The University of Maryland, Prince George’s Community College and Prince George’s County Public Schools announced a dual enrollment program today to increase the teaching workforce in the state.
The Middle College Program enables high schoolers from county schools to earn an associate of arts degree in teaching while completing their high school requirements. Dual enrollment students can then transfer seamlessly into the UMD College of Education’s undergraduate teaching program; the program also aligns with Bowie State University and Howard University’s academic requirements.
“The collaboration is a reflection of our commitment to developing innovative new pathways to prepare an excellent and diverse teacher workforce for Prince George’s County Public Schools and for the state of Maryland,” said Jennifer King Rice, dean of the College of Education. “This model of ‘growing your own’ teachers will increase diversity in the education field, develop teachers from the local community and address critical teaching shortages.”
In response to the field’s personnel needs, Middle College Program students choose from three teaching pathways: early childhood/early childhood special education, middle school math/science and special education. Students also receive support from UMD faculty and staff, including acclimation to the campus and preparation for teaching assessments.
“We are enthusiastic about working together with the University of Maryland to extend possibilities for our students,” said Mara Doss, associate vice president for teaching, learning, and student success at Prince George’s Community College. “This collaboration guarantees support that prepares students for success and timely completion, removes barriers to transfer, and clarifies pathways to the four-year degree.”
The Teacher Preparation Program, established in 2017 as part of the community college’s Academy of Health Sciences, provides dual enrollment students with an opportunity to earn an associate’s degree in teacher education. The Early and Middle College programs primarily serve first-generation and other underrepresented students. The Teacher Preparation Program will graduate its inaugural cohort of 31 students in Spring 2021, with the students ready to enter UMD’s teaching program in Fall 2021.
“As we prepare educators for teaching, one of the biggest things is helping them see the importance of partnerships within the local community and in getting to know the families,” said Sonya Riley Ph.D. ’19, who manages the Middle College Teacher Preparation Program partnership at UMD’s College of Education. “As a grow-your-own teaching program, our commitment allows us to bring students from the community, prepare them for the classroom, help them to understand that all students can learn, and then graduate them so they can go back into our local communities, or any community for that matter, and use what they’ve learned in our teacher preparation courses to assist them in their teaching.”
One of many partnerships between the College of Education and local schools, the Middle College Program reflects a commitment to increasing UMD enrollments from county public schools and improving public education in the local school system.
“As we grow the next generation of educators, we are proud to work with the University of Maryland in our dual enrollment collaboration with Prince George’s Community College,” said Monica Goldson, chief executive officer of Prince George’s County Public Schools. “This partnership introduces young people to the rewards of teaching and shaping minds for a lifetime of learning.”