Bowie State Prepares Teacher Aides to Earn Education Degrees

By D. Thompson

Bowie State University is collaborating with Maryland school districts to help provide a “grow your own” program to address the state’s teacher shortage by enabling teaching assistants to enroll in tuition-funded classes at the university to earn a degree as certified PK – 6 early childhood, special education and elementary public-school teachers.

Funded by the Maryland State Department of Education, the Maryland Leads grant enables school districts across the state to offer individuals working as teacher aides or in other supportive roles, a pathway to securing their teacher education credentials and a full-time teaching position. Local school districts across the state received $169 million through this program.

“We’re working with the Anne Arundel and Calvert County School Districts through Leads grants to help the systems meet their dire need of filling teacher vacancies,” said Dr. Lynne G. Long, chair of the department of teaching, learning, and professional development at Bowie State.

An earlier Teacher Collaborative Grant, also funded MSDE, provides support to enhance skills of current and prospective teachers.

“In Howard County we’re supporting educators through the Teacher Collaborative Grant which is designed to improve teacher education, prepare teachers for higher teacher standards and promote professional development to enhance the overall ability of classroom teachers,” she said.

The Teacher Collaborative Grant program provides seed funds to Bowie State and other institutions of higher education and public school districts to develop state-of-the-art professional education for prospective and current teachers that reflects international and national best practices. The goal is to replicate the programs in local school systems and increase the quality and diversity of individuals preparing to become teachers.

“We think it is more important now than ever before to support local school districts in their quest to fill teaching positions,” said Dr. Long. “Bowie State’s roots are grounded in teacher education and as an institution, we are committed to ensuring that there is high quality and diversity in the teacher candidate pipeline.