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Saturday, May 25, 2013
TEACH Project Prepares More Teachers
[Monday, June 04, 2012]
An online alternative certification program delivered by Texas A&M University-Kingsville should add more teachers in high-demand subjects within a year to several Rio Grande Valley school districts.
Recruiter Karen J. Kelly spoke to prospective students about the Teachers Earning Alternative Certification Here (TEACH) Project at the University Center, located at Texas State Technical College Harlingen (TSTC), on May 31. The TEACH Project is a collaboration between A&M-Kingsville and the University of Louisiana-Monroe funded by a $3.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education as part of the federal Transition to Teaching Program, according to a university press release. Its goal is to recruit recent college graduates and mid-career professionals from industries outside of education to prepare them for teaching science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects, special education and English as a Second Language (ESL).
TSTC President Dr. Cesar Maldonado said that the University Center, where A&M-Kingsville is one of eight universities are part of the South Texas Educational Partnership (STEP), served as an appropriate setting for the TEACH Project meeting.
“Through these TSTC collaborations we are able to bring educational opportunities not only to our students but to members of the community at large,” he said. “The TEACH Project is a perfect match for our mission of promoting science and technology related initiatives. The credit transfer agreement that allows Education & Training Program graduates from TSTC to complete a bachelor’s degree with A&M-Kingsville to become teachers is another strong foundation for future teachers in our state.”
There are two incentives for TEACH students who commit to become instructors with certification in a designated subject for three years in San Benito, La Feria, Donna, Pharr-San Juan-Alamo, Mission and La Joya: a $3,000 stipend worth $1,000 per year and an iPad computer notebook.
“We’ve made a push to offer students this program online taught by our faculty and that’s going to be a selling point,” Kelly said. “Anyone who’s interested should contact us right away so we can get the application process going because the classes start July 9.”
Rey Rodriguez of San Benito attended the information session. He said that he graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in kinesiology in 2008 and works as a math tutor for the San Benito Consolidated Independent School District. He added, “My family includes a long line of teachers and I get the feeling that I have a passion for this.”
Deborah Osorino of Harlingen, who graduated from the University of Texas-Pan American in 2011, said that she regularly gets job interviews with schools for full-time jobs and more bilingual positions are becoming available in subjects across all grade levels.
“I need to be more marketable as a job applicant. I know I need the teacher certification,” she said.
Kelly said that she expects more Valley school districts to participate in the future. The plan calls for 25 TEACH students to enter the program each year during the five-year grant. One TEACH Project class meeting per month at Kingsville for professional development will be mandatory for all students.
“We encourage people to become teachers in the STEM, special education and ESL areas because we know the graduates are going to find jobs,” she said. “Every school district we work with has multiple openings in these categories so we know the jobs are out there.”
The TEACH Project is part of the Alternative Certification Program at A&M-Kingsville and students are encouraged to submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Program participants are admitted as graduate students who pay regular tuition rates, but there is a temporary waiver in effect on some admission fees for first-time graduate students, Kelly said. Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree with a cumulative grade point average of 2.6 by the time they start the program.
To apply for the College of Graduate Studies at A&M-Kingsville, go online to
and an application to the ACP at Kingsville is available at
. Kelly’s phone number is 361.593.3037 and her e-mail address is
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