Educational institutions in Madison County are “Stepping Up” to make a significant commitment to address the need for teachers in Anderson and Madison County communities. As a joint venture involving Anderson University, Ivy Tech State College, Anderson Community Schools and the Alexandria School Corporation, a new program called “Step-Up” will implement a plan for the recruitment and professional development of elementary teachers. “Step-Up” is made possible through a Title II teacher preparation grant of $87,000 supported by the Indiana Professional Standards Board.
Through “Step-Up,” non-degreed classroom assistants currently employed by the school systems will be invited to pursue an intensive education program leading to a degree, licensure, and ultimately, interview opportunities as teachers in Anderson or Alexandria schools. It is anticipated a cohort group of 12 students will begin the program as early as the fall, 2002, semester. Scholarship opportunities for the “Step-Up” program are available to qualified students.
Participants will begin the program by earning an associate degree in Early Childhood Education through Ivy Tech State College, and then “Step-Up” to Anderson University for completion of a bachelors’ degree in education. All coursework will be based on Indiana Professional Standards Board Developmental Standards and the INTASC Principles for Educators. Faculty from AU and Ivy Tech will work with student cohort groups in the classroom and in field-based professional activities. Classes will be offered in the afternoons and early evenings to accommodate participant schedules. Upon graduation and after completing licensing certification, each program participant’s professional development will continue through mentoring and assessment by the same supervisor who served the candidate during the student teaching experience.
According to Diana Ross, chair of the School of Education at Anderson University, the “Step-Up” concept utilizes “the learning community concept to prepare candidates to become effective educators for students in the Alexandria/Anderson communities.”
“An aging teacher population, diminishing numbers of individuals moving to Madison County, and attrition of newly hired teachers support the need to home-grow a teaching force from individuals already committed to the community,” said Ross. “The nation is facing a teaching shortage,” she noted. “Small areas such as Anderson and Alexandria face an impossible battle in competing for new teachers.”
Conversations among local school corporations, community members, and University and College officials have determined that “We have a teaching force right here – teacher’s assistants; we have the colleges to train them – Ivy Tech and Anderson University; we have a community to provide support to the candidates and we have the school corporations to hire them - Anderson and Alexandria,” Ross said.
For more information about the “Step-Up” program, interested persons should contact Dr. Nancy Hoffman, Ivy Tech State College program chair for Early Childhood Education, (800) 589-8324, ext. 407, or Dr. Diana Ross at (800) 428-6414.