A North Country Teacher Certification Program spearheaded by Plymouth State University is providing access and opportunity to prospective North Country teachers.
Plymouth State is partnering with the New Hampshire Community Technical College-Berlin (NHCTC-B) and Granite State College (GSC), where 15 students can now participate in PSU’s NCATE-accredited education programs to earn bachelor’s degrees in childhood studies, with teacher certification.
Students in the North Country can earn associate’s degrees from NHCTC-B or bachelor’s degrees from GSC, but neither school can certify teachers. NCATE (National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education) is the standard of excellence for teacher preparation, and PSU programs have been certified for 50 years.
Project director Irene Mosedale, a Plymouth State alumna and faculty member says, “There will be an increasing need for certified teachers in the North Country region of New Hampshire as more and more teachers retire. As a regional university, PSU is committed to reaching out to students who, for a number of reasons, are place bound and cannot commute to Plymouth for classes.” PSU is responsible for planning with the partner institutions, as well as implementing and funding the program.
Katherine Eneguess, president of NHCTC-B and also a PSU alumna says, “The New Hampshire Community Technical College is very excited to be part of this cutting-edge way to offer a bachelor-level experience for our rural college students. The teacher education program is of critical importance to the next generation of teachers located in all of our northern communities. We are very pleased to be working in such a collaborative way with the renowned teacher education program at Plymouth State University, sharing resources, faculty and programs.”
Mosedale continues, “The cohort of 15 students was carefully selected to participate in this pilot program. Most began as students at North Country branches of NHCTC or GSC. Now they are juniors at PSU pursuing Bachelor of Science degrees in childhood studies with certification, with all the same rights and responsibilities as any other fully admitted PSU student.” The students take their PSU courses together at NHCTC-B, and are taught by faculty from all three of the partner institutions. In addition, they can enroll in NHCTC or Granite State courses for their elective credits, thus broadening their options. Students will travel to PSU with their families and friends to participate in PSU’s commencement ceremony in May 2007.
The students range from traditional-age college students to non-traditional students of all ages. They come from North Country towns including Conway, Intervale, Berlin, Dalton, Groveton, Lancaster, Gorham and Milan. Many already work in schools as paraprofessionals. Becoming certified as teachers will help them advance in their careers and provide financial stability, while expanding the number of teachers in the North Country.
Carol Lacroix, president of Granite State College says, “This is a true partnership that not only meets a workforce need, but in the process makes good use of our collective resources.”
The pilot project will run from fall 2005 through fall 2007, with four semesters of course work and one semester of student teaching. The initiative is being carefully documented and assessed to make future replication possible.
Barney Keenan, dean of external programs and university centers for GSC says, “This effort reflects a new model for system-wide academic planning and delivery; it reflects a commitment to outreach and to serve students who do not have the opportunity to attend a residential campus.”
Student Tina Mooney says, “I live in Dalton and have two grown children. Becoming a primary classroom teacher has been a dream for a long time. I am very proud and excited to be part of the NCTCP. Dreams can come true!”