Charleston County School District looking to invest in future teachers

Published: Jul. 12, 2021 at 8:39 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 12, 2021 at 11:35 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The Charleston County School District is looking at ways to expand its teacher residency programs and invest in future teachers.

District leaders say there is no one way to get into a teaching career, and the traditional approach does not work for everyone. That is why they have the residency program which allows aspiring teachers to get experience in the classroom.

This year, there are five residents from the College of Charleston that are working with experienced teachers at Memminger Elementary School.

“At Memminger, our residency program is designed to have folks who are not quite ready for the full responsibility for a classroom to be in a classroom with an experienced teacher, and it allows us to give more individualized attention to kids,” CCSD Chief Academic Officer Karolyn Belcher said. “It also allows that aspiring teacher to get more support in terms of their readiness to lead their own classroom the following year.”

The district has a different approach for people who are interested in teaching but may not have majored in education.

In partnership with the University of South Carolina, 16 people are currently working as ‘teachers of record’ at C.E. Williams Middle School. They teach alone in the classroom, while taking courses at night and on the weekends to receive their master’s degree.

Belcher says the district hopes to use some of the COVID-19 federal funds that will be given to them, to expand these programs and try other models at different schools.

“The state is reviewing application and initial proposal for ESSER 2. As many in the community know, we’re in the process of community engagement to really hear from people about what they think will be critical. We anticipate that a big investment will be in capacity building of our talent,” Belcher said. " In general, investing in our people is a good way to position ourselves for the future, so that I think it’s going to a key lever and the residency idea is one of those levers we expect to pull.”

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