UMW Works to Ease Teacher Shortage

A new agreement between the University of Mary Washington, Germanna Community College and Stafford County Public Schools gives students who want to become teachers the opportunity to secure college credits while still in high school. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

The University of Mary Washington has signed an agreement with Germanna Community College and Stafford County Public Schools to make it easier for local students to become educators and help ease the state’s teacher shortage.

Streamlining the path from high school to college, the memorandum of understanding, signed in June by UMW President Troy Paino and Germanna President Janet Gullickson, was finalized this fall with the signature of Stafford County Schools Superintendent Scott Kizner.

The agreement creates dual enrollment and workforce programs to pave the way for future educators, offering pathways in education and early childhood education to participants in Stafford Schools’ Teachers for Tomorrow (TfT) initiative. The state-recognized high school curriculum has been lauded as a successful “grow your own” teacher program. UMW holds a similar partnership with Spotsylvania County Public Schools.

Virtual meetings this past spring brought administrators and teachers from TfT programs in eight school divisions together with UMW and Germanna faculty. The group focused on curriculum collaborations and preliminary planning for a summer institute for TfT teachers and high school students to be held in 2021.

Through the agreement, students who hope to become teachers can begin solidifying career preparations while in high school with dual enrollment courses that can be applied toward a Germanna degree and later transferred to UMW, or directly applied at UMW. The program also gives high-schoolers the opportunity to collect valuable interactions, such as observing classrooms and obtaining teaching experience, before they reach college.

The recent agreement is just one part of UMW’s Pipeline to Promise initiative, aimed at easing future teachers’ transition from high school to higher education through potential partnerships with graduate programs at schools such as George Mason University. UMW is working to develop similar pathways with other area high schools.

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