Through the PANTA initiative at MSU-Meridian, teacher assistants can complete educational requirements to become licensed teachers.
“We noticed around this area a teacher shortage. There are some people who have many years of experience working in the classroom as an assistant teacher, who would be great lead teachers if they had certification for that. This is kind of a way for us to meet the needs of the community and meet the needs of these individuals,” said Jeffrey Leffler, the advisor of the PANTA initiative.
The initiative has a hybrid system that allows students to continue their education and work full time.
“Some face-to-face instruction, some online assignments, and some field experience. The student is only having to come to campus about one to two times per week. Then they have the flexibility to do their assignments around their work schedule and some of them actually end their classroom assignment through the field experience,” said Leffler.
Students can take their prerequisites at a community college, then do three semesters of coursework at MSU-meridian, followed by an internship.
“The degree is our elementary education degree. There are two concentration areas: early childhood or middle childhood. They can have either a K-3 license, a K-6 license, or possibly a K-8
license with an endorsement in a couple of subject areas,” said Leffler.
MSU-Meridian will start the initiative with a cohort of 10-15 students this summer.