MDE announced this week that it is launching an initiative to increase the number of qualified teachers entering and remaining in the profession through teacher-residency and performance-based licensure programs. The project is funded by a $4.1 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to address the achievement gaps in high poverty, high minority schools and schools that lack a diverse teaching staff.
The grant will fund the Mississippi Teacher Residency (MTR) program, which is a collaboration among the MDE, Jackson Public Schools, Sunflower County School District, Biloxi Public Schools and Ocean Springs School District. The program will recruit 35 diverse teacher candidates, pay their undergraduate tuition, and place them in the classroom of a highly skilled or National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT) mentor for two years. Candidates will be required to teach in the districts for three years after completing their residency program. The teaching candidates will be AmeriCorps members and receive full tuition to complete their undergraduate studies. Mentor teachers will earn a $5,000 annual stipend.
The W.K. Kellogg grant will also fund a performance-based teacher licensure pilot program, which will help a select group of teachers with provisional licenses become fully licensed. The program is aimed at teachers who have proven to be effective in the classroom, but who are struggling to pass licensure exams. Teachers in the performance-based licensure program also make a three-year commitment to remain teaching in their respective districts. Recruitment for the Mississippi Teacher Residency and performance-based licensure programs will start in spring 2019 for the 2019-20 school year.