I recently attended the Regional Superintendent’s meeting at Delta State University. One of the presenters, Mr. Phelton Moss, Director of Educator Talent Acquisition and Effectiveness at MDE, shared information on the “Grow Your Own” initiative. The Mississippi Department of Education is offering high-impact recommendations to help school districts to recruit, prepare and retain teachers. Those recommendations include designing teacher academies, providing pathways for paraprofessionals and classified staff. There should also be an emphasis on building partnerships with institutions of high learning for the expressed purpose of putting undergraduate students on a teacher certification pathway.
In the West Tallahatchie School District we have prioritized Title funds to assist paraprofessionals with tuition cost to enroll in teacher preparation programs. As a teacher retention strategy our district offers signing bonuses to certified teachers new to the district. We also plan to attract National Board Certified Teachers due to Tallahatchie County being a critical need county. MDE will pay a NBCT an additional $4,000 in the West Tallahatchie School District. Our goal is to create a viable pool of teacher candidates within the school district community and retain highly effective teachers in the process. Please view the slide presentation for more information on MDE’s plan to assist school districts.