LITTLE ROCK — University of Arkansas and state Department of Education officials are encouraging college seniors who are interested in teaching to apply for fellowships under the new Arkansas Teacher Corps program, which seeks to address teacher shortages in high-need subject areas and economically disadvantaged districts.
People accepted into the program will go through an intensive six- to eight-week training program. The program will guide them through the non-traditional licensure process and put them on an accelerate path to being certified in subject areas most needed by Arkansas school districts.
Officials say they hope to place 30 to 40 fellows in five to eight districts by August and have 100 fellows teaching across the state by 2015. Fellows will receive a $5,000 stipend per year in addition to their teacher salary.
There are two application deadlines, a Jan. 18 “early decision” deadline and a March 15 deadline. The application is available on the program’s website.
“This program will help us meet needs in the state currently not being met by us or other colleges of education in the state,” said Tom Smith, dean of UA’s College of Education and Health professions. “We want to offer multiple paths for teacher candidates with the ultimate result that students will have the best teachers possible in their classrooms.”
The program, developed by UA, has the support of the state Department of Education and will collaborate with school districts and community organizations. The College of Education and Health Professions, the Walton Family Foundation and the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation have provided funding.
“We have an opportunity with Arkansas Teacher Corps to implement highly transformative measures,” said state Education Commissioner Tom Kimbrell. “With so many teachers leaving the classroom in the next decade, there is an increased sense of urgency to recruit the next generation of teachers and to experiment with more innovative programs. Our state’s future depends on our efforts to attract and retain highly effective teachers.”