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College of Education

New UofSC initiative aims to reduce shortage of teachers in rural areas

The College of Education’s collaborative program will support a pipeline to prepare teachers for rural South Carolina communities.

Contact: Carol J.G. Ward

March 2020 - Nowhere in South Carolina is the teacher shortage more strongly felt than in rural regions of the state. In response to this continuing challenge, the College of Education has developed the Carolina Collaborative for Alternative Preparation.

The State Board of Education recently approved Carolina CAP as a new alternative pathway to teacher certification. This approval paves the way for rural districts to address teacher shortages through a partnership including the University of South Carolina, Center for Teaching Quality and a consortium of rural districts.

The partnership marries the expertise of local teachers, schools and districts with a delivery model that will be responsive to the needs of teacher candidates, school districts and diverse populations of children that they are serving.

“The Carolina CAP model allows us to invest in and grow our own cohort of dedicated educators within our county. This investment in human capital will afford sustainability and retention within our district,” said Marcella Shaw, superintendent of Barnwell 29 School District, the first district to sign on as a pilot for the program.

Carolina CAP is the first comprehensive, university-based approach to alternative preparation of educators in South Carolina. Drawing upon bachelor’s degree-holding teacher candidates identified by school districts, Carolina CAP provides a combination of coursework and micro-credentials to address the real-time needs of teachers. Carolina CAP teachers will be supported through strong coaching, based in part on the strategies employed in the College of Education’s Carolina Teacher Induction Program. The program will also draw upon a co-teaching model to lend additional support to candidates.

“Carolina CAP provides unique opportunities for the College of Education to support many of our most underserved rural regions across South Carolina and serves as a roadmap for the ways in which universities can support districts in the preparation of teachers in areas that are distant from campus,” said College of Education Dean Jon Pederson.

The College of Education’s partnership with Center for Teaching Quality accelerates the college’s work around innovative aspects of the program, including the development and integration of micro-credentials and provides additional expertise in recruitment and development for the program.

“The Carolina CAP model offers a unique opportunity for Center for Teaching Quality to work alongside school district educators and UofSC faculty to imbed personalized, competency-based professional learning in the preparation experience for teacher candidates and coaches supporting them. This tri-partnership is designed to ensure that the model is informed by district context and university expertise,” said center president and partner Ann Byrd.

Carolina CAP will launch in the summer of 2020 and will combine forces with the Transitions to Teaching grant-funded project to support the College of Education’s efforts to diversify its pathways to the teaching profession and fulfill the mission to serve communities across the state.

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