Teacher Academy helps students, assistant teachers pursue career in education

Published: Sep. 17, 2021 at 9:52 AM CDT
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PASCAGOULA, Miss. (WLOX) - The Pascagoula-Gautier School District’s Teacher Academy is partnering with local universities to help jumpstart careers in education.

Around 25 teachers and assistant teachers working for the district are products of the Teacher Academy program.

“Students will get 12 hours credit just starting off it they’re going into Elementary Education. Then, they’re kind of fast-tracked, too,” said instructor Erika Reynolds.

Reynolds says the district is also collaborating with William Carey University and University of Southern Mississippi.

“They work with them so they can still keep their teacher assistant job,” said Reynolds. “While at the same time getting their education degree.”

The program is aimed at helping assistant teachers like Ella Pitts gain experience in the classroom. Pitts says teaching at Beach Elementary has given her experience that will help her progress on her career path.

“I want to do the teacher assistant program through USM or Carey, so I would continue with this job,” said Pitts. “Then, I would go straight into having a teaching license and go straight into another school as a full-time teacher.”

Students who enroll in the Teacher Academy will gain in-classroom teaching experience while still in high school. First grade teacher Melanie Verrett says she strongly encourages any high school student curious about being an educator to take advantage of the Teacher Academy.

“I really felt like I had my toolbox filled by Ms. Reynolds and the college. It really helped prepare me for what I was getting into,” said Verrett, who teaches at Beach Elementary.

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