- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 16, 2015

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) - A new program at William Carey University could help reduce the shortage of math and science teachers in Mississippi, officials said.

In the past 30 days, the Mississippi Department of Education reports there have been 36 openings for science teachers and 33 math teacher vacancies on the state job board.

William Carey Dean Ben Burnett told The Sun Herald in an email (https://bit.ly/1fefLiM) that the school will use a $296,000 grant from the Robert M. Hearin Foundation to fund 60 scholarships over three years for students wanting to teach science and math.

“School districts in the southern part of Mississippi consistently contact the School of Education in search of teachers for math and science positions. The grant will allow us to produce more math and science teachers to meet the needs of area districts,” Burnett said.

The Science and Mathematics Alternate Route Teacher - or SMART - program will help non-education graduates to become teachers. Students with degrees in math or science fields would submit their undergraduate GPA and scores on the Praxis tests, Burnett said.

After graduating, students can receive a three-year interim educator license and are enrolled in an internship course, during which they are monitored in their classrooms and attend weekend learning sessions.

After completing the one-year internship course they can receive a five-year educator license.

William Carey already has an alternate route program that trains non-education majors in teaching, but this is the first grant aimed specifically at science and math education.

The grant will be given to the school in three installments of $98,000 and will fund scholarships for 20 students each year. It will cover 12 semester hours of instruction, textbooks and other supplies.

The first SMART program will begin in July and the application deadline is June 22.

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Information from: The Sun Herald, https://www.sunherald.com

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