnston Community College President David N. Johnson said.

Rather than being a traditional 2-plus-2 transfer program, the dual enrollment program is taking a “wrap-around approach” to identifying and supporting future teachers. Future teachers will be identified as early as high school; and once students begin working on their associate’s degree at Johnston Community College, the NC State College of Education will be involved throughout the program by providing academic advising, co-teaching, synchronous classroom experiences and on-campus enrichment opportunities that align with the college’s course of study.

“This initiative represents the best of collaborations to ensure a seamless pathway to develop the talents and aspirations of students who will return to their community to teach,” said NC State College of Education Dean Mary Ann Danowitz. “We look at this program as becoming a prototype and an exemplar for other districts, community colleges and four-year institutions to help address a critical workforce shortage.”

The Associate in Science (Teacher Education Concentration) program will enroll its first students in Fall 2019. You can learn more about the program here or complete the form below to have someone contact you.

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