VCSC education pathway to encourage future teachers

Apr. 27—Starting next year, the Vigo County School Corp. will fully implement a new education professions dual credit pathway that hopefully will encourage more students to enter teaching.

The school board approved the program Monday. It is a joint effort between VCSC and Indiana State University.

One of the goals is to encourage students to enter teaching, especially in shortage areas, said Doug Dillion, district CTE curriculum coordinator.

The initiative is part of the state Next Level Programs of Study, aimed at better directing students toward a career path. "It modernizes a lot of career pathways that needed updating," Dillion said.

With the updated education professions pathway, students could earn up to 15 college credits.

The first year, students would take two dual-credit courses at the high school, Principles of Teaching and the Psychology of Childhood and Adolescence, which include observation hours. Both courses are three credit hours each and would take place all year.

The second year, students would go to ISU's Bayh College of Education for a three-hour block to take three courses: the Exceptional Learner in the Regular Classroom; Children's Literature; and Education in a Multicultural Society.

Second-year courses would be taught by ISU faculty, and VCSC would pay 50% for the instructor. The courses would take place all year.

By having students at ISU, "This gives us an opportunity to get them introduced to college professors, the College of Education and also show them the multiple routes" in teaching they can pursue, Dillion said.

Students would learn more about teaching opportunities in middle and high school as well as specialty areas, he said. "We need a better avenue to introduce and show them, hey, science education is fun. If they go see that big beautiful science building at the college and see what science ed classes are like in college, they might pursue that."

The greatest need right now is in special education, Dillion said. Other areas include technology and engineering education, family and consumer sciences, higher level math and science areas that include chemistry, biology, botany, zoology and physics.

Students who complete the pathway would be able to transfer to ISU and other institutions as well, he said.

VCSC plans to share it's new program with the Governor's Workforce Cabinet and the goal is for other school districts in the region to benefit from the program, Dillion said.

The maximum ISU could charge students for tuition would be $25 per credit hour, although the classes would have to be free for students on free/reduced lunch, Dillion said.

Some grants may be available to help address those costs, he said.

The board also approved plans for a 2022 summer school program for incoming K-2 students at each elementary school. It would provide time for students to strengthen academic skills prior to the start of a new school year.

The voluntary program would run from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Aug. 1-5. Transportation will be offered.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or at sue.loughlin@tribstar.com Follow Sue on Twitter @TribStarSue.