WCU, PRCC receives grant to continue program to help teacher shortage

WCU, PRCC receives grant to continue program to help teacher shortage
Pearl River Community College president Dr. Adam Breerwood (left), Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation CEO/president Clyde Dease Jr. (center), and William Carey University president Dr. Ben Burnett (right) (Source: Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation)

PEARL RIVER, Miss. (WDAM) - Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation has renewed their grant with the William Carey University of College of Education and Pearl River Community College for their partnership to attack Mississippi’s lasting teacher shortage at the local level.

The $36,000 grant was announced at a luncheon at Pearl River Community College on Wednesday, Sept. 4.

CEO/President of Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation Clyde Dease Jr. said that the foundation supports the efforts of William Carey University, and the schools and communities will benefit from it.

“The foundation supports the efforts of William Carey University to partner with PRCC to address the shortage of certified teachers in our district,” said Dease “Our schools and community will be the long-term beneficiaries.”

WCU and PRCC houses a third and fourth-year teacher education program at the PRCC campus through the partnership, and participating education students can remain at the community college campus after their graduation and finish their bachelor’s degree at WCU.

The grant supports an on-site coordinator and helps defray instructional expenses while WCU helps support the program by reducing the hourly tuition rate for those students.

Students in the program can agree to teach for a minimum of three years in one of Pearl River County’s three school districts – Pearl River County, Picayune or Poplarville.

Dean of WCU School of Education, Dr. Ben Burnett, said the university is committed to assisting K-12 schools in Mississippi during the teacher shortage.

“William Carey University is committed to assisting K-12 schools across the state during this crucial teacher shortage,”said Burnett.

Burnett showed gratitude towards the Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation for helping WCU recruit teacher candidates to contribute to the lives of children in south Mississippi.

“We appreciate the generosity of Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation and the willingness of Pearl River Community College’s president, Dr. Adam Breerwood, and his entire staff in helping us recruit and education teacher candidates who will contribute to the live of children across south Mississippi for years to come,” said Burnett.

Dease said he would like to see these types of programs across the state and Burnett would agree by stating how WCU’s teacher education enrolled has increased since the partnership.

“While most colleges of teacher education fare experiencing a decline, William Carey’s undergraduate teacher education enrollment increased by 25 percent this school year,” said Burnett. “This is due, in part, to the great students in our PRCC partnership program. We look forward to not only continuing this program but also to expanding it in the future.”

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