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West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Clayton Burch is leading a tour over the next several weeks to inspire more students to become teachers.
The state is currently about 1,000 teachers short, according to state officials.
Burch kicked off the tour in Kanawha County last week. It’s aimed at educating more young people about the state’s new Grow Your Own Pathways to Teaching Initiative.
“Our tour began with visits to more than 70 students in Kanawha County, and they were eager to learn about this opportunity,” Burch said. “This initiative offers students a roadmap to teaching that addresses a critical need while providing high-caliber enrichment and preparation.”
Grow Your Own was officially announced in February and will kick off in the fall. It will provide high school students who are interested in becoming teachers opportunities to get a headstart on their teaching degrees before graduation.
Twenty-nine counties are participating in the Grow Your Own pilot project, which is one of several TeachWV initiatives.
The West Virginia Department of Education recently revamped the website, teachwv.com, to offer detailed information about alternative pathways to teaching, teacher preparation programs, and testimonials from college students and classroom teachers.
The counties in Grow Your Own will work with partnering higher education institutions.
By the time students graduate high school, they can earn up to 30 college credits through the program and complete a year of college at significantly reduced cost.
According to a news release, this gives them an advanced position in college to finish course requirements, begin their teacher residency, and earn their bachelor’s degree within three years.
Next stops on the tour include Mingo, Upshur, Braxton, Monroe, Mercer, Summers, Ohio, Marshall, Tyler and Pocahontas counties.
Students can begin the program next school year.