GRPS addressing teacher shortage with pipeline program

(AP photo)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids Public Schools is rolling out a new partnership with Ferris State University that creates a teacher pipeline leading back to the district.

Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal announced plans for the Academy of Teaching and Learning program during her state of the schools address in May.

She says the program helps address the district’s struggle to find teachers.

“People are not choosing education, yet we still have this need. And so the best way to answer the need is to grow your own (talent),” she explained.

The program is open to students of Innovation Central High School who are interested in a career in education.

They’re exposed to real-life experience through teaching mentorships and engaging students in classrooms, while earning up to seven credits toward a degree at Ferris State University through dual enrollment courses.

“Students will find out early in life, not waiting four or five years after college, that education is an opportunity for them. And they’ll be able to work with students right away,” explained Weatherall Neal.

Those who graduate the program will be accepted into the Ferris State University School of Education and will be granted three additional credits toward completing their bachelor’s degree.

GRPS says FSU graduates who took part in the Academy of Teaching and Learning “will also be first in line for hiring” in the district, with tuition reimbursement available.