POMEROY — A $400,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Education’s Race to the Top funds has been received by the Athens-Meigs Educational Service Center (AMESC) to be used in the Teach Ohio Project which is geared to financially assisting current teachers interested in pursuing additional education in order to strengthen their classroom skills.
In explaining the program, William Buckley, project chairman for the AMESC, said the eligibility requirements call for a focus on current educators working on alternative, supplemental or temporary licenses, teachers not meeting HQT requirements, and second career individuals seeking initial licensure.
The grant funding goes through June of 2014. The emphasis of the program in that time frame is to facilitate additional education with the ultimate goal of putting highly qualified and properly licensed teachers in classrooms where there may be deficiencies now.
The funding which can be awarded to teachers who qualify to go into the program consists of payment of tuition, books and fees, but does not include travel expenses or any payment for the personal time involved.
Buckley explained that the program allows teachers who meet the required criteria to go back to school and get another degree which qualifies them to be licensed in another area of education. The program, said the coordinator, is to provide current teachers with an opportunity to go back to school at no cost for tuition, fees or books to equip themselves in areas where there is a current shortage of qualified teachers. Buckley said that there are currently about 20 potential candidates for the program.
The AMESC proposes to focus educator support in the following areas: increasing the number of intervention specialists (K-12) meeting the requirements for highly qualified status in all content areas; increasing the number of elementary and middle school teachers (K-8) that meet multiple content areas, and increasing the availability of teachers (K-12 with emphasis on 9-12 ) “hard to staff” contents; increasing the number of teachers (PK-12) having Masters Degrees in their
content area; recruiting second career degreed individuals to the education field; and develop with partners a long-term regional teacher supply plan.
Buckley said sustainability is “carefully addressed” throughout the course of the grant period.
“The program purpose is to build a long-term regional supply plan and accompanying strategies that will identify activities, purchases, and shared resources that will help sustain the supply of fully licensed and highly qualified eligible teachers in our schools,” he concluded.