SCTC, Mercer University Partner with Henry County Schools to Launch Innovative New Program Aimed at Creating Sustainable Teacher Pipelines

Date Posted: October 28, 2022

Today, Henry County Schools announced a new initiative in partnership with Southern Crescent Technical College and Mercer University. The partnership seeks to develop and support sustainable teacher development pipelines in Henry County.

Superintendent Mary Elizabeth Davis said, “As leaders at every level of government identify teacher preparation and recruitment as one of our nation’s most urgent priorities, we are excited to announce a replicable teacher pipeline model by partnering a school district, technical college, and post-secondary institution — and customizing a future teacher’s high school course sequence and post-secondary experience.”

The program, which is called Tomorrow’s Teachers Today is positioned to be the very first of its kind in Georgia. By design, full implementation involves a three-phase process which includes:

  1. Early identification and recruitment of teachers starting in kindergarten
  2. Enhanced career pathways to teaching including up to 33 dual enrollment credits and paid internships while in high school, and
  3. Accelerated paths to teaching as an undergraduate and university graduate

With these program elements, the Tomorrow’s Teachers Today program will allow direct access from high school to salaried teaching apprenticeships and the completion of an undergraduate degree.

Dr. Irvin Clark, President of Southern Crescent Technical College added, “This is what it’s all about – partners working together to keep students in Henry County. With a mission of workforce development in the communities that we serve, we are proud to support this important initiative.”

How it Works

With awareness that recruitment is key to cultivating a strong pipeline base, Tomorrow’s Teachers Today calls for the identification of high potential K-8 students who will be engaged during their elementary and middle grade years in age-appropriate activities that align to core educator competencies. The expectation is for these students to have early exposure to a variety of teacher actions that align to the profession.

Henry County Schools Board Chair Holly Cobb says of the program, “Early exposure to a profession can be life changing for students – especially when they work under the supervision of a supportive professional educator. I am confident that this is the kind of innovation that’s needed to refresh our teacher pipeline – and it could not happen without our highly engaged, mission aligned partners.”

As students progress into high school, their exposure to the teaching profession will accelerate and become more formal through a prescribed CTAE pathway beginning in ninth grade. This high school experience will include dual enrollment coursework and hands-on teaching experiences, as well as the opportunity to have paid work-based learning in a Henry County school. The program will also enable students in the Teaching as a Profession pathway to graduate from high school having earned up to 33 college credit hours through Southern Crescent Technical College – the equivalent of two-years of college, at no cost to them.

Following graduation, eligible candidates can complete their undergraduate degree through a partner school such as Mercer University while serving under the direct supervision of an experienced or retired teacher.

Dr. Thomas Koballa, Dean of Mercer University’s Tift College Education added, “What we’re doing here cannot be done by a single entity – it requires partnership.”

Why This Work Matters

“Although public education across the country is facing historical strains on its workforce, Henry County Schools is optimistic that our future talent is in our classrooms today,” said Superintendent Mary Elizabeth Davis. “This work is more than vital to the future success of public education; this work is critical for our community to continue to thrive.”

Tomorrow’s Teachers Today will officially launch in the 2022-2023 school year.