Teacher Recruitment Scholarship Program Expands to MSSU

February 26 – The Ozarks Teacher Corps, a community foundation of the Ozarks program designed to recruit new teachers to rural school districts, has expanded to Missouri Southern State University.

The program will begin accepting applications from teacher education students at Missouri Southern and Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau. Previously, the program was only available to students at Missouri State University and Drury University in Springfield.

The program provides $2,000 per year for up to two years if students commit to teaching in a rural school district for three years after graduation. Participating students will also receive special training on topics such as place-based education and the needs of rural students, and they will join a network of Ozarks Teacher Corps alumni and other environmental advocates. rural education.

Missouri Southern was selected as the program’s partner because of its “strong” teacher education department and location in the southern part of the state, said Aaron Scott, director of communications and marketing for the foundation.

“Knowing that students who come from hometowns near Joplin are likely to choose Missouri Southern for their higher education, it made perfect sense to work with their Department of Education to recruit future teachers,” Scott said. .

Scott said rural school districts can face challenges that larger districts don’t. For example, rural districts often cannot pay their teachers as much as larger ones, he said.

“By providing incentives and some of the special professional development, we hope it will inspire prospective teachers to teach in a rural school district,” he said.

Since its inception in 2010, the Ozarks Teacher Corps has awarded more than $800,000 in scholarships and placed more than 60 teachers in rural schools in central and southern Missouri, the Springfield-based foundation said.

According to a 2019 report from the Rural Schools Collaborative, 92% of Ozarks Teacher Corps participants successfully complete their three-year engagements, and most are still teaching in the districts that originally hired them. About 60% teach in a district within 30 miles of their hometown, according to the report.

To apply for an Ozarks Teacher Corps scholarship, go to cfozarks.org/scholarships.

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