If you are the administrator in your building/school division tasked with locating qualified applicants to interview for vacant positions in your building, then you are aware of the level of difficulty faced in finding these applicants. Note the use of the term “qualified.” There are individuals looking for jobs who feel they can work well in your classroom vacancy, but you would not hire them because you know they would not survive the first month, much less a school year.
Now, add science and math vacancies to this task and your search usually becomes more complex. Applicants qualified for either of these content areas are difficult to locate, much less interview and hire. The Virginia DOE, in its annual reports on teacher supply, consistently identifies middle and high school mathematics and science as critical shortage areas. Quite often, therefore, divisions end up contacting out-of-state applicants to fill their vacancies. This lack of qualified Virginia educated/trained candidates (in 2011, Virginia’s teacher preparation programs produced only 10 fully licensed physics teachers) may soon be changing.
The Governor announced on March 4, 2013, that Old Dominion University will be the first post-secondary institution in Virginia to implement an innovative program designed to increase the number of high quality mathematics and science teachers in the Commonwealth. The program, known as “Monarch Teach,” will integrate requirements for mathematics and science with specially designed teacher-preparation courses.
The program was approved for funding in the 2012 General Assembly and will begin in August, 2013. Students completing the four-year Monarch Teach program will graduate in spring 2017 with undergraduate degrees in their discipline as well as Virginia teaching licenses with supporting endorsements.
Sounds good? If you want to learn more about Monarch Teach, go to http://www.doe.virginia.gov/news/news_releases/2013/mar04_gov.shtml