Mason Answers Demand for Teachers in Loudoun County

Posted: January 24, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Jennifer Freeman

To keep up with the extraordinary growth in Loudoun County, Va., Mason is expanding the course offerings at its Loudoun location to include an elementary education PK-6 initial teacher licensure program with a master of education option.

Offered through the College of Education and Human Development, the program is designed to provide professionals with the specialized knowledge, skills and dispositions needed to meet the educational needs of children attending today’s elementary schools. An undergraduate degree is required for admission to the program; however, individuals do not need an undergraduate degree in elementary education to participate.

The university has created a convenient partnership school program that has a strong focus on providing students with an extraordinarily supportive environment.

The partnership school program is targeted to students who may need more flexibility because of time constraints. The five-term program starts during the fall term and requires students to participate in a 15-week, full-time internship in an approved partnership school during their final spring term.

As required by the Commonwealth of Virginia, student interns spend half the semester in the partnership school in a primary grade classroom (typically grades K-3) and the other half in an intermediate grade classroom (usually grades 4-6).

“We have structured the partnership school program to provide students with a supportive environment from start to finish,” says Jeannine Tate, director of field relations and undergraduate studies in education. “The students move through the program in a cohort model and always have at least one or two other students from the program with them at the partnership school during their internship.”

The elementary education PK-6 program has been offered at Mason’s Fairfax Campus for several years and has been widely accepted by several local school districts. Currently Arlington County, Fairfax County and Prince William County Public Schools partner with Mason to place partnership school students in their classrooms. Loudoun County will participate in the program for the first time this year.

In Loudoun County, the demand for elementary educators has never been more urgent. The county currently has more than 25,000 children in elementary schools and is expected to open numerous schools over the next five years, including three this year.

“Any time people are coming out of colleges and universities with teaching degrees and classroom experience, especially in this area, it is beneficial to the Loudoun County school system because we don’t have to go far to hire qualified teachers with practical experience,” says John O’Connor, staff development supervisor at Loudoun County Public Schools.

For more information on the elementary education PK-6 initial teacher licensure program at Mason, contact Tate in the Graduate School of Education at jtate1@gmu.edu or 703-993-2081

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