HATTIESBURG, MISS. - William Carey University and Pearl River Community College (PRCC) hosted a joint press conference at the PRCC campus on March 7 to announce a new agreement regarding a teacher shortage.
Under the new agreement, William Carey University will offer education courses to undergraduate students studying at PRCC. Following graduation, those students will teach at one of three school districts for at least three years (Poplarville, Pearl River Central, and Picayune School Districts).
“In 2007 we had six-thousand something graduates in teacher certifications,” Poplarville Superintendent Carl Merritt said. “Today we have 600.”
These statistics reflect a 90 percent decrease in teachers statewide, but William Carey University and Pearl River Community college are attempting to find a solution to this teacher shortage.
“When we were first approached with the idea, we jumped on it right away,” Pearl River Community College President Dr. Adam Breerwood said. “We thought it was great. It was an opportunity for our students, not only to begin their career at Pearl River, but to remain at Pearl River Community College.”
The three school districts participating in the program are Pearl River Central, Poplarville, and Picayune.
“The biggest challenge is going to be convincing young people to go into teaching as a profession,” Dean of WCU School of Education Dr. Ben Burnett said.
In the future, William Carey University hopes to raise enough funds to keep students from coming out of pocket for the PRCC Program.