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UNC School of Education collaborates to launch new teacher pipeline program

Teach in Person strengthens School’s collaborative efforts in Person County

A new grow-your-own teacher pipeline effort will launch in Person County this fall through a collaboration between the UNC School of Education, Person County Schools, and Piedmont Community College.

The program, titled Teach in Person, will support Person County students interested in pursuing a career in teaching through the creation of a new pathway from Person County Schools to Piedmont Community College to UNC-Chapel Hill and then back to a Person County classroom. Teach in Person will prepare high-quality educators from Person County with the aim that they will return to teach in the district, helping to avoid potential future staff shortages.

The new teacher pipeline program builds upon existing collaborations between UNC-Chapel Hill and Person County Schools — Carolina Community Academy and the Fellows for Inclusive Excellence — that work to provide the district’s students with highly effective educators.

“Teach in Person is a natural evolution of our collaborative work with Person County Schools,” said Fouad Abd-El-Khalick, Ph.D., dean of the School of Education and Alumni Distinguished Professor. “Carolina Community Academy is an effort to make deep impact in the community, and this teacher pipeline has the potential to deepen that impact through critical workforce development.

“Piedmont Community College is a key partner in that workforce development and this program. This work will not be easy, but the pieces are in place to recruit and prepare Person County’s best and brightest as the next generation of educators.”

Teach in Person will draw upon resources from all three collaborating institutions to support the program’s participants along their pathway to teaching licensure. Upon graduating from either Person High School or Person Early College for Innovation and Leadership, those aspiring teachers will matriculate to Piedmont Community College, taking courses with credits eligible for transfer to UNC-Chapel Hill and a teacher licensure pathway.

At Carolina, participants will enroll in the School of Education’s Human Development and Family Science (HDFS) program with a Pre-Master of Arts in Teaching affiliation. Once graduated from the HDFS program, they will enroll in the 12-month Master of Arts in Teaching program, completing coursework and a year-long student-teaching experience, potentially in a Person County classroom.

Counselors and advisers from all three institutions will work together to serve as a resource for students, guiding them in applying to each step of the program, understanding prerequisites and admissions requirements, and selecting and registering for applicable courses. Job shadowing and internship opportunities will also be available to students.

“As fewer and fewer students enter into teacher preparation programs, we are excited to partner with UNC-Chapel Hill and Piedmont Community College to create a pipeline to ‘grow our own,’” said Rodney Peterson, Ed.D., superintendent of Person County Schools. “We also recognize the value of being able to follow our students step-by-step through this journey as they work to become highly qualified teachers. Teach in Person is an innovative pathway that will allow us to place teachers in classrooms who are well prepared but are also vested in our small community.”

“Teach in Person is an exciting opportunity for Piedmont Community College, where we can strengthen our community and build for the future starting here at home in Person County,” said Pamela G. Senegal, Ed.D., president of Piedmont Community College. “Our goal as an institution is to act as a resource for Person and Caswell Counties, support economic development within these areas, and foster progress for future generations. We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with our local school district and now the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to offer a clear pathway to reach fulfilling careers for those passionate about teaching.”

The program will also engage UNC-Chapel Hill teaching interns, potentially Fellows for Inclusive Excellence cohort members, working in Person County to mentor participating students.

Teach in Person also will offer scholarship opportunities; at Piedmont Community College, students will be eligible for the Pacer Promise Scholarship, and at Carolina, they will be eligible for scholarships offered by the University and the School of Education. Teach in Person participants will also be encouraged to apply to become North Carolina Teaching Fellows.

“The teacher pipeline is something I think of near constantly,” said Diana Lys, Ed.D., assistant dean for educator preparation and accreditation. “There are many grow-your-own initiatives, yet this collaboration has a different feeling to it. Teach in Person is a true alliance with each partner supporting future teachers at each step along the pipeline.”

Teach in Person will begin identifying and advising its first cohort members in fall 2023.

Carolina Community Academy, an innovative K-2 school in Roxboro, N.C., and a collaboration with Person County Schools, launched ahead of the 2022-23 school year and takes a “whole child” approach, providing its students and their families with robust wraparound services through additional staffing and expertise across a range of fields at UNC-Chapel Hill.

In March, the School announced an anonymous $3 million gift to create the Fellows for Inclusive Excellence. The program will place School of Education teaching and counseling students in internships and recent alumni in rural, Title 1 schools, beginning in Person and Chatham counties’ schools.