"Restoration, reweaving, is one of the obligations of leadership.
The focus on high standards has created a culture of accountability that calls for high quality teaching to help each child reach his or her potential. Unfortunately, schools are also facing a severe shortage of teachers, particularly in middle and secondary schools as well as areas such as special education. One short-term solution has been the use of teachers who are operating with emergency credentials. Leave No Child Behind has said no to emergency certification and legislation to establish Teach Institution has opened a unique opportunity to reweave teacher preparation. Teach Institution, if funded to The University, will examine the in-school supports that need to be provided these alternate-credentialed teachers; most specifically, we will examine how mentors can contribute to greater success. .
A network of mentors has quietly emerged from prior initiatives of Mississippi legislation via the World Class Teachers program; this program provided a network to mentor Mississippi's best teachers into National Board Certification status. By working with mentors and mentoring for these alternate-credential teachers, the University of Southern Mississippi (UNIVERSITY), in conjunction with the other public IHLs (phased in over time), intend to reweave knowledge and skills standards to address alternate pathways for teacher development. Key to this initiative will be mentoring practices, secured from National Board Certified teachers and post-secondary institutions, in conjunction with school districts throughout the state. .
Severity of the problem.
Supply and demand of teachers for America's schools has entered an era of persistent imbalance, reflecting concerns with unacceptably low salaries, low regard for the profession, and safety for self and students. In the near future, efforts to retain educators in the workforce must also accommodate a rate of retirement of senior teachers previously not experienced (Feistritzer, 1998).