Goals of the Partnership:
The “Grow Your Own” program is designed to address Mississippi’s critical teacher shortage. It will enable high school students who want to become classroom teachers to fast-track their careers through a combination of dual enrollment classes, an accelerated schedule and tuition waivers. Through the program, these students can graduate from William Carey University with a bachelor’s degree in three years. Because the curriculum includes employment as teaching assistants, these students will also be able to enter the state retirement system and qualify for state benefits during their second year at WCU.
How it works:
- High school: Participating K-12 school districts choose students to participate in the “Grow Your Own” program. WCU counselors advise students on their schedules. Students graduate from their high schools with 12 hours of dual enrollment credits from William Carey University.
- Year 1 at WCU: Students begin WCU classes the summer after they graduate from high school. They then take fall, winter and spring classes at WCU. Finally, they finish year one with summer classes. During this year, K-12 school districts coordinate placements for their chosen students as K-3 teacher assistants in district schools.
- Year 2 at WCU: Students take classes at WCU in the fall, winter, spring and summer semesters. They also work as teacher assistants at a school in their K-12 district. Employment as teacher assistants has two benefits: 1) they enter the state retirement system; and 2) they qualify for 50 percent tuition waivers from WCU.
- Year 3 at WCU: Students take classes at WCU in the fall, winter and spring trimesters. They also continue working as teacher assistants at a school in their K-12 district.
- After graduation: At the end of the third year, students have earned 131 credit hours and graduate with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. Participating school districts agree to give hiring preference for teaching positions, when possible, to WCU graduates of the “Grow Your Own” program.
For more information:
Dr. Ben Burnett
WCU Executive Vice President
Office: (601) 318-6144
Dr. Katie Tonore - Hattiesburg Campus
School of Education Teacher Education Chair
Office: (601) 318-6266
Dr. Lori Windham - Tradition Campus
School of Education Undergraduate Program Coordinator
Office: (228) 702-1842
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