Hollins University partners with school systems to address teacher shortages

The university is working to certify more teachers
The university is working to certify more teachers(WDBJ7)
Published: Sep. 7, 2022 at 6:40 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Hollins University is partnering with schools in the Roanoke Valley to help ongoing problem of the shortage of teachers.

Provisional teachers at Roanoke City Public Schools are able to get their full time teaching certification through the partnership with Hollins. Educators who were only certified to teach for three years can then stay on as full time staff.

Hollins is also partnering with North Cross to provide masters degrees. The university is also partnering with Lord Botetourt High School to certify educators to teach dual enrollment classes.

RCPS’ director of recruitment explained how the school is hoping to get more educators in the classroom to teach the next generation.

“This program allows people who have that passion to work with our students who are the experts in their field be able to see a pathway to licensure,” Angela Wimberly said.

The program comes after difficulties finding and hiring fully certified teachers.

“Because we don’t have as many teachers enrolled in teacher prep programs, we’re all fighting for the same teachers,” Wimberly said.

The director of the master of arts in teaching, master of arts in teaching and learning and master of arts in liberal studies programs explained how professional development will help with teacher retention.

“Hopefully the long term solution is that they stay in teaching and there won’t be a shortage,” Lorraine Lange said. “When I graduated college and got a job, everybody wanted to be a teacher. And now it just seems that people are very leery of becoming a teacher.”

Veteran teachers have also been feeling the strain. Amy Hanson teaches third grade at North Cross School and is a recent graduate of the master’s program at Hollins University. She explained how teachers have been impacted throughout the pandemic.

“It’s been a stressful time for everybody and teachers have really been put through the ringer,” Hanson said. “I was completing my master’s program at the same time as dealing with COVID so that was especially difficult, but at the same time it was wonderful to have that extra education and knowledge to get my students through.”

All the educators agreed that the partnerships will benefit students in the classroom.

“The more teachers you have the lower the classroom per pupil and greater benefit to students,” Lange said.

“I think my students have benefited,” Hanson said. “I love teaching and I love it even more now.”

The partnership with RCPS is also funded through grants to help remove some of the economic barriers of full time certification.